Tiny Tower Vegas is a cash grab (update)

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tiny tower vegas
I like NimbleBit. I appreciate that the developer makes free-to-play iOS and Android games that you can (normally) actually enjoy for free. Which is why I was excited about Tiny Tower Vegas. Disco Zoo had me obsessed, I played Star Wars: Tiny Death Star for weeks, even though I’ve never seen a movie or played a game in that series. Which is why I’m heartbroken over Tiny Tower Vegas.

The gameplay is the same as the original Tiny Tower and Tiny Death Star. Players run a tower in Las Vegas, adding floors with new rooms or facilities. The problem is that this is the first NimbleBit game that’s actively checking your pockets. Everything costs money. And not manageable fees which gradually scale as someone plays the game. Floors right away are 10,000 gold, and you start with 30,000. Hiring a person to work on a floor costs you 1,000 gold. Those prices are only initial costs too, and go up depending on tower growth and employee expertise. Restocking costs money too. Also, I wasn’t being given options to pick what each floor would be. No, Tiny Tower Vegas decided for me.

But the most aggregious move has to be the number of items that now cost “real” cash. Every upgrade now costs real cash. The initial elevator is painfully slow. Pay 200 Bux to upgrade it! Want to upgrade a commercial floor so it isn’t running out of stock in a matter of minutes? You’ll need some Bux for that. Cosmetic changes all cost Bux too. While previous games typically offered some kind of choice, so players could pay immediately to get something or play to earn it, Tiny Tower Vegas doesn’t.

So you don’t want to buy Bux? Well, then you can take your chances with Chips! Chips are doled out for completing missions or for watching advertisements. If you have a casino floor, you can then play a mini-game that lets you try and earn Bux. Since I had Patty’s Slots, I could play a St. Patty’s slot machine that usually just doled out 10 to 50 Bux at a time. Spoiler alert – you can’t do much with that kind of cash. I played over the entire, three day, Labor Day weekend, and ended up only “earning” a total of about 900 Bux. After all this time, my tower, my tower is still only earning about 50 coins per minute, because I refuse to invest real money into this venture.

NimbleBit got greedy with Tiny Tower Vegas. We all know Las Vegas is a money pit and most people leave with less money than they came in with, but that doesn’t mean games set in that city have to be just as money-grubbing!


Since a number of comments have come in insinuating I’m playing Tiny Tower Vegas “wrong” or am mistaken, I’d like to address said issues.

Those of you who are commenting and playing Tiny Tower Vegas, reporting different experiences, sound like you’re playing it in a different way. That is, you’re taking it more seriously than I have. You’re regularly checking in on your tower, restocking floors, and putting in as much effort as someone would a non-mobile game.

In NimbleBit’s previous games, one didn’t need to put forth so much money, at least initially, to build up a tower. Also, instances where Bux were needed didn’t require so many to succeed. Increments of money required to improve scaled into the game more easily in Tiny Tower and Tiny Death Star. As a result, people who played the games only when they had their smartphones on them, in short bursts throughout the day, were able to keep up and enjoy the game.

My opinion on Tiny Tower Vegas stemmed from playing it in a casual way. I was checking in 2-4 times a day, over a period of three days. Compared to my experiences with previous Tiny series installments, I noticed a difference and remarked on it.

