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June 13, 2013 / carlispina

Take Over An Australian Town With Run That Town

Run That TownHave you ever wanted to control a town? Now is your chance! The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released a new free app that takes real data from the 2011 census and uses it to offer an extremely engaging town management simulation. Called Run That Town, the app lets users select any Australian town they would like by inputing the town’s postcode. For those of us who are not as familiar with Australian towns, there is an option to have a random town selected for you.

Once you have selected a town, you are tasked with running it.  When you start, you are presented with a helpful tutorial that gives a quick, useful, and graphical introduction to the game mechanics. These instructions give you all the information needed to get started managing your town. When the game first starts, you will be offered several different proposals. For each proposal, you have information about the public view of the proposed project including quotations and demographic information about supporters and detractors. You can opt to approve or reject any proposal, but you can’t just wait forever either, as each proposal has a deadline after which it is no longer available. Choosing to undertake proposals will cost both money and clout points and, while you do earn more of each of these as time passes in the game, you can easily run out of both if you don’t manage them carefully. When you choose to approve a proposal, the construction will start immediately, but completion of the project will take time. A separate section of the app presents newspaper articles about your successes and failures, with articles appearing each time a project is completed and as other random events or “incidents” occur. These articles can also signal your gains and losses in popularity. While you start at 50% approval, you will find that this level fluctuates over time, proving that you can’t make everyone happy.

In playing the game, I have found that it generally starts off fairly easily but it slowly becomes more difficult to maintain your popularity. While you can’t change the difficulty level of the game, you can change the speed with which time advances, making the game more complicated. I was impressed with some of the details that this game got right. For example, when you are reading your headlines, the flow of time in the game pauses to level the playing field for slow readers. The game also offers cute achievements that you can unlock for both positive achievements (the “Worshipped” badge for over 80% popularity) and negative achievements (the “Ruin This Town” badge for letting 5 or more projects fall into disrepair). The game is accessible for young players and difficult enough to be fun for adults as well. Its animations and artwork are fun and I found that the app worked well throughout all the games I played. It is primarily designed for iPhones and, while it can be played on an iPad, it should be noted that the game does not resize and will remain the size of an iPhone screen.

Overall, I really like this game. It is a great way to bring census data to life and an impressive offering from a national Bureau of Statistics. I would highly recommend it for fans of Sim City or Parks and Recreation. Watch the video below to learn more about it:

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