The play store is no stranger to apps that incorporate real world elements. Niantic’s Ingress set the tone in 2012 with its sci-fi style location based gameplay, which later formed the base of the worldwide sensation Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go proved that with the right formula, location based gameplay can engage users for longer and nurture emotional (and even financial) investment in the game.
So on the topic of investment, let me introduce Landlord to you. Landlord lets you purchase a fictional ‘stake’ in businesses and landmarks in your area, which will then return rent daily.
From humble beginnings a month or so ago, my ’empire’ is now valued at $13,000,000. I’ve managed to scoop up 100% of the Chippy by my house, 50% of my childhood primary school, and even a bit of Mumbai that I snapped up from the global marketplace. I’ve also invested in most of my local bus stops, for some obscure reason.
I’m just a sucka for
And obscure it is; you don’t own any of the actual property of course, and at first it seems rather pointless. Maybe, maybe not. The location based backbone of Landlord lets you stake your claim in places not only close to you, but perhaps important to you. I haven’t set foot in my primary school since… well, since primary school; but owning a bit of it in a game is oddly fun.
Landlord is supported all over the globe, which only adds to the brilliance of the whole thing. I was in a bit of a bind recently, and was forced to give up 5% of my fully owned Costa Coffee to a wealthy foreign investor on the marketplace. The mechanics of the marketplace itself are a little skewed, with users having to cough up 5 coins (the inevitable premium currency) just to make an offer on some property. It will also set you back 5 coins to list your own property on there, which is just downright inconvenient.
So, where do you get these magical coins? Take a guess. You can pick up coins in the store for real life currency, or watch a video to receive 1 single coin. You also receive a few bonus coins every level (level up by earning more cash!). I shouldn’t bash micro-transactions like this, the game couldn’t be ‘free’ without them, but when so many things require coins, it can get a bit irritating. For example, you start the game with 10 property slots, but these soon get filled up, and an upgrade is required in order to purchase more property. Similarly, buying property requires ‘paperwork’ to be finished (essentially a timer), which can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours depending on the property. You can buy more lawyers for coins, opening up the door to buy multiple properties simultaneously.
Another moan that has to be had is the location element. As it is powered by FourSquare, and most places have hundreds of properties held together in a cluster, the list of properties available to buy can be sometimes inconsistent. I’ve been sat in the exact same spot on different days and been shown entirely different lists.
Landlord has it’s issues, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t addictive as hell. I can literally write 2 paragraphs of whinge and dive straight back into how good it is. It’s really, really good. You will be surprised how happy virtual property can make you. And the level curve (at least so far) seems very balanced. The climb from $20k a day to $200k a day happens far quicker than you’d expect, and it doesn’t take long to start picking up 100% stakes.
All told, you should definitely give Landlord a try – I can only ramble mindlessly for so long; to get the real experience, go download it!
|I liked||I didn't like|
|When the game gets competitive between big local players||Bidding on property costs coins, making an offer costs coins, listing on the marketplace costs coins|
|Super lightweight app that is low on battery use||Foursquare backend can sometimes be unpredictable|
|Localised objectives keep you coming back for more||When you own 95% of something and someone swoops in and buys the final 5% you were saving for|
|Local leaderboards result in you and your friends fighting to be top||Only receiving 1 coin per video watched when some upgrades can cost hundreds of coins|