LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2

Mega Mall Story 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Mega Mall Story 2
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on iOS & Android)
Developers | Publishers: Kairosoft
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $14.00 | UK £11.69 | EU €13,99
Release Date: March 25, 2021

Review code used, with many thanks to Kairosoft!

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Floors! Shoppers! Money!

Mega Mall Story 2 (MMS2) transported me 25 years back to a childhood of playing simulation games on the PC. Before The Sims came to life, there were the other “Sims”: SimCity, SimAnt, SimTown, SimCopter, SimPark, and so on . . . and SimTower.

Indeed, this was a blast to the past, like I was playing SimTower again. Managing a multi-storey complex, keeping customers happy, making the rare VIP happy, building ever upward (and downward), ultimately striving for the 5-star rating. SimTower was actually the brainchild of Japanese developer “Yoot” Saito, winning him a local award and the attention of American publisher Maxis.

In a way, MMS2 feels like a return to these Japanese roots, as it follows a similar concept to SimTower. But it is also a Kairosoft game—which, according to hearsay, means nothing terribly innovative and yet fun, cute and unexpectedly addictive. From what I’ve read, it may also share a few frustrating features with some Kairosoft titles: too slow, too many screens to click through. I can’t give you a proper assessment of how MMS2 compares with other Kairosoft games as this is my first. But here’s what I think of it as a game in its own right.

What Makes a Customer Happy

Right off the bat, I felt the satisfaction and excitement of building a tower and filling it with colorful shops. There’s a special gratification that comes with building upwards. I was kept busy from the get-go and given a good amount of flexibility and choice of shops.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Over 130 shops and facilities to choose from.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
You can buy up to 3 combo plans at the beginning of each year.
One fun challenge is to arrange shops in “combo” layouts. In these combos, 3 specific shops must be placed next to each other in a certain order. Combos generally raise each shop’s Reputation and Price, which makes customers more likely to visit and pay more per product.

Placement is key. For example, putting high-Reputation shops upstairs encourages customers to shop in less attractive stores they pass along their way there. You can rearrange shops at any time, if you have the moolah. Beware, though, that the further you build from ground floor, the more expensive it is. This applies not only to brand-new shops but also to shops you’re relocating! Yep, you’re always paying for something, be it new staff, new stairs, or new steak houses. But at least demolishing shops costs nothing; in fact, you get a little cash back!

Cash will be slightly tight at first (but never too scarce), though in later years you’ll probably have way more money than you need. MMS2 isn’t a punishing or difficult game. Money isn’t all-important here; it’s a Rank 5 title you’re after, and MMS2 gives you 15 years to do this, which is a very generous amount of time.

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Winning biannual challenges unlocks new shops, facilities, and transport.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
“Quality” determines how many pieces of “Stock” a customer will buy. But they won’t even stop by if the “Reputation” isn’t high enough.
Money is just one of several metrics. The three major resources are Money, Points, and Hearts. Money is used primarily to build and relocate shops. Points and Hearts are used to upgrade each store. Hearts are also used to buy new shop plans. It’s not just placement you have to consider, but also each shop’s upgrades. ‘Ços money doesn’t just grow on shops! To bear profit, a shop’s level of Quality and Stock matters. I won’t bore you with further details; you’ll get the hang of it after a few years.
I don’t know if you like business-y games, because this is very much one. Dealing with the numbers felt cut-and-dry initially, but MMS2 quickly became hard to put down. The addictive element comes from the fact that things are always happening onscreen, and there’s tons of micromanaging you can do. On the flipside, though, it’s fatiguing. There’s a fine line between monotony and compelling repetition.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Seeing “Sold Out” plastered across a whole floor is gratifying. They like my mall!
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Go wild, little shoppers.

The monotony is broken by exciting moments of “Frenzy,” which is when the music picks up and a flood of customers pour in and shop like crazy. It’s also fun to welcome new customers, who arrive after you’ve added new stores and fulfilled customer requests. Most are human customers, your ordinary grandpa or high-schooler. But there’s an occasional animal or man-in-costume, which is super cute. I was surprised to actually spot specific customers zooming around my mall after they had become regulars.

