Pocket Academy: Recreate your dream school in this education management sim.
So far Android Games Review has covered a few of the Kairosoft sims, and all of them have had a good slant. Unfortunately, we’re not as rosy cheeked about this iPhone port. Check out what we thought below…
Gameplay: The style of this management sim is a bit like Dungeon Village, so you have an isometric view of the school and you put down buildings to improve the students. Each of your placements has an effect on something and brings about improvements. As with Kairosoft games there are a multitude of options and choices but this is seemingly more intuitive (especially compared to Dungeon Village).
The tutorial or guidance seems pretty short with this game but hints and suggestions are provided throughout. The key tip to remember is that the students are the life blood of the school and should be put first. Unfortunately, as well as useful messages, there are also misleading ones which send you into the red and make the school difficult to manage.
The overall aim is to keep the school open as a functioning business whilst educating your students to achieve their dream job.
Our inital thoughts: This game is realistic… in fact it’s too realistic. You must be patient and start this game off slowly. If you don’t go at a pedestrian pace, and instead go all guns blazing spending all your cash then you’ll just find yourself stuck with seemingly undesirable options. Overall it’s quite a tough sim where you have to sit through the academic terms doing very little to earn your money slowly. Every purchase and placement needs to be well thought out and draws on your experience… and what about those players who have no experience of what the buildings do? Well tough luck… you have to learn with your hard earned cash.
I think the average person would find Pocket Academy a boring game because it’s made so close to the truth. Your students are the core of the school but yet you’re not able to bring them in directly. You’re constantly out of money because your facilities and teachers are only just covered by your student fees. These points mean that you can’t spend your money casually, and therefore only the hardcore fans like me would be bothered about sitting through the drab periods in order to crack this puzzle.
Love is in the air: Back onto some more positive points… there’s always some sort of animation in Kairosoft games and the one that caught my eye the most was the courtship between students. Awwww…… I was already surprised to see that asking someone out was a special event, and doubly amazed that a girl asked a guy out (I’m quite traditional when it comes to these things). To further stump me, the guy rejected the girl (!?!?). Then he changed his mind a few minutes later to go back to her and ask her out… sadly, he’d missed his chance, and was firmly rejected three times afterwards! Muhaha…. so true… so true…
Music and Sound effects: Generally this has gentle fun music which is non intrusive and yet not annoying at the same time. Nothing iconic this time round, but it’s a difficult task to make something to fill a void and yet not invade on the game too much.
Graphics: The little people start to lose character when there aren’t ridiculous things thrown in. Perhaps the initial unhappiness of the game causes bad sentiment towards the pixelated people. They still have their same iconic look and cool style though.
Interface: Hmmm… bit of a disaster here. It’s always going to be complicated due to the nature of the game – you can’t get away from that. But for a statistics and knowledge game, it’s important to be able to see some simple things, like how is the school doing overally financially and academically? There should be one button to easily see that on a monthly and annual basis. Unfortunately many of the options I wanted were quite hidden away.
Teehee: The jokes here are very subtle in comparison to the other games in the pocket series. But I do like how the “dating spot” is composed of a tennis court, a library and the woods. *Ahem* these students are clearly very adventurous! The other slightly hidden joke is the fact that bus drivers and security people have a higher average salary than most people! Which… actually… sometimes it’s true on a per hour basis!
Rating: 2.5/5 Pocket Academy is an escape for students trying to live out their dream school. I don’t expect the average gamer to enjoy this game much, but the hardcore fans will always enjoy a good challenge. Although this one is slow to start, it’s a much more realistic puzzle which is more laborious than Dungeon Village.
Pocket Academy Tips from Android Games Review:
If you’ve played some of the game but you’re wondering why you’re stuck, try these tips:
- Focus on the students first. That means you need to give them special classes so that they are educated enough to pass the challenges. Although the challenge investment cost is more than the income increase for a single term, over time you’ll reap the rewards (especially when you finish all the challenges).
- Don’t bother with hiring too many teachers or levelling them up. Their influence is very subtle and you need them only to prevent negative press which may decrease you student numbers. Teachers are very expensive and cost a lot.
- Regular income is a huge problem throughout the game. To try and alleviate the pressure and increase a trickle of money in, try and put the farm animals and the plants somewhere easily accessible. In fact… try putting them in the very middle and have the hot spots around them. A large number of these plots can make add a lot to your regular income.
- Save your research points and money for the hot spots as they have the best effect on your school.
- Be careful with your placement of some of the seemingly useless things like wells. They must drink from wells and will hike up to wells… especially those in idyllic settings.
Here are a few things you probably want to know in advance:
- Your students will graduate and leave after completing their third year. It’s quite likely that your first batch would be the cleverest of the lot. So use them to pass as many high level challenges before they leave! (The challenges increase your income per student)
- When students leave they’ll give 3-5% of their income back to the school. So try and get them into high earning jobs before they leave. (Look only at the figures and not the titles, because Bus Drivers and Translators get paid lots!)