GGF#69: Vacation Mogul HD (iPad)

Gamer Girl Friday

I thought the last six iPad games I bought were going to keep me happy at least a month or so.

I still haven’t completed all of them and I still enjoy them. But App Store always manages to sneakily get into my line of sight. Seriously!

And App Store is to an iPad gamer what a candy store is to a kid. You want everything. You can’t have too many of everything.

That’s how I ended up with 24 games on my iPad at last count. (5 iPhone imports, 8 free/trial games, 11 bought.)

I want to talk about Vacation Mogul today and I’m quite long-winded about it so there will be two GGFs this week so I can cover more games.

Yay.

Vacation Mogul HD (US$6.99)

Vacation Mogul HD

This was actually an accident. I was browsing iTunes when I acidentally bought Vacation Mogul for iPhone (US$2.99). I had just wanted to read the product description but clicked on the buy button, instead.

And the worse thing was that, a minute prior to that, I had thought to myself, “It’s so easy to accidentally buy apps in iTunes. Based on Murphy’s Law, it’s probably gonna happen to me one day.”

Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy.

(In iTunes, when you click on the price tag, it’s an instant purchase since they’ve got all your credit card details already. There’s no warning: “You’re buying this game. Accept? Decline?”

I mean, I like that cos it’s very convenient but it sure is risky for dodos like me.)

The good news is that the accident was a happy one. Vacation Mogul is so fun that, after doing the first few tutorial missions, I went and bought the iPad version.

Vacation Mogul HD

Because of my doofusness, I ended up playing through the tutorial missions four times (that’s 20 missions in total).

First time was on the iPhone. It was fun, so I decided to see how it would feel on the iPad’s bigger screen, although I had to put up with slightly blurry graphics from the stretch.

Then I decided to download the free iPad version to compare the difference. That’s a third playthrough. The gameplay is still the same but HD graphics just can’t be beat. It really enhances gaming experience (for me, anyway).

That’s when I impulsively put down another US$6.99 for a game I already own which I had accidentally bought in the first place.

Since there’s no data porting between the free and paid version, I had to play the tute missions a fourth time.

Fortunately, the game is fun enough for that not to be a huge chore.

Vacation Mogul HD

Vacation Mogul combines fun simulation gameplay with an interesting plot.

You inherit five islands from your recently-deceased uncle and are tasked to make thriving resorts out of them. Then, something happens to make you suspect that your uncle was murdered. So, in between being a future resort tycoon, you have to investigate your uncles’s death.

The game is mission-based, where you get a different goal to accomplish each level. Complete it faster to earn more money and experience points.

Vacation Mogul HD

Experience points are needed to make blueprints for new resort amenities (to attract more tourists), as well as game bonuses that help you do your missions better.

It’s really addictive. I mean, I’d rather be playing it now than writing this review but I’m sensible like that and know when it’s crucial to do the right thing, lol.

There are also fun little surprises along the way. One part of the plot leads to a hidden objects mini game. An easier one than a proper hidden objects game, but still cool. You’re allowed to skip this, though. It’s just for fun and doesn’t add to game progress.

If you have an iPad, I’d totally recommend the iPad version over the iPhone one. Both are mostly the same, but why squint your eyes when you can enjoy beautiful HD colours and feel assured that you won’t mispress anything on the iPhone’s tiny real esate?

The main difference between both versions (quite neglible if you’re not the fussy sort) is that you can see all five islands on one screen on the iPad. On the iPhone, you have to scroll through them one by one. Not a big deal.

Vacation Mogul HD

Likewise, on the research page where you buy new blueprints and bonuses, you can see the whole list on the iPad but only scrollable sections on the iPhone. This is slightly more important because you want to see at once what blueprints get unlocked next.

iPad:

Vacation Mogul HD

iPhone:

Vacation Mogul HD

The missions themselves are the same. No scrolling required. And that’s the crucial part. But it does help when it’s on a bigger screen. It always does.

There’s a free version for the iPad which you can download to try. I think you can play through the entire game on it (although I can’t be too sure cos I only played one main island before getting the paid version).

The catch is that a pop-up message will interrupt you after every mission to persuade you to buy the game so you can get rid of the annoying message.

Anyway, I’m not writing a full review of this game because it’s already been out for months. Just wanted to talk about it because I’m quite pleased that an accidental purchase became a pleasant surprise.

Will introduce more iPad games tomorrow!

The missing photo and the lonely iPad

Today, I will show you a picture of me pretending to use a Macbook.

Sheylara pretending to use a Macbook

I took this picture for Star Blog, actually. We were asked to photograph ourselves with our favourite gadgets.

But this photo didn’t appear in my entry. I think there’s something strange in the neighbourhood. See, the SOP is for us to write our entries on MS Word, then e-mail them to our editor, after which the team will publish them for us. (Our entries are unedited and published verbatim.)

I sometimes like to end my posts with a photo. For a while now, I’ve noticed that my last photos never make it to publication, although I never bothered to tell anyone because it’s, like, not really a big deal. It’s just one photo.

This week, I decided to end my blog with one sentence after the last photo just to experiment. And STILL the last photo didn’t appear, although my last sentence did. But you can see a space where the photo is supposed to be.

Click here to see what I mean.

See the space at the end?

That tells me that they’re not deliberately axing my last photos. It must be some kind of programming or data entry bug or something.

Any guesses?

Sheylara and her iPhone

On a side note, there was this incident once when I talked on two phones at once, looking rather idiotic as I did so. I was going to blog about it but then this week’s Star Blog topic was quite relevant, so I told my story there, instead.

I’m becoming quite the Apple fan. To think I used to get annoyed when Apple fanboys acted all crazy over Apple products. I can totally understand why now. It’s something you can appreciate only after being a user yourself.

So, I have ordered my iPhone 4 and iPad. The worldwide shortage irritates me much. Does Apple do this on purpose to increase the hype and fanaticism? I was going to wait till the stampede dies down and there are actually stocks in the stores before I buy them. But it seems my impulse got the better of me this week.

I am expecting to receive my iPhone 4 and iPad in the third week of August, when I will be away in China. BRILLIANT, YES? I didn’t in fact realise it until the Goonfather pointed it out to me.

“I’m getting my iPad on August 20!!”

“Aren’t you going to be in China then?”

“Argh!”

We’re planning yet another China trip from August 17 till August 23. So, the 20th is smack in the middle of our trip.

HOW AM I TO ENJOY THE REST OF MY TRIP KNOWING THAT MY IPAD IS SITTING IN A BOX AT HOME WAITING FOR ME AND FEELING NEGLECTED AND LONELY?

Separated

It’s times like this when I feel like tearing my hair out and burying myself in the ground. Although that would technically be quite painful so I only do it in my imagination where it’s safer.

Okay, I’m done rambling about virtually nothing. I must bugger off and do some real work now.

I’ll leave you with this link again to my Star Blog entry. It’s also Star Blog chat day today (technically tonight) so see you there at 9 pm!