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The Elizabethan Era

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Build-a-lot: The Elizabethan Era

JohnBBuild-a-lot is back with a newly-themed release that takes us all the way back to the time of Shakespeare. Build-a-lot: The Elizabethan Era is more of the same building/management sim we've grown to love, only this time there's a distinct 1500s England slant. Gone are fancy upgrades, modern conveniences, and indoor plumbing. In are pubs, apothecaries, outhouses, and wall sconces. That's right, sconces!

buildalotelizabethan.jpgThe basic idea is warmly the same as before: improve each town you visit by fixing up run-down buildings, buying up properties and placing new, upgraded houses and other structures in their stead. Each level comes with a set of objectives visible from the menu at the bottom. Travel through England and spruce up Norwich, Dover, London and more, each more challenging (and demanding) than the last.

Your only real concerns in Build-a-lot are materials, workers, cash, and time. Money is collected in the form of rent every game day, and you'll use it to order materials so you can create new buildings and upgrade existing ones. Workers limit how many tasks you can complete at once, so if you've got the cash, hiring a few extra hands helps speed things along. Everything needs to be completed before the timer at the top left corner of the screen empties, but this is rarely a problem until later on.

Once the game gets moving, you'll gain access to new things to build, such as farms, service buildings, theaters, workshops, quarries, and the like. These contribute to the town's overall happiness or help you out in the management department, bringing in more cash for you to throw around like a rich property owner.

buildalotelizabethan2.jpgAnalysis: The Build-a-lot series has been around for some time, and it's established itself as a reliable place to go for solid simulation entertainment. We never thought flipping property would be entertaining, but Build-a-lot proved us wrong and has done so across nearly half a dozen installments.

The Elizabethan Era offers more of the same, which is always nice, and adds a dollop of flavoring to the pot with its new visual style. Buildings, upgrades, mayors and the like still perform the same function, but seeing them set in period-specific locations is, admittedly, something of a treat.

If you're anything of a history buff and know your two shillings worth about the actual Elizabethan Era, try not to wince too much at the game, especially in the dialogue department. Hipsoft obviously wasn't going for accuracy, as the characters spit out text that reads like a child pretending to be Shakespeare. Take a deep breath and realize it's all just part of the show.

Apart from its small, stiff animations and hokey dialogue, Build-a-lot: The Elizabethan Era cranks out yet another superb building/simulation game. Thou shalt surely be the envy of the entire town with these new mouldings!

Download the demo Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


Evergreen August 7, 2010 4:13 PM

Can anyone tell me if there are any new gameplay features in this installment? I picked up Build-a-Lot 3 and basically enjoyed it, but I never felt like finishing the game, once the levels started feeling like remixes of the same thing. Does this one add anything, or is it simply a re-skin?

Evergreen August 7, 2010 10:49 PM

Fair enough. The new setting seems like it would have been a good opportunity to throw some gameplay imagination in there, not just some new graphics, but I can't fault them too much for going with what works.

I feel like this game could stand to be shaken up a little, though, without losing its signature feel. Royal Envoy did a good job with that, just by adding in a few levels with unique structures or conditions. I couldn't tear myself away from that one, and it's just a tweaked version of Build-a-Lot itself.

Gene Platt August 8, 2010 12:52 PM

I'd actually designate it as a step back. Buildings with negative effects don't seem to have an area affect on adjacent buildings, meaning less planning is required. In addition, some basic text editing was not done. For example, the sawmill was renamed the quarry, but the help text still refers to it as the sawmill.

Only get if you're a completest for the series.

tanatos88 August 24, 2010 12:12 PM

I can't get through level 38. If anyone can- please help!

David Becker December 30, 2010 6:20 PM

Level 38 - Goals: Own 9 Crop Farms, Own 9 Livestock Farms, neighborhood happiness of +300

1. Build and sell a palace.
2. Build a quarry.
3. Build a workshop.
4. Build 2 palaces.
5. Build a blacksmith.
6. Build a stone mason.
7. Train 3 workers.
8. Train 18 farmers.
9. Demolish the workshop.
10. Build 6 livestock farms.
11. Build 7 crop farms.
12. Add stone walls to all 13 farms.
13. Upgrade all 13 farms to 5 stars simultaneously.
14. After that demolish both palaces, but be sure to have around £500,000.
15. Build two crop farms.
16. Add stone walls to them.
17. Upgrade both crop farms to 5 stars.
18. Demolish the quarry.
19. Build a livestock farm.
20. Add a stone wall to it and upgrade it to 1 star.
21. Demolish the blacksmith and the stone mason.
22. Build two livestock farms.


I'm stuck on level 40 - can anyone help please? Usually good at this series!

Zarilynx March 7, 2011 3:12 PM

I am really having difficulty with Level 42, have tried several different strategies and still cannot even finish the level (let alone the expert) before running out of time. Anyone have a strategy please.

I love these games and have been playing them for years. This one is a lot of fun because of the new categories for necessities.

Bashfulrabbit January 2, 2012 10:30 PM

thanks for the help on level 38. I've been stuck there for a while. Just doesn't seem to be enough time to get it all done, and with all the pests & droughts, I kept running out of money.


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