App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Build-a-lot App Poster Image
Real estate made entertaining and suspenseful.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The stategies behind property flipping may take some time for kids to really comprehend, but once all the ins-and-outs of this real estate game are learned, it's very easy to take control and do well.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Build-a-lot is a strategy game based on buying and selling real estate. Players will be given different challenges (earn a certain amount of money, build a certain number of Tudor homes, upgrade houses to a certain level, construct a library, etc.) that they'll have to accomplish within a time limit. Often, in order to get the money needed to buy supplies, hire workers, and so on, players will need to purchase cheap houses, fix them up, and resell them for a profit (i.e., flipping). Our review is based on the iPhone app; the Android app may have some differences in functionality.

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Is it any good?

BUILD-A-LOT's real-estate-boom concept may feel a little behind the times, but the game itself makes flipping properties far more fun than you'd ever expect. With so much to do for each challenge, and the timer always ticking down, you'll often feel that "Ah! I'm never going to make it in time!" pressure, but then the market suddenly changes and you rush to buy up a new colonial or to sell that rambler you've modernized and -- voila! -- you've got enough money to build that post office after all. Build-a-lot is a very different kind of strategy game, and that refreshing change of pace is very welcome and appreciated.

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