MyTown 2 on iOS: A less social CityVille that hits closer to hometown

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MyTown 2 screen shotMyTown 2, at first glance, is just another city builder. But give Nightclub City maker Booyah your time, and you'll soon realize that this location-based iPhone and iPad game has more to it than simply building a town. The game's title hits it right on the nose: You are essentially rebuilding your own neighborhood in MyTown 2 with representations of real-life spots around you. It's a novel concept, but somewhat flawed due to the limitations of location-based services and how MyTown 2 works (or doesn't work) around those limitations.

If you've played CityVille either on the web or through CityVille Hometown, you already know the basics of MyTown 2. Players build houses, community buildings and businesses to increase population and thus the profitability of said businesses. You'll earn experience and coins for nearly every action, and use those resources to gain access to new types of buildings, decorations and to expand the boundaries of your town.

But where MyTown 2 separates itself is its approach to businesses. Every shop in your town must be attached to a business in the real world that's within a few hundred yards of you. This is done through the iPhone's location capabilities, and fairly accurately. MyTown 2 recognizes businesses around you, and represents them in the game according to the service they provide. For instance, bring, say, Dattilo's Delicatessen into MyTown 2. The game will most likely know that it is a restaurant and, when placed the deli in your little digital town, it will actually look like a deli.
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However, the game has also mistaken bakeries for coffee shops and bike shops for retail outlets, but that's a minor issue compared to others. These businesses are your biggest cash cows, and you can set them to work for various amounts of time--the game will provide push notifications for when work shifts are through. As you continue to set-and-forget businesses for work, they'll level up, provide more coins and unlock remodeling options that change their looks. Most importantly, you can "check in" to any business within a few hundred yards of you. At this point, think Foursquare meets CityVille.

You can check into more business at a time as you level up, and checking into those that exist in your town will provide big bonuses like increased earnings and work speed. Checking into nearby businesses just for kicks will grant experience points and other bonuses like "First", or the first to check into a given nearby shop. MyTown 2, which is guides players largely through goals, creates a sense of home that other mobile social games might strive to achieve. But an idea as ambitious as this is not without its flaws.
MyTown 2 gameplay
For one, you do not have to be even relatively close to a business to check in and gain its bonuses. Frankly, you could play the entire game from the comfort of your bed (an agoraphobe's dream!). Aren't location-based games supposed to inspire players to explore, perhaps even leave their comfort zone and experience something new? Secondly, the game lacks the social features you'd expect (like Facebook Connect). Even with achievements to share through Game Center integration and Twitter support, thanks to iOS 5, it sure feels lonely for a game so focused on the world around you.

That said, MyTown 2 is a refreshingly smooth experience (once you get past the lengthy initial load time) with an adorable art style and accurate touch controls. The game does some things stunningly well, like allow you to create your own version of your neighborhood and make it thrive. However, for a game that touts location-based gameplay from a developer best known for social games like Nightclub City, MyTown 2 can feel quite isolated after you notice that it can essentially be played from your bedroom Though, the game is free to play, and we're sure Booyah will update the game plenty. So, why not give it a try, if only to see the potential of location-based mobile gaming?

Click here to download MyTown 2 on the App Store for Free Now >

Have you played the original MyTown before? Are you a fan of location-based mobile games and services? Which are your favorites? Share with us in the comments. Add Comment.
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