Game Review: Shop Your Way To A Virtual Fashion Empire in Mall World

Mall world is a girl-centric shopping game where users manage their fashion store, stocking it with the hottest items while keeping an eye out for the latest trends and looks. Similar to Café World, PetVille and Hotel City in its dynamic, this game is targeted strictly to a female demographic and aims to tap into their shopaholic desires. The game is a fast up and comer on the app charts, boasting roughly 1.3 million monthly active users. Read our review after the jump.

  • Title: Mall World
  • Genre: Virtual store management
  • Game Developer: 50 Cubes
  • Game Publisher: 6Waves
  • Released: 2010

Summary

Mall World is a virtual fashion store management and shopping game where users run their own store in a virtual mall. There’s interesting features that increase sociability and fun while giving users a bunch of tasks to do; perfect for 5-10 minutes of play.

Pros

Fun and cute interface. Visually appealing and diverse wardrobe items (with new ones released all the time). A fun fashion accessorizing mini game. Lots of room for cooperative play and exploration/implementation of game ideas from fashion game genre.

Cons

Lack of many innovative features. Emotional appeal is relatively weak and the time management aspects are relatively unknown to a user, making it difficult to plan things. Virtual goods marketing design can also be improved significantly.

Full Review

Gameplay

Mall World is a fantastic store management game where you operate your own very store in a mall. You begin by creating an avatar, specifically a female avatar (male avatars cannot be made) which the game calls ‘getting a makeover’. You select the traditional features found during avatar customization: eyes, hair, dresses, accessories etc. and then visit pre-made virtual stores to shop for your additional items or your avatar. Next you see a message stating ‘now its time to create your own store’ and are taken through a very easy to follow tutorial that gets you up and running. Hence customizing both your avatar and store and owning the nicest items becomes the meta goal of the game.

There are same game elements such as picking up clothes laying on the ground that are similar to what we have seen in other games such as Petville where you click on trash on the ground. Cleaning your store completely gives you a bonus. These mechanics become instilled in players’ minds as the first thing to do when they come to play. Not coming back for a long time also creates a sense of worry as players know that dirty clothes are accumulating in their stores and harming profits. As you run your own store, you can customize it shelves and wallpaper, giving players tremendous customizability they desire. Clothes need to be constantly restocked as they are sold. Customers wander in to the store, each having a name of one of your friends to create sociability. These actions allow a player to level up, buy more items for their avatar and continue to stock their store, which is done by checking out different looks (many of which are locked due to level restrictions) and ordering specific items that take a few minutes to arrive before you can stock them. There’s also a mini game where you are given an item such as shoes and you have 30 seconds to pick other items such as a purse that best match it. Better matching, determined by an algorithm, leads to higher happiness (measured by a meter), paying out money and XP.

Presentation

Mall World is a great looking game with all the features found in traditional flash games. At the top is 6Waves cross promotions tool along with a social bar that attempts to get players to become a fan and subscribe to email etc. The interface is very friendly and appeals to a female demographic with pink and white colors. The illustrations are crisp and up to par with graphics from companies such as Playfish and Zynga. The music is hard to turn off initially and can become irritating but is ok for a while. The sound effects are minimal, limited to actions such as changing your avatar’s clothing. The viral popups and feedback is strong, with cute and shiny animations that is sure to thrill females.

Sociability

Asides from the ability to send gifts and sell to customers named after their friends, players also have the option of creating ‘looks’ for the customers that walk in. Since these customers are friends, you can suggest a look complete with hair, makeup, shoes etc. and share it with them along with a personal message. All of the looks are archived in something called “My Look Book,” which saves a persons’ looks their friends have created for them. We look forward to seeing more cooperative elements, such as a ‘wish list’ to appear in this game and, say, group competitions where friends compete against others in a virtual Zoo-lander style walk off.

Lasting Appeal

There’s an increased emergence of virtual management games such as Hotel City that focus more in the micro-scale than the macro scale (i.e. social city). The lasting appeal of the game is affected by the ability to customize both your avatar and store. There are abundant opportunities to interact with your friends, such as the ability to send a gift if you own more than 1 quantity of an item (similar to Zynga’s Treasure Isle). Players will also enjoy collecting items and collecting limited edition looks. The addition of the mini game increases opportunities of players to earn. What’s great about Mall World is that it allows players to level up fast and increase commitment to keep them coming back, as opposed to other games where you are very limited till you level up significantly. This game would best appeal to people looking for fun, easy and people emotions, not to hardcore gamers looking for a quick fix. This game is perfect for someone looking for quick 10 minute play to come in, clean their store, go shopping, order clothes from a catalog, restock shelves, check out new avatar looks, send a few gifts and leave.



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