Release Date:March 15, 2010
Summary:Play as a real estate agent trying to buy your rich clients extravagant homes by plunging headfirst into the wildly fluctuating housing market. Very original.
A very quirky and, I have to say, very original game, Mansion Expansion achieves an almost impossible task: it makes real estate look fun.
When I think of real estate, I think of people figuring out down payments, and leases, and mortgages, potentially second mortgages, and even foreclosures, given the recent times. Being a realtor doesn’t sound like much fun to me, particularly when your income reliability goes up and down with the housing market, which in this country, as we all know, has been pretty depressing.
But, all seriousness aside, Mansion Expansion by Vindicate Games is just good practice in folly and fun, putting you in the shoes of a plucky real estate agent who tries to satisfy the expensive whims of wealthy looking people, one being a woman decked out in your prototypical New England, Hampton style of dress, with pearls, coco chanel frames, and even the ever unflattering tennis visor. She entreats you, seemingly with a whiff of her upturned nose, with finding and buying her an extravagant mansion upwards of $100,000, which in this game, may as well be $20 million.To do so, you first start off with a meager sum of money, with the mission of buying properties and then selling them in the hopes of making a profit off your investments. On the playing field – shown as a grassy knoll with a giant mansion in one corner – houses and apartment complexes begin popping up, indicating their readiness to be purchased. They
start off at a reasonable price, but due to the “housing market” in this game, their value quickly increases; if you’re not quick on your toes, you may buy a property at a more expensive price than you could have, reducing your end profit once you sell. To turn this misgiving around, you must wait as the property’s value increases, and then sell at a price you perceive to be high enough to reward you with a substantial profit – otherwise, if you wait too long, the housing market will again fluctuate against your favor, decreasing the property’s value. All fun and games, right?
You may wonder, how do I figure out when to buy and when to sell? In the real world, it’s pretty hard – a bit like gambling, or just regular old stockmarket investing, two things I’m trying to learn more about – but in this game, these handy markers in the shape of green and red triangles indicate when prices are going up, and when prices are going down, respectively. Obviously, you want to buy low, and sell high – that’s a general rule of thumb, and just plumb common sense. If you buy high and sell low, you won’t just be out of the job, you’ll be homeless. The way Mansion Expansion makes the game a bit more challenging is by having homes rapidly pop up all over the screen, each with their own individual price fluctuations; the price changes are never ubiquitous across the board. When I first played, this did seem to pose a challenge – I’d often forget about a small home and sell it when it was
worth next to nothing – but then I realized that if I just glazed over, letting my eyes fasten onto all the little green and red flags, all I had to do was buy a home the instant it appeared (guaranteeing the lowest price), and then selling it as soon as its green arrow turned red (insuring me that it’s as high as it can get before it lowers). Frankly, there’s no strategy involved, just quick reflexes. If the game wanted to make the fluctuating housing market more “believable,” it shouldn’t have the properties rise in value once, and then completely devalue. It should be a random ebb and flow of rising in price, then lowering, then rising again, etc. This way, it’d be harder for me to predict just how high the property could achieve in value.
The levels take some time to beat after the first level, so plan on buying and selling a lot of homes before you’re able to purchase that ridiculous, oversized mansion for your client. There are 9, unique stages in this game, cute graphics and music, and 12 achievements – in future updates the developer plans on releasing more stages. Apparently, there are even hurricanes in the game, but in a few solid hours of play, I have yet to experience one – it just reeks of doom, so I hope I see one onscreen soon. While Mansion Expansion may not be a go-to game for me, I found it surprisingly entertaining, zapping up a solid hour of finger taps from me. I would definitely vote it for most original game, most serious double-take game, but I do wish there was a little more to the game. Then, it might just be a permanent, quirky fix on my phone.