The city-building genre may be one of the most crowded areas on iPhone and iPad, but that hasn't stopped developers from continuing to develop them. Take, for instance, Game Insight's Big Business HD, a new iPad-only city-builder that allows players to succeed by balancing resources across a huge amount of quests and menus.
While Big Business HD is somewhat unique, it's also incredibly similar to G5's Virtual City, in that it presents players with resource cycles, giving them the chance to create raw materials in base farms or factories, which can then be transformed or upgraded in additional buildings before finally selling them from the warehouse for profits. Unlike Virtual City, however, the placement of these buildings is completely up to you, as trucks automatically travel the fastest route between buildings, without you being required to create and maintain these routes manually. This isn't say that the gameplay in Big Business HD isn't complex, but its complexity comes in the inclusion of a power meter, forcing you to routinely build power stations, wind mills and other power-generating plants before actually growing your city.
If Big Business HD has a problem, it's the game's overabundance of quests. It's nice to always have something to reach for in terms of goals, but there are so many quests that require you to needlessly place duplicate buildings that you've already purchased long ago that they can quickly become frustrating (How many coffee shops does one town need anyway?). Furthermore, quests seem to be given out somewhat at random, as you'll be required to build incredibly expensive items that there's no way you could currently afford, leaving you with open quests that you won't be able to finish off without lots of work, and more importantly, time.
Fortunately, Big Business HD does have some nice features that make the game more user friendly. As your town starts to fill with factories and farms, for instance, you can easily access the production menus within each of these structures without having to move your view to actually tap on that specific building. Since different jobs take different lengths of time to complete, this gives you an overall view of every job available in the game (regardless of building) so that you can plan ahead. Additionally, buildings can be upgraded to increase their productivity so that you can continue to use a single building instead of cluttering your land with multiple duplicates (unfortunately, the game sometimes works against you in that respect).
Ultimately, Big Business HD isn't a perfect mobile city-builder, as it's focus on electric power units slows initial growth, and the game's obsession with building duplicate items is a literal waste of virtual coins and time. There's no "move" mode if you wish to reorganize your town, so you'll need to click on each individual item and access its own move menu one at a time, but the many upgrades for buildings gives you something to continue to work towards even after you've exhausted all of the unique items in the store. If anything, Big Business HD is worth trying, if you're interested in a rather complex city-builder with small, but detailed graphics. It would just be wise to go in expecting a few issues, or you might be disappointed.
Click here to download Big Business HD on iTunes --->
Have you tried Big Business HD for iPad? What do you think of Game Insight's newest city-builder? Sound off in the comments!