Welcome to Vault-o-mania! Not actually a Vault article, but an incredible simulation! Wait... I'm sorry, I've mixed up my notes. What I meant to say is that this is a Vault article about the mania I have over these incredible simulations. This week, we look into the JayIsGames archives to highlight three games perfect for those of us who like to escape reality by showing how much better it could be if they were in charge of running it.
- Coffee Shop - Forget the lemonade stand! Coffee's the beverage I couldn't live without, and Armor Games knows how picky we caffeine-addicts can be when it comes to mixing up a brew. Coffee Shop is a fun business simulation with enough options to keep things interesting, and streamlined mechanics that keep things simple. Balancing the economics and customer satisfaction of a perfect recipe can be a challenge, but the impish sense of humor on display means it is never tedious. Polished and seriously addictive, Coffee Shop is undeniably good to the last drop.
- Electrocity - A city simulator with an energy management focus, Electrocity has the spark of open-ended realism to it that is the hallmark of the best re-creations. Educational without being dry, not to mention quite pretty to look at, Electrocity will keep you clicking as your town grows before your eyes. I especially love the graphical detail: things like the little sheep on the farms, the fireworks exploding as your town grows... even the haze and decay you'll see in a ultra-polluted city has its charm. (4 nuclear power plants and a smelting factory... life is great in Trickyopolis!) Electrocity may have been commissioned by Genesis Energy, New Zealand's top electricity retailer, who obviously have a stake in the policy debates. However, the developers have clearly striven to avoid what bias they can. It makes for a game that's neither pointlessly optimistic nor needlessly pessimistic, and Electrocity is all the better for it.
- Via Sol 2 - Take Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and hold it up to a twisted fun house mirror, and the reflection you'll be staring at is Via Sol 2. I like Alpha Centauri as well as fun house mirrors, so really, this is the perfect game for me. A world-simulator with a darkly twisted sense of humor, Flyborg Games shows just why there's so much competition for the God-Emperor position in modern politics. Via Sol 2 isn't just about jokey cynicism though: it has strategic depth aplenty and a grim futuristic aesthetic that's hard not to like. Whether you decide to go for the totalitarian government dystopia or the privatized corporate dystopia, a smile is sure to be on your face... if not necessarily your citizens'.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!