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Turn customers into “Regulars” and then into “Satisfaction” (pardon the game’s grammar).
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
“Draggi Jr. Job: Dragon.” One of my VIPs. He should probably get to know “Chimpan Z. Job: Politician.”
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Fulfill customer requests to unlock new requests, new shops, or new customers.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Pinch your touchscreen with two fingers to zoom in and out.
When my mall got huge and keeping track of shops was a total nightmare, I was thankful for the touchscreen. You can play MMS2 entirely by touchscreen, and I often used it to pan more quickly across my 23-floor mall.

What Makes a Customer Sad

Unfortunately, MMS2 could be much better—just by several simple improvements. The game could have been faster, mechanics explained in more detail.

For example, I hit a plateau after reaching Rank 3. There was little I could do to unlock new shops at that point. My few transport systems crawled at snail pace, so it seemed like I was waiting forever for new VIPs to appear—and without them, I couldn’t rank up. It took me ages, around 10 hours in, to figure out how to do well financially and speed up customer arrivals. In the end, it took 15 hours to reach Rank 5, though I’m sure a second playthrough could be exponentially shorter.

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
You can assign multiple transports to one area. This will make the area “level up” faster, which you need for attracting VIPs.
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Failed to snag a VIP customer? Try again next month.
Requiring fewer VIPs to rank up my mall would have ended the game sooner and encouraged a second playthrough. But halfway through, I was already fatigued by tapping through tons of repetitive screens and pressing buttons to move constantly between menus.

Due to my own ignorance (plus lack of prompting from the game), I didn’t realize several things until quite late. First, you can speed up customer arrivals by assigning multiple transports to one residential area, and by improving advertisements. Second, you can save time in navigating menus with a shortcut button (L) to jump from the Build Plans sub-menu to the Buy Plans sub-menu. Third, you can stop ruining your eyesight, by using the touchscreen to zoom in on your mall. These may seem like minor details, but added together they could make the game annoying (or not).

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
I must have seen this generic message about 50 times, seriously.

Besides a better tutorial, here’s what else I wish the game had. More than anything: an alphabetical list of shops, not just shops listed by floor, because it takes ages to track down shops when you have a sprawling 23-floor mall.

Next, I could really have used a fast-forward button to skip animations and messages. In the Settings menu, there’s an option for “Fast” speed gameplay, but it’s locked until you finish the game once. Why not make it available from the start? Lastly, the game should allow players to relocate shops one tile away.

Currently, there’s an absurd rule where you can’t relocate a shop if the new location overlaps even slightly with the current location.

In short, MMS2 is much longer and slower than it needs to be.

Monster of a Mall

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
Welcome to Tyrannoshoppus, where all your time will be taken and never returned.

But like so many obsessions, MMS2 is both fun and fatiguing. Sometimes it’s hard to draw a line between the two. Though, when my mall grew into a massive monster (I named it “Tyrannoshoppus” Mall, by the way), it crossed the line to fatigue. Tapping through repetitive screens and animations, waiting ages for VIPs to show up, the toil of relocating stores yet again . . . it felt too much, almost like trekking through a needlessly oversized mall I know in real life (also aptly named Mega Mall). By the time I hit Rank 5, I didn’t feel like using the remaining years to enjoy the rewards unlocked by my victory: new stores, new floors, new customer requests.

LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
You mean, “Build Tapas Bar on 1F”?
LadiesGamers Mega Mall Story 2
“Happy happy happy!” Honestly, in the case of MMS2, I’d award just one “happy.”

So I hovered between giving the “Not Sure” and “I Like It” rating. I like MMS2 just enough to want to try other Kairosoft games, to see if they’ve done better with the simulation formula elsewhere. I like it just enough to think, “I bet I could do a better job on a second playthrough!” But no, I don’t like it enough to sit through it again, even if Fast mode eliminated the eternity of screens and waiting and dragging shops around (though the touchscreen function performs wonderfully for this final task). Maybe the thing about Kairosoft games is that you’re expected to play one and move on to the next?

In the end, bearing in mind MMS2’s roots as a mobile game for casual gamers, I guess it’s okay. Just okay.

Verdict: I Like It

I like it


We love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.