Tap Tap Revenge creator, Tapulous is getting into the virtual club-making business with their newest iPhone title, ClubWorld. It follows on the heels of TeamLava’s Nightclub Story and Booyah’s Nightclub City DJ Rivals. Considering Tapulous’ musical gaming background, it seems like the genre is a potentially good fit.
Like these games, ClubWorld is about simulating the experience of managing a nightclub. While it has decent visuals for an iPhone title, the real draw comes from the wide range of music that Disney-owned Tapulous can offer. (TeamLava’s Nightclub Story, in contrast, has generic electro tracks while Booyah has nabbed some interesting licensing deals.) With its collection of both indie and more mainstream artists, the title sounds great. But as far as game design goes, ClubWorld has been seen and done before. Nevertheless, there are a handful of well-placed social and currency earning mechanics that help improve the overall experience.
At the beginning of the game, players get a handful of coins to start with and must devise the best approach to attract initial party goers and keep the flow of patrons coming until they have the best club on the street.
The mechanics of the game function about the same as Nightclub City, but for those that haven’t played the game, the idea behind it isn’t terribly difficult. Essentially, players attract patrons by improving their club’s “Coolness” factor. As one might expect, this statistic is increased by purchasing various virtual items for the club.
Once the user starts the game, they will be given a bouncer, bartender, and DJ. Each one can be “hired” to perform a job for a set period of time (a few minutes to several hours), earning more profit the longer it takes. In addition to this, Tapulous has included a very dynamic reward for completing quests.
Typically, quests or missions in a virtual space game have been a means to help guide the player in what they should do next as well provide a sort of objective for them to accomplish. With ClubWorld, objectives (e.g. buy X amount of décor items) that are completed are rewarded with a mini-game that pours in-game currency and the occasional piece of virtual currency from the top of the iPhone whenever the user shakes the device. Under a short time limit, the idea is to collect as much currency as possible. Initially, the income for players is extremely low, but once the user hits this first mini-game, revenue becomes a non-issue.
Since ClubWorld is free-to-play, the title is monetized through both advertisements and a virtual currency called “Sugar.” It works more or less the same way as most virtual currencies do in social games, in that it can not only be used to purchase special, more fanciful, decorative items for the player clubs, but also to make the jobs done by the bouncer, bartender, and DJ instantaneously completed. The currency can be purchased in quantities of 50 to 1435 running $4.99 to $99.99 respectively.
As for social features, players can not only connect via Facebook but visit other random users’ nightclubs (a mechanic featured in many other mobile sim games.) Once at a user club, players can “Toast” to their design, raising their Coolness level.
Players can also invite and play with their friends, viewing their virtual spaces via a city street not unlike that found in Restaurant City. While users can send messages to each others while visiting, it does not appear possible to send gifts. There are also leaderboards for goals such as top Coolness or experience earned.
So the mechanics and gameplay are more or less like every other nightclub game we’ve seen. What makes Tapulous different is its library of music. Players can set up DJ mixes with Daft Punk, The Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna tracks. In an extra type of in-app purchase, players can also buy full versions of songs via an iTunes link and can even Like the specific songs as they are playing.
In the end, ClubWorld is a decently built game that contains quality music and can be fun to play. That said, other than its unique reward mechanic for completing quests, the game doesn’t do anything terribly new. The game plays it safe in terms of its design, but is still a nice addition to the social-mobile space.