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Kairosoft is known for producing some of the best simulation games in the App Store. For awhile, the company limited its games to the iPhone, but last year, it began releasing universal apps, giving iPad owners the chance to play its addictive titles.
Now the company is experimenting with a freemium model with its newest release, Beastie Bay, which came out late last week. Beastie Bay is a simulation game that focuses on battle, city management, and animal collecting, branding it as hybrid Pokemon-style game that’s almost impossible to put down.
Unlike most freemium titles, Kairosoft offers the entire Beastie Bay game for free. There are no in-app purchases, but there is an ad at the bottom of the screen. It can be removed for $4.99, which also unlocks the ability to use the app in landscape mode. Luckily, the ad isn’t too intrusive, but Beastie Bay is definitely worth the cost if you want to remove it.
So the idea is that you’ve been washed ashore on a desolate island, surrounded by savage beasts. You need to build a city from the ground up, creating houses, crops, power sources, and more.
As with all Kairosoft games, there’s a heavy emphasis on town management, where the goal is to carefully build up a thriving population of both humans and beasties, eventually creating a mecca of tourism that rakes in the cash.
To begin, you will focus on creating houses and simple fields, that your residents can use to produce food. Your city will require both food and lumber in abundance to grow, so it’s important to construct buildings when they become available and to recruit new residents. Residents can only gather resources near their homes, which is something to keep in mind as you construct your city.
In most Kairosoft games the majority of your residents are humans, but in Beastie Bay, you will build a town of animals that you have captured.
You see, in addition to working on building a city, you will also have a team that you can send out on expeditions, gathering new technology, resources, and residents for your town.
Tap an unexplored area, send out a team, and on the expedition, you will encounter beasts to fight. In addition to fighting beasts, you can use a special snack to tame them, which allows you to add them as residents to your town.
You can add your beastly residents to your hunting parties as well. Defeating and capturing enemies results in experience, which will level up residents to make them more powerful, so they can go on to fight even scarier monsters.
The animals that aren’t on your team will populate your city, serving as workers to contribute food and wood, which, in turn, allows you to build a bigger city. So you will essentially be working in a loop, capturing animals and growing your city again and again as you play.
Beastie Bay is almost entirely linear, so you will always know just what to do. New areas are unlocked as your team levels up, adding new beasties to your town. As you battle you will also discover weapons, armor, and research upgrades in treasure chests, so exploration is essential.
These research upgrades are used in your town, and this is how you create new buildings and progress through the game.
Because this is primarily a simulation game, combat is rather uninvolved. While you can equip your team with weapons and armor, you have relatively little involvement in each fight beyond selecting a basic attack. You’re more of an observer, honestly, but that doesn’t take away from the fun.
Beastie Bay is the kind of game that you can play for hours and hours on end, because there’s simply a ton of gameplay available. You will always have a new island to explore or a new beast to capture, which keeps Beastie Bay interesting for quite a long time.
What I liked: Beastie Bay is addictive. There’s always something new to do, a new area to explore, a new beast to discover, and a new research project to complete. It’s next to impossible to put this game down once you have begun.
What I didn’t like: Kairosoft’s games are often light on instructions, and Beastie Bay is no exception. It can sometimes be hard to figure out game mechanics, especially those involved with upgrading and creating new buildings, but it’s still possible to make your way through the game without understanding the minute details.
To buy or not to buy: Beastie Bay is a free download, so you’ve got nothing to lose but loads of time!