PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Project Highrise
Developed by: SomaSim
Published: Kasedo Games
Release date: September 8, 2016
Available on: macOS, Windows
Genre: Simulation
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $19.99

Thank you Kasedo Games for giving us the review codes for the game and Las Vegas DLC!

It’s been a while since I played a building related simulation game and I forgot how time consuming they could be! Typically my YouTube videos are 15 minutes long or less, but the one for this game is a little over 50 minutes! Quickly into my first gaming session, I realized that watching the tutorial was in order as the interface is a bit daunting. Even after completing the tutorial, there are several unanswered questions and many of my mistakes were very costly in terms of breaking leases and ruining my building’s reputation.

When starting a new game you can choose your difficulty level which impacts the economy and fussiness of your tenants. Even on the Easy setting you’ll have various strikes and economic conditions that will impact the amount of foot traffic you’ll receive for a short while. If you just want to build without worrying about money or prestige, there is an unlimited mode available. Though the unlimited funding is nice, I wanted to build up my building’s reputation from the ground up and that’s exactly what this game is all about: taking a small building and turning it into a force to be reckoned with.

In the beginning you’ll start off with basic furnishings, a basement area and a maintenance crew.  Every addition, utility added, and furnishing placed will cost you money.  The $10,000 in starting funds won’t last long so you’ll have to take on some city contracts and bring in some tenants to expand your building floor by floor.  If you run out of funds you can borrow money for a fee, but it’s best to find out where you’re bleeding money before you go into the red.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Low system requirements; though it’s hard to please everyone it's fun to try anyway
Weak Points: Unclear prerequisites for bringing in some clientele; confusing interface; limited rent tweaking options
Moral Warnings: Alcohol selling and gambling establishments

Small business offices are a good place to start since they typically require electricity, phone lines, and water if they’re medical facilities. You can fit quite a few on a single floor, but besides utilities, they’ll require other services including printing and courier services. You can also do studio apartments, which have meager requirements, but you’ll need to have garbage and recycling cans on their level and facilities for both services in your building as well. Restaurants require garbage and recycling bins on their floors too. If you have food establishments too close to offices or apartments, your tenants may whine about strange smells or it being too noisy. Tenants don’t like being too close to elevators either. You can put lounges between the elevators and apartments to create a bit of a buffer.

Clients may leave the premises for various reasons, and if they do, your building will take a reputation hit. Certain establishments like luxury shops and restaurants only become available after you have achieved a certain star/prestige rating. If your ratings dip below their requirements, they’ll vacate and lower your ratings even more. Another way to lower your prestige is by forcibly moving or removing businesses. Try to plan ahead as much as possible and pay attention to facility requirements. For example, HVAC facilities can only be on the first subfloor. Be sure to leave space for the inevitable upgrades and go for the biggest ones available if you can afford them.

Most of the facility requirements are spelled out pretty clearly in terms of what utilities they require and what services they expect. With that said, there are many cases where some of the requirements are not disclosed until after they move in. Learn from my failure and put trash bins and recycle containers on the same floor as any restaurant. Occasionally I ran into a catch-22 scenario when trying to bring in technical companies into my large office facilities. They didn’t want to rent until other ones moved in there first. Sadly, without large technical offices, large engineering offices would not come into my building either.

Project Highrise
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 97%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

For $6.99 you can purchase the Las Vegas DLC which allows you to build hotel and casino facilities. As long as you have your casino license, they’re pretty easy to operate. The hotels, on the other hand, add a whole new slew of obstacles to overcome. In order for luggage and room services to function, assuming you have their facilities in place, you need to have wider elevators installed. These elevators are only available to employees so many floors will need two elevators on them. Another stumbling block are venues that occupy multiple floors. Make sure that customers can access both sides of the venue. I had difficulty utilizing (and often destroying) many rooms since I only had employee access on one side of my skyscraper.

Despite my gripes, I do enjoy this game and had fun unlocking many of the 80+ Steam achievements. I was surprised how quickly this game downloaded and installed onto my system. It’s been a while since I installed a game that was less than 100MB! Between the meager disk space requirements and simple 2D graphics, this game can run on many portable and older systems flawlessly.

The only moral concerns with this game are the gambling and alcohol selling establishments. You can construct honeymoon suites, but you don’t see anything going on in them other than the tenants standing around.

Project Highrise has been on sale for $9.99 and at that price it’s a steal. If you enjoy building or simulation games the regular price of $19.99 is worthwhile. While not perfect, this title is fun and caused me to lose track of time on numerous occasions.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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