NinjaBee’s Outpost Kaloki X met with great success on XBLA, and has since been divided into three bite-sized mobile doses. Kaloki Adventure debuted last week as the first of the trilogy, with a story that casts you as The Hero, who must impress the interstellar royalty and tackle a madcap rescue mission. An economic sim, Kaloki Adventure has you strategically managing resources on interstellar outposts.
As you are drawn from one outpost to the next in pursuit of the Princess you must meet the specific goal of the space station by using the available resources and mining the interests of visitors. There are fourteen missions in total and hours of game-play as each challenge tests your resource managing savvy and strategy. The first three levels function as tutorials, introducing you to the game principles and controls. Each space station has its own number of projecting arms that you can construct additions on. These additions are chosen from categories that cater to different interests and goals, from social pods like arcades to revenue generating lemonade stands and pawn shops to power centers needed to make the whole station hum.
Catering to the desires of the local cosmic traffic increases the appeal of the outpost and consequently your revenue, allowing you to progress toward the goal. You can fine tune the appeal and cost of each add-on, or in the case of power supply the power output versus the safety. Appeal brings in more travellers, but you want to make sure you are balancing that appeal with the costs of operation and bringing in enough dough.
A meter on the right tracks the public interest in a pod, and the travelers along the bottom will clue you in to what they think is missing. For example, a ship may arrive with a speech bubble along the bottom decrying the lack of science facilities, another the lack of information available for travelers. Pleasing these visitors not only increases the value of your outpost, it often results in rewards like an upgrade, or blueprints for a new addition. Of course, some people just want money for their information. More advanced pods in a given category can also be reached by meeting certain criteria on an outpost, typically building the basic module in that category.
There is a time limit, tracked on the right, with medals awarded for your speed in reaching the objective. Retry is available at any point within a stage, so if you botch things very early on you don’t need to wait out the clock. The game maintains a good pace, due in large part to the ability to “fast forward” the speed of the game; very useful when you are just generating cash. In addition to the game’s story mode, Adventure features six free-form scenarios that allow you to stretch your skills outside the confines of the story’s objectives. For example, the sandbox scenarios just task you with keeping up with visitor demand – or not – as you build as you please.
The touch controls are very fluid, and you can navigate around the space station by dragging or even keep it in rotation with a flick on the screen. The game feels pretty slick, even if it doesn’t always look it. The 2D characters are bright and sharp-looking, and I like the jaunty swing tunes. It’s not going to win an award in the graphics department, but you’re not playing this game for graphics.
A lighthearted tycoon game, Kaloki Adventure is a great addition to the iPhone library. Fans of the XBLA title will find the gem just as engaging in its portable form, as slick controls and a streamlined interface combine for a whimsical bout of strategy. Until the 29th of May you can have the game at a dollar off of its regular price of $2.99.