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  • B

    I disagree with all of the points you’ve made. It’s not a cash grab at all and is completely enjoyable without spending any real money whatsoever. The basis of Vegas is the same as tiny tower, but the rest is different.
    Yes, the costs of building rise substantially. But that encourages you to upgrade your floors. Bux are not useless, they are quite valuable. There are several ways to get bux, but my personal recommendation is to bet more than one chip when playing a game that wins you bux. Several players enjoy Slots for maximum gain, but I prefer 21 – it is more predictable.
    A great feature included in Vegas is the Players Club. If you do not have the featured game, you can easily friend someone on the leaderboard and play their game. It takes a lot of chips to be top 30, so I’ve given up on that, but even if you participate and win once, you get 5 chips, and it refreshes every four days.
    Lastly, the cost system based on bitizen value. NimbleBit has actually been quite creative in this area. Hiring a bitizen to work in a shop costs whatever the total value of their skill set is, divided in half. You also save % of restocking fees, the higher the skill the better the savings. Even if a Bitizen has a “0” rating in their dream job, it is still better than a 9 non-dream job, because a dream job doubles the restocking quantity. Don’t let the 1,000 cost fool you – this is a lot in the beginning, but you will earn more by spending more to upgrade.
    The best way to level-up (without cheats) is to spend some time on the app, moving people on the elevator and completing missions. This is less redundant than Tiny Tower because each person delivered takes a minute of the restocking time of the floor, or books them into the suite. Don’t waste your bux stocking the hotel, though. It is better to upgrade your floors so they stay stocked longer, thus letting you spend more time away from the app.
    Lastly, visiting the tower once a day will earn you tons of free bux and a few free chips. I’m on day 26 and I received 130 bux and 2 chips.
    All in all, an enjoyable app that doesn’t take much time and is fun to play.

  • C

    I also completely disagree. I spent 8 hours playing the game and am up to over 100 coins per minute. And I have earned somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 bux myself. I have not spent a dime of my own money and do not intend to. You can easily make amount of coins necessary to build up if you’re checking the game on a semi regular basis. This article is simply the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand the game or just doesn’t like it for personal reasons. The content in the article is false.

  • MetroWind

    “my tower is still only earning about 50 coins per minute”??

    I played 2 hours and my tower is earning 100 coins per minute. Either you suck at really simple games or you are lying; and either way, it’s stupid/wrong to write about it and even make a point out of it.

  • Julie

    You must not know how to play the game. And if the picture up there is a screen grab from the game you’re playing, I’m absolutely correct. Not once in the 3 days that I’ve been playing have I been asked to pay real cash for anything, so therefore the game is not a cash grab. I’ve earned thousands of bux in 3 days by playing slots and by making sure I have more than one employee on each floor, I’m earning enough coins to build at least one new floor a day. It’s been 3 days, I have 10 floors all earning their top potential. Your article is misinformed so stop whining.

  • Kadison

    I love the game too. XD

  • keiko

    I also have to disagree. I’ve been playing this game for five days now, and have not spent any actual money; I’ve accumulated collectively over 6000 bux just by playing the casino games and saving. I’ve reached up to 300 coins a minute and 12 floors. I’ve even been able to upgrade my elevator’s speed a few times.

    I do agree that the prices for this game are much higher than their other games, but still not to the point where you MUST spend real money to advance.

    I’ve paid real money for Nimblebit’s Pocket Trains a few times in order to finish some of the daily quests, but I’ve played so many of their games for free that I don’t mind spending once in awhile. Overall, while the prices are higher for things, I still think that their in-game pricing system is fair, and not a cash grab.

  • Chris

    I think the problem is you just don’t understand the mechanics of the game and would rather write this whiny article than actually playing. I have spent no money on chips or bux in the approximate 24 hours that I’ve had the game. I have earned around 3,000 bux just playing slots and already have 10 floors. Yes, floors cost more as you go because you make coins quite significantly faster. You’ve made a fool of yourself since you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • QL91

    The moron that wrote this article obviously doesn’t know how to play the game. I played the original Tiny Tower and built every single floor available without spending a single penny and I enjoyed the hell out of the game. Tiny Tower Vegas is even better in the sense that you can make bux way more easily than in the original version. This a game that develops over time. You can’t play the game for 3 days and expect to have built the entire tower in that time. It takes months of regular play to get there, and we Tiny Tower fans enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction that comes with earning from playing over time. It’s such a shame that any idiot can write an article that is totally erroneous and it makes it to the first page on Google when you type in Tiny Tower. Shame on you Jenni Lada.

