Creating and running a store of some sort is not a new style of game on Facebook, but we keep seeing successful iterations on the concept, from Restaurant City and Café World to Medical Mayhem, Happy Hotel and Hotel City . There are many other examples. But a quality new one we’ve been watching is Mall World.
The idea, of course, is to make and run your own store in a virtual mall, and it is heavily skewed towards women (you can’t even make a male avatar).
The mysterious developer is named 50 Cubes, and although the company is not providing information about itself on its web site or anywhere else, we can tell that it is distributed on Facebook by publisher 6 Waves. With good effect, apparently, as the small new app has started growing fast, making our list of top gainers by daily active users earlier today.
So, here’s a closer look.
Players create an avatar and step into a virtual mall containing a number of small boutiques to visit, which appear to be run by other players. Users can pick a shop, then try on and buy any number of tops, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes, and bags and buy them with the in-game currency, Mall Dollars. Of course, this is a bit dull in the grand scheme of things, and will eventually bore even the most avid shoppers.
Thankfully, Mall World tasks users with the main goal of opening and running your very own boutique. Essentially, this is your own virtual space, which you decorate with shelving, lighting, wallpaper, and so on in a sort of 2D, Pet Society kind of way. However, this is more than just a virtual space, it is a virtual business.
You see, players have to actually stock their store with clothing by ordering it from a catalog — an appointment gaming feature that can take anywhere from 60 seconds to a couple hours, if not more. Then, they put the merchandise on the shelves. Once your store is stocked, your friends and other random Mall World players will be able to visit your store and buy clothes from you. You can then use that money and invest it into your own wardrobe, or turn around and buy more stock. What makes this even more interesting, however, is that as you do pretty much anything in the game, you gain experience, thus earning new levels and unlocking new designer sets of clothing. This can also grant lower level friends access to buy and wear clothing they could otherwise not receive without extensive shopping in other random players’ stores.
There is also a wonderful mini-game called the “Dressing Room Game.” Basically, players are given a random item such as a purse and have 30 seconds to pick out shoes, pants, tops, etc. that best match that item. The better the match is, the higher the happiness of the customer (represented by a vertical bar). This factor is then combined with the time it took to pick everything out, and a chunk of money and experience is rewarded to the player. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be any limit to how many times you can play. Normally, this might be a bad thing, as it would provide an infinite supply of money but even at the maximum score it’s only around 100 Mall Dollars, and surely our avid mall shoppers could understand just how expensive designer clothing can be. Obviously, this means that you had better run a good business if you want to get the best clothing in any reasonable amount of time.
Another very cool feature is that while you are within your own store, your Facebook friends will come and randomly visit. Well, the female friends visit anyway. You won’t see any of your guy friends walk on the screen unless they take the form of a female avatar as it is not possible to even create a male character.
Anyway, when friends visit you can actually click on them and create “a look” for them. You get to change their hair, makeup, shoes, clothing, etc. and send them the ensemble, along with a personal message, to them for their approval. This then goes into a little archive called “My Look Book,” which saves all of the looks your friends have created for you.
As it stands, Mall World is sitting pretty at just over 400,000 monthly active users and 131,000 DAU — with half of that number appearing in less than three days. It’s no wonder why, though, as this really is a beautifully designed game that truly nails down an appeal for its target audience. In fact, chances are you’ve already named off a handful of people that would love this sort of thing. Frankly, in a realm that mostly sees only new iterations on old ideas, it is refreshing to see something that feels so different, and we can only hope to see more like this app in the future.