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Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD

Score: 85%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: cerasus.media
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ God Games

Graphics & Sound:

Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD is a bit of a period piece, starting in the year 1920 and working forward with each level being another year. This is an interesting approach, and the music is handled quite nicely, with authentic sounding 20's music in the beginning and evolving music as you work your way through the levels of the game.

The graphics are very similar to the Build-a-lot series (also published by G5), with the exception that the map is rotated slightly. It is similar to the point that I didn't realize that this isn't a game in the same series until I was writing this review. The U.I. is almost identical to that found in the Build-a-lot games, and the graphics are quite similar, complete with fireworks that go off upon completion of a level.

In Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD, however, the area you're managing is larger than the screen, requiring you to scroll around. In addition, improvements being added are placed using a grid system. When placing a new improvement, it stays at the center of the screen and you scroll the map around until your desired location is at the center of the screen. This is a bit awkward, but is probably better than having to scroll to the desired location before choosing the item to build.


Gameplay:

As a resource-management game, Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD is all about managing resources to achieve a list of goals required to meet the minimum requirements specified by a level within a given time limit; failing to accomplish the goals within the time limit means you have to retry the level. Accomplish within a shorter specified time limit and you achieve an "Expert" rating for the level. Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD follows this format, but each level in Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD affects the level that follows it. Instead of each level being a new area in which you start your development from scratch, your Miami Beach Resort continues to grow in size, scope and complexity as you play through the various levels.

The grid-base placement system I mentioned above adds an element of planning, since you'll have to attempt to leave room for future improvements; you don't want to place improvements such that they leave small areas of space, or you won't be able to make use of that space without demolishing something, taking up much-needed time and resources.

In addition to the things you do have control over, you'll occasionally have to deal with natural disasters you don't have any control over. You just have to hope for the best and pick up the pieces when it's over. It's helpful if you are familiar with the map when these occur, however, as it makes it easier to know what needs to be rebuilt.


Difficulty:

While acting fast is of the essence, you'll want to put a little forethought into where you place your various improvements, because later improvements will need to have room to be placed around them - and some of the later goals will tell you specifically to place a certain type of property near a park, for example. This can be accomplished by building a new park, as well, but you have a limited number of building permits to deal with; once you've used them all up, you have to demolish something before you can build something else (reusing the building permit).

You'll need to be quick on your toes (or, I guess, fingertips), working through the list of goals for each level with a mind for optimizing space usage for future levels. Additionally, some of the goals are "unspoken," if you will: your goal may be to accomplish a certain occupancy, but the actual action you'll have to take is to build a hotel to accommodate a larger number of guests. Further, you may be out of building permits, requiring you to knock down a Bungalow Cherry to build your hotel with greater occupancy. Worse, you may have too few guests not because there's not enough accommodations, but because you need to build some additional attractions to beautify the resort. It makes sense, but you'll need to pay close attention to the information about your beach resort to ensure that you don't waste resources and time building hotels when you need to be beautifying, for example.

The first ten years of the game (1920 - 1929) are set as a tutorial of sorts, walking you through the various actions of the game and doing a good job of showing how things work. Once you've made it to 1930, the game begins in earnest and a new mode called "Riot Mode" opens up. While planning and strategy are key in Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD, simple dexterity is important as well. You can practice your speed and accuracy with this "Riot Mode." In this mode, your task is to utterly destroy your Miami Beach Resort in its current state from the Arcade Mode. Don't worry, this destruction does not affect the Arcade Mode at all. Once you unlock it, give it a try to work on your tapping speed and accuracy, your recognition of the improvements in your resort and to familiarize yourself with your resort's layout. If you get frustrated while trying to get past a level in the Arcade Mode, this is the best way to work on your skills while working out some of your frustration.


Game Mechanics:

The 1920s look and feel is a nice touch, adding some variety to Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD, although the persistent map provides a bigger change to the game mechanics. I was originally worried that the fact that the map builds upon itself might paint the player into corners at a rapid and frustrating rate, but by putting just a little thought into the placement of improvements, one can keep otherwise unnecessary demolition down to a minimum.

Another thing that sets Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD apart from the Build-a-lot series is that the icon that zooms around the map performing the actions you command is a main character, the female character (from the title screen) who has inherited the beachfront property and is attempting to make her fortune. In Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD, she runs around taking care of your assigned tasks. Your progress on a commanded item will halt if an emergency pops up; you'll have to instruct your character to run and take care of the emergency before progress will recommence. In the Build-a-lot series, however, the "actors" performing the actions have been little hats that represent the type of workers, with yellow construction hats for builders, blue construction hats for inspectors and policeman or fireman hats to handle emergencies.

Instead of having separate types of units that rush around taking care of the emergencies, when your character is working on a certain task, she changes her outfit (and appearance) to that of whatever worker is working on that task. I realize that the game is set in the past, but I thought it was a bit unnecessary to have the main character change into outfits that fit ethnic stereotypes of the day in order to do the work. Case in point, I would have been just fine with her simply slipping into some coveralls and painting a building. I found it unnecessary for her to change into a Chinese hat to paint. I am guessing that Miami was painted by Chinese immigrants, but when I first saw this change of apparel, I was taken aback by the gratuity of it all. If they were going to go the historical stereotype route, shouldn't the female protagonist have built her Miami Beach Resort from inside her kitchen?

Stereotypes and strange costume selection aside, Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD is a decent game. If you're a fan of the isolated levels of games such as those in the Build-a-lot series, expect some learning curve when trying out Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD. If you're more familiar with other city-building games, such as Sim City, keep in mind that Build It! Miami Beach Resort HD is just a beach resort, so it's going to be on a smaller scale.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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