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Ministry of Sound: Club Manager

For: Mobile

Run your own club and watch the money roll in, and out, and in…

Product: Ministry of Sound: Club Manager | Developer: 5th Cell | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Simulation | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 114KB | Reviewed on: N-Gage QD other handsets | Version: Europe
Ministry of Sound: Club Manager Mobile, thumbnail 1
The glory and power bestowed on one person. Raised upon a pedestal, looking down at the creatures below, debauched and rabid, you know in your heart they belong to you. This is what you’d surely expect from the world of Ministry Of Sound: Club Manager.

Boasting a name usually associated with the hardcore dance scene, Ministry Of Sound: Club Manager is more likely to appeal to Barbie-loving, Balamory-adoring kiddies, what with its cute characters dancing away like the Twist is back in style. There’s nothing to suggest this game is intended to be anything other than quaint and cheesy; certainly, if it was meant to be edgy and cutting, then it has missed the mark. But we’ll assume quaint clubbing was the design brief, since it's well worth giving Ministry Of Sound: Club Manager a chance – beneath its cute take on clubbing beats the heart of an engaging little business game.

To start off, you’re put in charge of an up-and-coming club. With only a handful of staff to run the entire venue, your challenge is to entice the punters through the doors for a minimal cost and maximum return. By balancing the prices for beers and spirits with the needs of the customers, you can keep them happy even whilst draining every last penny out of them. You can then hire more staff. The more bouncers you have, the more people are allowed in. The more bar staff, the more drinks you sell. And so it goes on.

Eventually you can hire DJs, expand the club, and even launch your own record label – these options only emerge when you’ve earned enough cash to start building your global empire though. With some common sense, this may well happen, but it isn’t a formality, and ensuring you have everything in place with tiny funds is a very tough prospect indeed. It takes a few fresh starts to build up your club again once you’ve tried and failed to learn the tricks of the trade, just as you’d expect in running any business.

The menu screens that enable you to control your club are fairly mundane. There’s not a lot of variety or sparkle and, if you were going to lose interest in Ministry Of Sound: Club Manager, it would be here. This is a shame, as once you’ve made all your selections and spent all your money, you can sit back and watch the club go about its business. The cutely-animated boys and girls dance away to the flashing lights, while anyone with tired feet can lounge on one of your sofas (providing they’ve bought a drink, of course) and the DJ spins his decks like an Italian mama rolling her pasta.

It's all very sweet and, as you’d hope, the music is quite catchy, though it surely can’t be out of the Ministry Of Sound’s finest back catalogue. Sounding more like Axel F remixed by Jean Michel Jarre, it has a strange '80s theme running throughout. Mixed into the overall feel of the game, though, and you’ve got some enjoyable moments that really will make you smile.

For how long is another matter, but initially you’ll find an engrossing little game that seems to surprise even itself.
Ministry of Sound: Club Manager
Reviewer photo
John Thomson | 20 February 2006
Surprisingly good fun, but it won’t fascinate forever. Rather like clubbing.
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