A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
The controls work well and are relatively simple to learn, but the concepts at play here are quite advanced. To truly excel, players need to be capable of learning some complicated economic principles.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite it toddler-friendly look, Robot Tycoon is a detailed business sim that will be far over the heads of younger children. Kids eight and up, though, can learn a great deal about the economic and financial principles behind running a business. In the game, you start off as a traveling robot salesman, taking orders door to door. The different parts that go into making different robot models all have different costs, as will the resulting robot models. So it's up to you to try to sell the customer on a more expensive model or not. If you do well enough, you can open your own store, complete with hired helpers. And from there, you can open a factory. It's important to note that there's no real way to save your game, so it's best played in one single session, which can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes (or more, if you choose).
Is It Any Good?
ROBOT TYCOON is a deceptively detailed and in-depth business sim. Sure, you get to build robots in a circuit-routing mini-game, but the main objective here is to make a profit. And the amount of profit you earn will depend on how you spend your money. Do you push customers toward products that use cheaper parts? Or do you push them toward more expensive models that may cost more to make, but will earn you more in the end. When you hire helpers, you can save time by passing off work to them, but if they're new, they're likely to make mistakes and cost you money in ruined parts. You also have to consider which styles or models are popular among customers; if you push an unpopular style, you'll get fewer buyers. There's a lot to take in -- and a lot to learn. The game's one big flaw is its inability to really save your game. If you quit the app but leave your iPad on and then come back to it later, your game will pick up from where you left off (although, not seeing it be officially "saved" is unnerving). But if your iPad is shut off completely, your game is gone; you'll need to start from scratch next time you play.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.