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Oh! Edo Towns

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Kairosoft klassics

Product: Oh! Edo Towns | Developer: Kairosoft | Publisher: Kairosoft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Simulation | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Oh! Edo Towns iPhone, thumbnail 1
It’s fair to say that Kairosoft has built something of a reputation. But a reputation for what, exactly?

Is it for releasing a handful of quality strategy sims that satirically (but skilfully) skip across a variety of subjects? Or is it because these games play like digital crack?

Either way, there's a veritable mother-lode of Kairosoft games just waiting in the wings, eager to gobble up your cash and your spare time.

Which brings us to Oh! Edo Towns, the latest of the Kairosoft klassics to get a western English conversion. But is it the greatest?

Pocket god

As the name implies, we’re in the Edo period of feudal Japan. We open onto a pathetic little settlement, comprising a handful of huts, fields, and shops. The locals are farmers, and they have scant ambition beyond keeping a roof over their heads, their backs clothed, and their bellies full.

Your role in all this is suitably dramatic. Yours is the heavy mantle of the march of progress, the disruptive force of innovation. You swirl into this domain, and with an omnipresent hand you must develop the settlement until it becomes a prosperous province that’s veritably teeming with life, commerce, and invention.

It doesn’t happen overnight, though. First you need to provide some vacant lots for new residents to move into. Then you need to provide more basic amenities to make your domain more attractive - a library, or some public baths, or some paved roads.

As more residents move in, the diversity of interests grows, and so too does the the primary output of your domain.

The farming class soon gives way to a merchant class, trading in goods, which works hand in hand with the artisan class, which produces complex crafts and other items. Finally, a warrior class takes up residence, which requires things like stables, inns, and weaponry to ply its fearsome trade.

Another factor to consider is the environment. Certain buildings will complement each other well - a school, a library, and a religious shrine, for example - and enhance the earnings of the surrounding grid. You therefore have to give careful consideration to the layout of your streets to maximise their annual yields.

Sim samurai

You can rest easy, gentle reader - Oh! Edo Towns more than lives up to the Kairosoft heritage. It’s fantastically addictive, and a pleasure to play in either short bursts or through protracted bouts of world-building.

The visuals and sounds are pleasing, in their 16-bit isometric fashion, and they somehow do a spectacular job of making a complicated scenario seem simple and accessible.

None of this is reinventing the wheel. Most of these principles were already established by the Sim City series and have been present in the genre for decades.

But Oh! Edo Towns has refined those ideas and spun them into something quirky and distinctive - a mediaeval Japanese civilisation to go with Will Wright's American modern metropolis.

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Oh! Edo Towns
Reviewer photo
Bulent Yusuf | 8 November 2011
A mediaeval marvel, brimming with virtual life and character. Minor conversion issues aside, Oh! Edo Towns is highly recommended
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