We think we might have a problem. Each time we boot up a game by Kairosoft, all plans for the rest of the day are completely derailed. Oh! Edo Towns is no exception, a village-building simulator whose cute veneer will ensnare you in a dizzying spiral of helpless addiction. We're thinking of starting a support group.
How does it play?
Oh! Edo Towns bears a passing resemblance to Sim City, except that it's set in the historical Edo period of feudal Japan. You're given a domain to manage, and you build it up through the seasons by providing your residents with basic amenities like housing, shopping and work.
The residents initially specialise in farming, doing honest labour in the fields. But when provided with various amenities like schools, libraries and wholesalers, they grow in intellect and ambition (apologies to our readers in the farming community), and branch out into other careers like artist, merchant and warrior.
This diversity makes your domain more attractive, and entices more residents to move in, and pretty soon you have a complex eco-system that requires constant maintenance. Build castles. Develop artisan crafts. Put some stables over there, a magistrate's court over here. And don't forget the Buddhist shrine, place that next to the cherry tree orchard.
Of course, it's not as simple as plonking down one building after another on a grid. Context plays a part, so if you put together three complimentary structures a special combo power-up is activated to enhance your earnings. One example is placing a pub, a snack cart and a tree alongside each other to activate the "hangover" combo. What the tree has to do with it, your guess is as good as ours.
Why do we like it?
Watch with wonder as your chicken-feed village develops into a town, then a bustling city, then a province, and we defy you to not feel enormously proud of your achievement.
The mechanics are finely-tuned, and a system of menus is clearly laid out so that players are not inundated with information and options. End of year reports even show you how you've been doing, breaking down earnings and outgoings into tasty, bite-sized statistical chunks. It's a crash-course in environmental planning, and basic economics, and perhaps even social policy... and it's fantastic fun.
Kairosoft have released some of the finest games for iOS and Android currently available. If you enjoy playing Oh! Edo Towns, then we recommend you check out other titles like Game Dev Story and Mega Mall Story, equally well-made and equally addictive. And let us know in the comments if you want to sign up for that support group.
Oh! Edo Towns is available now for £2.49 on the App Store