San Francisco Tycoon
| San Francisco Tycoon

Having previously lived with an estate agent for the best part of two years, I'm inclined to think that the entire real estate business is something of a breeze. That it's one of those inflated industries where those involved make a lot of money without anyone working out how or why.

San Francisco Tycoon certainly doesn't do anything to dispel such talk, the whole thing being an especially basic approach to the art of buying, building and selling.

Happiness patrol

You take on the role of a glorified town planner. Each stage you undertake is a question of constructing a set number of buildings to please the mayor.

Every action is handled through a series of simple menus, the set process being to buy any of the available plots before checking through the plans to decide just what to build on them - assuming you have the funds, of course.

Each level is designed to appeal to a number of set markets, so if charming the elderly is the focus, chances are a park or two will sweeten their mood, while building a huge great cinema or a series of noisy fast food outlets will more than likely get them in a spin.

Building bore

Simply achieving the level's base aim, however, isn't always an option.

In order to raise enough capital to both buy and build on the plots in the first place, taking on contracts from businessmen who pay you to construct select amenities is often a must.

As such, each level becomes a case of deciding what to build where from a fairly restrictive library. Any sense of free will is fenced in by the fact that the shape of each building means it can only fit in a set area.

It all makes San Francisco Tycoon something of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle.

While success isn't a foregone conclusion – indeed, it's entirely possible to be left high and dry if you build the wrong buildings and drain your funds – there's no creative bent to San Francisco Tycoon's set-up.

You're simple filling in the blanks, dropping in buildings where it wants you to. The placid sense of play it creates results in a puzzler that doesn't present all that much to puzzle over.

San Francisco Tycoon

Like Build-a-lot for bozos, San Francisco Tycoon is less of a game and more of an elaborate puzzle made up of especially boring pieces