For one reason or another, lots of people has at least thought about opening a bar at some point in their life. The nightlife is an alluring one, and a fairly new app from Cross Coast Interactive is attempting to give players the tools to do just that with the Facebook game, Build-A-Bar.
If you haven’t figured it out by the name, your objective is to build the biggest and best bar in the country. Players start out with a fairly run-down “Dive Bar” and work their way up the ladder to a Las Vegas or European “Super Club.” In theory, this sounds like a fantastic idea. The game is advertised as being able to customize a personal space with money earned from other visiting players. In a manner of speaking, yes, players can customize their own bar entrance, dance floor/interior, and the bathrooms. However, this really only consists of uploading a new picture from your hard drive…. Not exactly the most creative means to build a virtual space.
This isn‘t to say that the upload element is “bad,” but it is easily the biggest disappointment within Build-A-Bar. In the past, something along these lines would be interesting, but with virtual spaces evolving to the level of games like Restaurant City — where you design every detail of your own virtual restaurant — there is a lot to be desired from this app.
Customization notwithstanding, the game does have some decent ideas including a list of playable music, purchasable drinks and items to increase bar revenue (cover fees), user comments on the bathroom wall (of all places), and even an alcohol meter feature to measure virtual drinking levels that is similar to older games like Pass A Drink (though you buy the drinks yourself rather than send them to friends). Players can even throw a party within their virtual bar, but unfortunately, and once again, the feature is left wanting. Throwing a party really only seems to consist of sending out fancy looking invitations to friends and doesn’t do much but earn a few extra dollars for your bar. Party King makes for a much better example of this idea. That game has a complex, realistic way of modeling parties: Y0u need to gain a great reputation to attract more people, then have to deal with upgrade costs to accommodate the growth.
Frankly, Build-A-Bar has a lot of good ideas, it’s just that they aren’t quite executed too well. Virtual spaces are an excellent means to express oneself and can have an extensive lifespan when it comes to replayability, but while this particular app advertises such, the real customization just isn’t there. Could Build-A-Bar become something great? Absolutely, but in its current state, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to take the same idea and rebuild it from scratch.