I always thought the idea of ‘chains’ and purchasing houses was a fairly new invention.
According to Empire Builder: Ancient Egypt, however, there were actually enterprising estate agents pacing around the pyramids and describing the tombs as ‘homely’ as far back as 4000 BC.
Like a ‘compact living area with period details’, Empire Builders has a decent foundation, but it’s far too constraining a place to live in for any prolonged amount of time
Babu the builder
As a journeyman city planner, your job in Empire Builder isn’t so much to actually build an empire but to buy up plots of land, construct a variety of buildings, and then rake in the taxes/rent that they accrue over time.
To do this, you have to employ a fleet of workers and order in generic building materials, presumably from the local trading estate down the Nile.
Everything is played out in real time and against the clock, with every level throwing down up to four* objectives to meet - like upgrade three of a certain type of house - before requiring you to dig deep into your resources and construct a mighty monument.Can we fix it?
If this is sounding awfully familiar to you, then you’ve likely played one of the Build-a-Lot games - a series that Empire Builder tries desperately to better.
As in those games, you’ll have to bid for land/homes as they come up for auction, and certain buildings such as lumber mills and gardens raise or lower happiness around them.
In fact, apart from a few minor differences - chasing away plagues of locusts with your finger, or using amulets for special bonuses - Empire Builder might as well be called ‘Build-a-tomb’ for all its similarities.
It'll cost ya
But there is one vital difference - Empire Builder isn’t as good.
While the controls and the gameplay are perfectly suited to the iPad, the game never truly takes off the training wheels throughout its 30-level Story mode.
The positioning of the plots of land is such that there’s never any doubt as to where each of the required buildings for a level should go, while the way the game throws cash and bonuses at you with every turn completely removes any inklings of strategy beyond the blindingly obvious.
There’s a good five or so hours of pleasant tapping to be had still, thanks to the professional presentation and execution of the concept, but it’s unlikely Empire Builder: Ancient Egypt will impress enough to make it worth a mortgage.