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I have an odd fascination with parking lot designs, and the screenshots for Tiny Auto Shop, an Android App, immediately caught my attention. The description calling it a time management game was a theme that I especially enjoy. And since it's a free app download, I decided to give it a shot.
From the first look, the developers at Tapps Games have done an amazing job with the graphics and the overall simplicity of the game. The gameplay is very easy to learn and does not take a lot of upfront learning. The tutorial take no more than a few minutes, which is to be applauded. I'm sick and tired of game app tutorials that walk you through days and days worth of features. Then to make it worse, I end up deleting the game a few days later.
Unfortunately, it only took 10-15 minutes of playing Tiny Auto Shop for me to determine it was not the game for me. I got as far as 6 or 7 days (in the game). In that time, I was able to build a mechanic shop, a second gas station, two car washes, and a gift shop before the following became apparent:
- Progressing in the game would either require a lot of repetition to earn coins or in-app purchases of coins.
- There wasn't that much strategy or thinking. Tiny Auto Shop forces me to direct the car through a certain order despite other available options that would be faster. An example is if multiple cars need gas, mechanics help, and a car wash, they all are forced to get gas before they can get help from an available mechanic. This creates an inefficient bottleneck and negates any time management factor.
- Due to the bottleneck, it's impossible to keep customers happy without either purchasing more which requires more coins. But even if the previous days were played perfectly, I don't have close to enough coins to make the necessary purchases to keep up.
That being said, game developers who offer free games do so with the aim at making money. I get it, but this game just didn't hit the right stride for my taste.