While there are plenty of social games on iOS, and even plenty of games that allow you to run your own store, Chillingo's newest game - Toy Factory - adds more complexity to the normal "store simulation" setup by offering you a chance to customize both a toy factory and a toy shop, as you'll create toys and then sell them in a store of your own design.
With existing toys as your employees, you'll manage a factory, placing smaller machines that will take raw materials (cotton, for instance) and turn them into toy parts (thread for stuffed animals, in our cotton example), and then combining those ingredients in a larger machine to make the actual toys. From there, you'll take the toys up the elevator to the storefront, where you'll sell them to the customers to make a profit.
The store portion of the game runs as you'd expect. You'll need to have individual tables to display the various items you'll create, and you'll earn profits from selling items over time. You can customize the look of the shop, adding new windows, decorations, floor tiles and the like, but will need to manage your profits appropriately, so that you don't waste your toy-production funds on excess decorations.
Back down in the factory, you'll be able to unlock new toy blueprints as you gain experience points and level up (likewise, you'll unlock new items for basically every portion of the game), but might need to purchase those blueprints with some of your profits. Each toy has different requirements for production, so you can easily multitask on item creation, if only one toy at a time requires the use of the Twister (cotton) machine, for instance.
You'll receive a brief notification in the bottom of the screen if something has happened in the other area of your game, giving you a chance to head down to the factory, or back up to the store (depending on your current location) to deal with the development, and you'll be able to complete some basic quests along the way (craft a certain number of toys, buy a specific machine or decoration, and so on.
In terms of social features, Toy Factory offers Game Center and Crystal integration, giving you a chance to visit your friends' factories. While there, you can either check out their toy store designs, or can interact with their bubble gum machine (where applicable) to earn a prize (normally coins).
Toy Factory is free to play, but is only available natively on iPhone. You can download the game on your iPad, but you'll need to accept some stretched graphics if you do. Unfortunately, the game does have some relatively small text for the iPhone's screen and some long loading times, but we can only expect that to be improved as the game continues to grow under Chillingo's care.
Click here to download Toy Factory on iTunes -->
Will you try Toy Factory on your iPhone? Have you already tried the game? What do you think of it so far? Sound off in the comments.