Far too many Tycoon style games revolve around trying to strike a fine balance between income and expenditure - tweaking of settings such as production cost and retail pricing. Whilst this can be enjoyable up to a point, it often proves mind-numbing because it ends up being more of a Mensa challenge than an enjoyable game.


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Fortunately Tycoon City: New York takes a different slant on the genre by focussing more on the creative side of things by building up New York City, either in a free-play style Sandbox mode or a more structured and challenging "Build New York" where you have to progress through each stage to unlock more of the city.

Both modes offer a slightly different take on the overall gameplay, with the sandbox allowing you to get on with what you want when you want, but still facing the restrictions of cash flow whilst trying to attract enough customers to your businesses so as you can afford to build more properties and upgrade them to increase their desirability.


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The story based Build New York mode however gives you Greenwich Village as the starting district and you're faced with a number of achievements which have to be met during your development of the area, such as increasing the population to a certain number, having enough nightlife or shopping facilities for the residents, and developing a section of the district ahead of the annual Halloween parade.

Throughout this mode you'll get cut-scenes with people from the city telling you what they want from their district - it's all fairly cheesy acting, with some overly stereotypical people making their appearances, but it all adds to the charm of the game and provides some vital information, especially if you're not sure how each of the twelve districts differ from each other.


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Further cutscenes happen at various stages throughout your progression with Darlene Delaney from TC News 24 reporting live from events, such as the Thanks Giving Day parade through Midtown, and the New Year celebrations at Times Square.

Buildings can be placed down on the city landscape simply by clicking a spare piece of land and selecting what you're after from the clickable menus, ranging from student houses to hotels, cheap clothes stores to chocolate shops and record megastores, office blocks, high-rise apartments, nightclubs, skateboard parks and an outdoor climbing wall centre.


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Once a building is placed you're tasked with upgrading it, by adding more facilities such as an ATM or drink vending machine, improving the look of the premises with beautification by adding hanging baskets, trees and potted plants, and giving your business a bigger "sphere of influence" which makes people in a larger area of the district aware of it's presence - shopfront signage, rooftop billboards and searchlights all adding to the awareness.

Extra capacity can also be added to some businesses such as restaurants where you can place tables and chairs outside, meaning you can have more people being served at any one time, and more money coming in to the business, rather than that of one of your rival Tycoons who is trying to emulate your success right across the city. Other ways to make the virtual citizens come to your shops includes putting a busker outside a record store, which makes the passers by dance and feel happy, and being happy makes them spend more money.


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Each of the districts are unique, be it the student lifestyle which is ever-present in Greenwich Village, to the relaxed "urban escape" of Central Park with its concerts, the lively China Town and expensive Chelsea with its sophisticated residents, designer shops and posh restaurants.

The atmosphere of each district seems to have been well captured - a constant stream of traffic fills the busy streets below your towering skyscrapers, with cars beeping their horn in a way that New York is famed for, and becoming all the more engaging as the sun sets and turns to night - it's a bit of a shame that there's no option in the build that we've been using to lock the diurnal cycle to "night" all of the time.


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In fact, time is one of the interesting aspects of Tycoon City: New York, because each "month" in the game lasts one day/night cycle, and when played in standard speed it'll take around five hours to play a full year - giving you enough time to build and upgrade businesses, whilst also facing looming deadlines such as having an area meeting the satisfaction levels before your achivement is either passed or failed.

Even with our early preview build which we've been playing intensively for the past few weeks, it's very clear to see that there's an absolute gem of a game in development by Deep Red, and it'll be interesting to see what further additions make the final game when it's released on the PC later this month.

You can download a demo based on an early version of the game from the official website, and Tycoon City: New York is available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk now.

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Interview: Tycoon City: New York
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