Mall Tycoon 3
is based solely around a single concept: building and maintaining a mall. The third game in the installment doesnít have much to live up to; the previous games were utter fiascos. In what seems like a desperate last attempt, the developers have fixed most of the superficial flaws prevalent in the earlier game, but have somehow missed out on creating a fun game.
There are only two modes of play, but while they are called by different names, they are still very similar in nature. First we have Sandbox mode where, as the name implies, you have free reign to build the mall of your dreams. Surprisingly, this is much more fun than the other side of the coin which is Challenge mode. Challenge mode is simply a list of tasks that you can complete, and are not obligated to do them in any order, or even to do them at all. For the most part, these tasks clearly state what you have to do (which usually boils down to turning around a failing mall). However, some of the tasks are extremely ambiguous and you never know if youíre anywhere close to completing it. All these challenges manage to accomplish is to demonstrate various aspects of the wholly dull gameplay.
In order to establish your money-making mall, you first need to lay out the floor plan and then throw in some essentials: a bathroom, a place to eat, and a couple of stores so you can start raking in the cash. The problem is that every game starts out in this exact same manner. Sure you can make the floor plan look different each time, but you are severely limited in the stores you can purchase at the beginning of the game. Better stores can be unlocked as you progress, but the process each time is almost identical.
After the stores are in place, you need to get some staff out on the floor to keep things running smoothly. This process is also identical every time you play a new game; hire a janitor, a security officer, and a mechanic and place them in strategic points. Your staff can be promoted to make them work faster and cover larger areas, but that is so far down the road that it does little to alleviate the monotony of the early game.