  • aidan

    I thought it was pretty fun. I ended up earning almost 5, 000 bux and reaching the 7th floor on the day that I bought it. And I didnt even spend any real money! (Note: I had fishing slots as my first casino, so that might have helped in some way.)

  • Mike

    There is no way this can be right. I was making 216/hour after one day of play and I haven’t spent a dime on this game. This game is a big improvement over the previous tower games (which I also liked) because of the casino floors. On that point I hope they add roulette and a simplified version of craps in future updates. Right now it is just slots, poker and 21. The characters and writing have improved too. To Nimblebit, if I may quote Art Major (one of the characters), “Good job, as always’

  • andre

    i startex playing tiny tower vegas 3 days ago and my tower earn 300 coi per minute. i havent spent a single dime but im considering to spend a little to buy chips.

    i just checked the game 4-5 times a day for 10 minutes each.
    To restock, just use lobby manager to quickly stock it for you.

    and earning bux is easy, with 20 chips, i can get 500-1000 bux just by playing slot machine.

  • Roxie

    This is what I’m wondering about: How does Jenni Lada write for a site called “Technology Tell” and is this stupid when it comes to playing a very simple game? I think she made up her mind–this game sucks–and wrote this waste of space around that judgment. She didn’t really play the game, didn’t earn much of any of the three currencies, and decided to whine about that. She doesn’t even know what a “cash grab” is. She must not have played games that aren’t shy about twisting players’ arms right out of their sockets to get money, like Crowdstar’s “Covet,” which is technically free-to-play but requires spending some real cash to get anywhere useful within the game.

    • Jenni Lada

      Hi Roxie,

      As someone who has played plenty of games that eye players’ wallets, from companies like Glu Mobile and Crowdstar, I know a game that is targeting players in the hopes of tapping into their wallets. If you had read this article, you would have seen that I compared my experiences here to the ones I had with previous Nimble Bit games – Tiny Tower and Tiny Death Star. I enjoy this company’s games, and previously applauded the fact that they could be 100% enjoyed without paying. Previous games offered multiple options to pay for upgrades (with in-game cash or real money). This one doesn’t.

      Everybody is different. People enjoy different kinds of games and have different experiences. When I do articles on Android or iOS games, I try to assess it with a certain mindset. That is, someone who isn’t going to be playing for a half hour at a time, and compulsively checking in every 10-15 minutes to ensure optimum performance of in-game shops. I checked it 6 times throughout the day for the period of time I played, which even then was more than the average, casual player. This article was based on that experience, and the assessment that if someone is going to only open the app about 2-6 times per day, they’re going to have to actually pay real cash this time to make progress.

      If you don’t mind my asking, how often do you check in to Tiny Tower Vegas? How many times per day do you attend to your tower, and how long is each visit? Because, I have multiple writing jobs, family, friends, and other, more time intensive games, which demand my constant attention. So when I play a mobile game, I don’t approach it the same way I do a 3DS, Vita, PC, PS3, PS4, or Wii U game.

  • Jill

    This review is so blatantly incorrect that it really should be taken down. Clearly this person was in a rush to get a review out and did not spend any time with the game. I am a casual player and have never been tempted to spend a dime. I check a few times per day and I am making good progress. The casino games are a fun time waster and earn you enough bucks to restock all the floors at once, making it easy to progress. So what the heck…

    • Jenni Lada

      This isn’t a review. All reviews on the Technology Tell channel have “review” in the title. This was an opinion piece discussing what was experienced the first few days of playing Tiny Tower Vegas, and how the experience here differed with the ones offered with the original Tiny Tower and Tiny Death Star.

  • Jill

    Whatever. It is still a wildly inaccurate and unfair representation of the game. It’s one thing to say “i didn’t like it” and quite another to call it a cash grab, when the game NEVER prompts you to pay real money for anything. I find it easier to progress than the original Tiny Tower, because it’s easy to collect chips which can be turned into “bux”, also quite easily.

