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Review: Kaloki Love for tycoon and Kaloki lovers

07-17-2009, 02:12 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 5,305
Review: Kaloki Love for tycoon and Kaloki lovers

Managing a space station apparently can lead to love, at least that’s the premise behind Kaloki Love, a new release that builds on the original space tycoon title Kaloki Adventure. Kaloki Love is a more story-driven game than its older, more goals-focused predecessor. The name of the game is love as Roger, the space station manager attempts to build his way to marriage. While I recommend gamers play through Kaloki Adventure first, Kaloki Love’s unique premise and challenging gameplay make this an ideal choice if you’re looking for a more casual tycoon game.

As in the original, Kaloki Love is about resource management, and depending on how you manage them, different scenarios involving love interests are possible. The objective is to build out a barren space station to meet the various needs of customers as they come from every part of the universe. Each station has hubs or ports where structures and generators can be built. For every satisfied customer, money is earned which can then be used to upgrade structures and generate even more money. The game has two modes: Love Story which has 5 levels; and Scenarios, which provides 5 additional self-contained situations.

Visually, the 3D graphics are nicely rendered with a full 360-degree view controlled with a drag of the finger. The soundtrack is decidedly swing jazz so it maintains the legacy of the original.

The main storyline in Kaloki Love is about meeting financial targets while building structures and also meeting requests from 4 potential sweethearts—Blenda, Poppy, Ann and Wraeth. The objectives for completing a level, however, are strictly financial such as earning $2500 while serving customers who range from demanding alien scholars and gossip mongers to business traders and industry spies. These sweethearts are robots so it gets a little kinky, and besides that, the robot women in this part of the galaxy are all superficial. During the game, robot women will request that you build them certain structures and based who you decide to build for will alter the ending. The five-part storyline follows a progressive linear mode that takes you through the following levels:

* The New Guy
* Puppy Love
* The Crush
* Responsibility
* Commitment

The five scenarios on the other hand follow in the tradition of Kaloki Adventure where objectives range from meeting financial requirements to building specific structures. The hitch in these scenarios is that there are limitations and unexpected events that add some extra challenge such as limited ports and damaging asteroid showers. The scenarios have some strange names that aptly describe the task at hand:

* Fireworks Sandbox
* Challenge of the Gods
* The Hammer
* The Eight Port Challenge
* The Crucible

For me, the scenarios were more of what I’m used to from playing the original game, and offered enough challenging and frustrating moments.

When you begin the game, the station is virtually a chunk of metal with empty nubs and ports. Simply tap on an open port, and a window appears showing available structures arranged by expansion categories with important information such as cost, energy usage, and expected revenue per customer. During construction, a bar illustrating progress appears over the relevant port. Once something is built, you can tap each to view profitability, energy use, and condition as well as customization options. A HUD in the upper right corner also gauges the wants and needs of your customers based on the expansion category so the goal is to maintain balance so you can keep the money flowing in.

As you progress, you also earn expansion packs, which are new structures available to you such as the Spy Training Center, History Hall of Records, and The Space Observatory among others. In the storyline levels, I found it wasn’t always the best strategy to implement expansion structures just because they’re available. While upgrades are important, maintaining positive cash flow is essential.

On the left side is a trophy icon which contains the objectives for each level. The problem I have with Kaloki Love is that the objectives aren’t automatically presented when beginning a level. Instead, you have to remember to manually check which isn’t exactly obvious especially if you’re unfamiliar with the game. Because the game uses a tab layout to categorize information, the buttons can be small for some. Again as in the original, Kaloki Love doesn’t provide instructions beyond the basics which can be confuse new players. It is fairly intuitive once you understand it, and the game is relatively easy to interact with from the start.

Kaloki Love is a standalone, complete game that delivers a casual experience that combines a short campaign mode with a good variety in scenario mode. The game offers a nice change of pace from the original with simpler, yet challenging goals, but it also provides an entertaining game focusing on man-robot love. Those who have played the original should definitely consider Kaloki Love, while newer audiences may enjoy the casual gameplay.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for fans of the Kaloki series and tycoon games; newer audiences may enjoy the lighthearted and less serious storyline)