There’s not a big surprise when you hear that in Build It! Miami Beach Resort your quest is to build a beach resort on the nice beaches of Miami. However, it’s not your classic time management game, but comes with some really interesting gameplay mechanics that have you do your best to think fast, act fast and don’t mess up. Which eventually will become a real challenge!
But let’s hear about the story first: you are placed in the shoes of Claire Parker, a lady that just gets fired when an attorney comes to give her some… ahem… good news: her rich uncle just passed away and left her a nice sum of money and some land in Miami. But there’s a condition associated to this inheritance: she has to move to Miami and build a beach resort there. And you will be the one helping her.
The game starts in the late 1920s, with just a few options available to build up your resort, but new buildings will be unlocked as times goes by and you complete tasks. Basically, each year is a level in Build It! Miami Beach Resort and comes with some associated goals that you must complete to pass that level. The goals are pretty repetitive in nature: build this type of building, build an attraction, paint a building red and have a given sum of profits.
However, despite the limited variety of goals to complete, you don’t get the time to get bored: if you manage to complete all the tasks before July 1st in the game, you get a hefty bonus, usually a large sum of money – larger than what you get from completing the mission. So generally – or at least in my case – gameplay will be a rush to complete everything before the first half of the year passes. And this takes away a bit of the fun since you do everything mechanically, but this is how you have to play the game.
Very interesting is the fact that even though each year is a level, when a new one starts, you continue playing with the resort set-up you have built throughout the years. This doesn’t only give you a head start advantage, but makes things a bit more complicated: the land area that you have to build on is limited and so is the number of buildings you are allowed to build. Sometimes, you will need to build a bar far away from a hotel, but you won’t have any space left, so you’ll have to demolish a building to make space for the new one. This is actually what makes this game fun – all the planning and madness and tapping around your resort, but also becomes extremely difficult eventually when your areas are filled with buildings and you simply can’t judge clearly. So Build It! Miami Beach Resort is obviously not a game for the faint of heart!
Although fun because of this extreme pace that you have to keep up, the game doesn’t give you the chance to actually care about what you’re building, the design of your resort or anything like this. You can’t plan ahead your strategy because any time a new mission might appear obliging you to demolish your buildings. You don’t get the time to enjoy the cash flow because you’re in a race against time to complete everything… so in the end it depends a lot on what type of player you are and what you expect from a time management game.
Visually, things are looking pretty decent and the music, as it usually happens with casual games, is better turned off. The gameplay in Build It! Miami Beach Resort is pretty OK and areas large enough to tap on without misplacing a building, but due to the high pace of the game, you might end up wishing for a bigger screen (so play the game on an iPad, it is a lot better there!).
All in all, Build It! Miami Beach Resort is not a time management game in the classic sense. It is, however, a real “time management” title since you have to do everything so quickly, and that is where all the fun comes from. However, it could’ve used some extra tricks, like upgrades for your character and some extra meat on the bone to actually make you care about the resort you’re building and about Claire’s fate. But maybe that’s how business is in the real world as well – cold and fast paced!