Tower-building games have come a long way since the days of SimTower: The Vertical Empire, and smartphone users today can find three awesome games just waiting to become your next procrastination method. These games emulate the classic tower-building games of years past while also improving and innovating the genre for the mobile era.
While a lot of tower games seem to simply be stacking games, seeing how high you can stack various objects, the games you’ll see below are more like city simulators adapted to a 2D platform. You have citizens living, working, and spending money in your tower. Tower-stacking games can entertain for a few minutes, but these tower-building games will draw you in for the long haul. So be warned, you could get addicted!
First up is Droid Towers, the Android exclusive (don’t worry, iOS users, the next two games are for you too). At the home screen, you have the option to sign-in to heyZap, a social network for mobile games, or log in to, which uses your Facebook login to help you find other people playing Droid Towers.
To get started select “new tower”; you can always upgrade to Unlimited later if you like the game. Once you get started, the controls are simple. If you click on the wrench in the bottom right you’ll get options for all the different things that you can build: living places, food establishments, elevators and stairs, etc.
You start off by building a lobby. From there, you can build small apartments and pizza places beside, above, or below it until you get enough Droids to be able to unlock larger apartments and more food places. All your areas need to be “connected to transit” which just means that you have an elevator or stairs connecting all the floors. The Droids don’t seem to have any personal space, as they will walk through other apartments, bathrooms, and offices to be able to reach stairs or an elevator, so that’s never much of a problem.
As you get started, the game will give you helpful tips in the top left corner, telling you about all the different things that you can do. One of these is the overlays which you can access by pressing the button in the top right corner. This will show you the different overlays like noise, crime, population, employment, and desirability. Your tower will then glow depending on the overlay chosen, so that you can see where all your Droids live, where the noise levels are coming from, or where crime is highest.
Once you start building, you’ll realize that you’re not able to build any higher than 15 floors up in the free version. If you try, the offer to purchase the Unlimited version for $0.99 will pop up. Unlimited enables towers up to 250 floors, unlocks the Sky Lobby, unlocks land expansions, and earns you income 50% faster. I definitely feel like the Unlimited version is worth it, since the 15-floor limit up and land limits to the sides don’t give you a whole lot of room to work with.
The game comes with a set of achievements, most of which are pretty easy to achieve in a few minutes. They seem to be more of a guiding tool: To see if you need to build more housing or create more jobs, just check what your next achievement is.
As you keep going, the tower becomes larger and more complicated, requiring your attention in several different places at once and moving very quickly. I found myself pouring a lot more time into this game than I had originally intended to.
Find it on the Play Store.
Ocean Tower, while equally addicting, is played a bit differently. This game works entirely in portrait mode, as opposed to Droid Towers’ forced landscape mode. You only build your single tower vertically, not going any wider like in Droid Tower.
You start off building kiosks for shopping and coffee bars for food. Before you place each store, it will tell you where you can make the most money from placing it. Apparently, your citizens don’t pay rent; you just make money off them buying things. In the top right, you can see how many credits you have, how much money you’re making per hour, and your total amount of money.
In the bottom-left corner, you have your options for building different services, and in the bottom right, you can zoom out to see your entire tower. In the top-right corner you have options for buying money and service robots using your in-game credits; however, you can also buy more credits using real money if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
Ocean tower is also more of a long-term game than Droid Towers. Each floor takes a certain amount of time to build and the further on you go, the longer that time is. Also, while you’re away from the game, your people continue to spend money and any service robots you’ve purchased will continue to operate. In this way, it’s like your own little civilization that you have to keep checking up on. Leave it unattended for too long, and your residents, angry that their flowers haven’t been watered (this falls under the duty of the service robots you can purchase), will stop spending money.
There’s also a small mini-game that takes place beneath the tower. You can enter a submarine and take photos of fish for about 15 seconds to entertain tourists and get a bit of extra cash.
In the zoomed-out view, you have similar overlay options to ensure that all your citizens’ needs are being met. Ads will also pop up every once in a while, and while they’re not very common, it is annoying that you can’t pay to get rid of them.
Available on iOS and .
We’ve done a full review of Tiny Tower already, but make no mistake, it is a wonderfully addictive game. It offers a level of personalization beyond Droid Towers and Ocean Tower, allowing you to do everything from assigning specific jobs to “bitizens” to restocking certain kinds of food in the bar. It’s so good, in fact, that a Star Wars version was released in Australia and should come to the rest of the world soon.
Simulation games as a whole are an enthralling experience. And if you can get caught up in the towers, I’m sure you’ll also love these city builders, pandemic games, and other simulators for iOS and Android.
What is your favorite tower building game? Did we miss any that you think deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: PlaceIt