App Review: Lemonade Tycoon for iPhone

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Free fun, thy name is Lemonade Tycoon. I downloaded EA Mobile’s free Lemonade Tycoon to my iPod touch yesterday and spent the better part of the afternoon creating my own beverage empire, one fresh squeezed glass at a time.

If you remember playing Lemonade Stand on your old Apple II back in elementary school, you’ll be right at home with this one. You start with a basic cart, a few dollars, and a dream. You’ll need to take daily weather conditions into account — you can sell more lemonade at higher prices on hot days — and to add a bit of depth to the game, you can set up your stand at various locales such as the suburbs, the park, the beach, the mall, the train station, the baseball stadium, and more. Each location costs a certain amount to rent for the day and you can spend some money on marketing in order to get people to come to your stand.

Each morning you’ll get a weather forecast and a daily news update like “Surfing Competition at the beach today!” or “Local park overrun by gangs of trouble-making teenagers,” which will help you decide where (or where not) to set up shop for the day. I found the baseball stadium to be by far the biggest cash cow, but it’s not cheap at $150 per day and you’ll need to have plenty of supplies on hand to cater to the massive crowd.

As you make more and more money, you can upgrade your stand, buy better equipment, hire staff, and so on. It took me about four hours of playing to max everything out, at which point the game becomes more of an exercise in tweaking your recipe and pricing structure in order to maximize profits. Still fun, yes, but it gets lonely at the top.

Free though it may be, Lemonade Tycoon is ad-supported so your game will be interrupted from time to time by interstitial ads for various iPhone apps, credit card offers, and the like. It’s annoying, yes, but the ads can quickly be skipped and, hey, free is free (or never truly free, for that matter).

Graphics are nice and playful with a three-quarters isometric view of the action. Sound and music are minimal, yet well-done and you can turn the in-game music off and listen to your own tunes while you play. There are two gameplay modes as well: 30-day Challenge, which entails building up your empire as quickly as possible and Career Mode, which is more of an open-ended structure that allows you to work your business as you see fit.

However you choose to play, Lemonade Tycoon is an excellent way to pass the time and is a must-download for anyone who’s got an iPhone or iPod touch and longs for the good old days of simple economic simulation games. It’s great fun, and the price is right.

Lemonade Tycoon [EA Mobile]

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