    I think it’s unfair to Nimblebit, who actually produced a rather fun game that is easily played for free and never prompts for money. They are very generous with the “rewards” in this game.

    Think you should admit when you are wrong, it can happen to anyone once in a while.

    • Jenni Lada

      Is it though? Previous titles allowed for upgrades with in-game cash. And the upgrades that do appear here for, let’s say elevators, cost at least a few thousand Bux, with no in-game cash options. The mini-game slot machines people in the comments keep talking about typically pay out about 10 Bux at a time, if that. And you need chips to play the mini-games which give Bux. These come from occasional quests or by spending real cash for them.

      Compared to its other games, I don’t think its generous at all.

  • Aks

    Add me: 1NRGR

  • Tinytower411

    I agree they need to stick to updating the original tiny tower with more floors and people

  • paul

    atleast they give free discounts i earn 506 coins per min.

  • Lessa

    I’m also really disappointed in this game. I loved the original.

    I am so bored with Vegas that I only check it once a day, or less. I restock, then I just don’t care what happens. Sometimes when I check in I get a mission. They’re cute, but a lot of them only pay 2 chips.

    I was really excited when this came out, but now I’m just sad. The original had so much more to do. I moved people around to better jobs, I put them in costumes so they would be easier to find – and that’s something missing from Vegas.

    Hunting for characters made me more familiar with the floors and the characters. In the new game, I barely know what most of the floors are. And once I place and employee, I never look at them again.

  • Louisa

    Add me to the list of disappointed people. I loved the original Tiny Tower. It required strategy and allowed for creativity. This Vegas version is mindless and boring. It is nothing more than a vehicle for gambling – and wel know that gambling always favors the House. I spent the $15 to get started and my next floor costs almost 800,000 – about 100 hours of playing time. I don’t get having to pay for employees who fit the job but have no skills. And the BitBook entries are inane and annoying. It’s disheartening to see how greedy NimbleBit has become. As the saying goes: pigs get fed but hogs get slaughtered.

    • Reede

      You can turn bitbook notifications off in the in-game options

  • Mimi

    I love this game. It’s so simple and there’s some strategy. I have 32 floors and I’m making over 900 coins per minute. I don’t play endlessly every day. Just whenever I feel like it I pick it up. It’s quite amusing once you understand how it all works.

  • Jo

    I totally disagree with your point of view as well. If you’ve never realised, you get an increased amount of Bux per day. For example, if you visit the game for 100 subsequent days, the amount of Bux you get is 100 divided by 2, multiplied by 10. So you get 500 Bux. If you think of it, you could “FULLY STOCK” your tower every day at least once, since the price of the full stock increases as your tower gets higher, but it’s still enough Bux to get you going… ( well if you’re like the impatient me that’s lazy to wait for the stock to get in ). I’m on Day 93 now and I receive 465 Bux today, and 470 tomorrow. I earn 612 coins / min and it only takes me 10 re-stocks to build another tower, I find that reasonable enough. The game chooses the floors for you, yes, because it balances out the categories for you, instead of you spending time choosing and in the end having a shortage of well, retail stores per say. If you’re not earning money it’s probably because you can’t bear to use your Bux for upgrading. You could maybe try my strats… I always upgrade my stores to L4 and suites to L3. It works for me. Maybe you’ll wanna give the game another go because every game has a strategy you have to draw out. Good Luck!

  • Dylan

    Is it just me that hits big on the casino floors? On my first day I had already got over 1,000 bux!

  • katherinecoble

    Simply because you play the game half-heartedly doesn’t make it a “cash grab”.

    Upgrading the floors does NOT require real money in the least. It requires Bux, one of the three in-game currencies you can earn by playing. You’ve made an outright misrepresentation.

    As to your “update”, remarking on a difference is one thing. Calling the game a cash-grab is a really harsh accusation that goes WELL beyond “[noticing] a difference and remark[ing] upon it.”

  • fluxeine

    Add me,NMV9