iPhone Game Review: Oh! Edo Towns for iPhone/iPod Touch Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Oh! Edo Towns is the newest simulation game from Kairosoft. If you've played any of their other games (Game Dev Story, Hot Springs Story, Pocket Academy, etc) you are going to be right at home here. If you're new to Kairosoft games, and like whimsical simulation games, you're in for a treat.
Oh! Edo Towns puts you in charge of building a humble domain into a thriving, bustling community. You are charged with tasks like land development, road building, and commerce construction. As you progress through the game, you will be given increasingly sophisticated game options in order to maximize your community. Because the period/location is feudal Japan, don't expect to be building bullet trains or airports. There is plenty to do here, however, and if you are successful in your endeavor, you can eventually build beautifully elaborate structures including castles.
It is important to note that you don't have any direct control over your citizens so don't be puzzled when they don't follow your taps. The community will live or whither, however, based entirely on your ability to design and implement an efficient master plan. Build homes and people will move in; build fields and people will plant/harvest crops; build libraries, and your people will educate themselves. This brings me to an important point regarding Kairosoft titles; there is an incredible amount of number crunching going on under the game's sparkly surface. Everything (and I mean everything) matters. If a stat can be tracked, if an activity can be undertaken, if a structure can be built, you can bet it adds to your bottom line so branch out and think: diverse! There is no quick path to victory or "rush" strategy in anything that Kairosoft publishes.
The only complaint I have about Oh! Edo Towns is that it plays essentially the same as other Kairosoft titles. Somehow, this didn't affect my enjoyment, however. In fact, it made it easier to dive into the game as I had previously played their other offerings. The graphics and objectives were different enough to allow me to immerse myself without ever feeling that unpleasant deja vu that comes from a hastily re-skinned game, while the tried and true interface significantly shortened the learning curve.
The graphics of Oh! Edo Towns are bright and crisp, although it won't win any awards in the high-rez category. This doesn't detract from the game, however. In fact, launching it and seeing Kairosoft's familiar graphical style was actually a welcome sight as I find them to be quite appropriate for this type of game. As with their other offerings, however, I am sorely disappointed that it is not universal. I tend to feel a bit claustrophobic playing simulation games on my iPhone and the extra real estate of the iPad's screen would sure be put to good use here. Oh! Edo Towns does support screen rotation, however, including the ability to play the game in a vertical orientation.
Although, I like the low-tech graphical style, I am not a fan of the 8-bit music that goes with it. Not only is it repetitive, it sounds more like what you'd expect to hear in a Russian carnival than a feudal Japanese community. Still, it's easily disabled, and the game sounds, while nothing to write home about, are not bad.
Kairosoft has another winner on its hands with Oh! Edo Towns. If you're a fan of simulation games, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try. The longer you play, the more depth you find, although, due to its tried and true interface, it remains entirely accessible and confusion-free throughout.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Familiar Kairosoft graphics adapted for a city-building sim. cute and functional, with a great deal of personality. Needs iPad support. Sound: - 2 - The game's only weak link here, although your taste may be different. Controls: - 5 - A highly refined interface that makes this complex game completely accessible on a smartphone. Gameplay: - 5 - Classic Kairosoft simulation with a city-building theme. A natural fit!
Playing Hints and Tips:
Read the newspapers each time they appear. This is the game's way of introducing new options, and nudging you in the right direction. You can get information about anything by clicking on it. Although you have no direct control over anything, this information will help you to know what the community needs.