A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is a simulation game combining the popular app Tiny Tower with the juggernaut film franchise. Players oversee the lives of several characters from the Star Wars universe, funding the Death Star's development by charging rent and running various businesses. The app generates in-game cash naturally, but players who don't want to wait 45 minutes for an action to complete will eventually be tempted to purchase more for real-world dollars, especially in the beginning. Given the game's addictive qualities, this can add up quickly.
What's it about?
Players build levels for the Death Star -- and they're mostly residential or retail, though there's also an interrogation level that doesn't greatly affect the game but gives it more of a Star Wars feel. Stocking stores and adding floors costs in-game cash as well as time. To hurry along construction or a shipment, premium currency is used, which is much more valuable -- but also quite rare.
Is it any good?
The teaming of Star Wars with Tiny Tower was a brilliant concept from the beginning. Take a beloved franchise, transfer it to an old-school, pixelated art style, and add the addictive qualities of the popular app, and it's as close as you can come to a sure thing. There's really very little difference between Star Wars: Tiny Death Star and the original game, but the use of familiar characters and a cute backstory about having to finance the Death Star through monies earned in the game's stores works.
As in the original, the game smartly balances tending to the needs of its "Bitizens" with economic aspects. But, once again, it hits problems with the in-app purchase model. Although nothing goes haywire with the game if you choose not to spend real-world cash to buy in-game bux, the game will progress slowly, as finances don't naturally build up quickly. (If anything, this game is more stingy with bux than the original.) If you're trying not to spend real-world cash, you'll need lots of patience -- and something to distract you from realizing you're waiting for time to pass to play again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Talk to your kids about the importance of budgeting -- and spending -- wisely.
Encourage kids to go beyond basic gameplay to improve the efficiency of their towers. They can group and order floors, color-code characters' clothing, and assign more Bitizens to their dream jobs.
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sims
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