You've built theme parks, railroads, golf courses and zoos. But what about a casino? If you've ever dreamed of developing your own gambling mecca, Casino Mogul offers just such an opportunity. And while it's not particularly deep or complex, the game delivers what's expected by letting you to create and maintain a casino, all within a clean, intuitive interface.
For whatever reason, Casino Mogul is not titled "Casino Tycoon," but it might as well be since it follows the well-established structure of "tycoon"-style business simulations made popular by the likes of Rollercoaster Tycoon. In the Sandbox mode, you begin with some cash and an empty building in which to build your casino. The Challenge mode provides the opportunity to compete against rival casino owners or complete several predefined scenarios.
Using either an Asian theme or a Monte Carlo theme, you're able to design the look and feel of your casino by placing objects ranging from a lowly slot machine to a grand hotel for your gamblers to stay in. You also have to hire employees, take care of security and keep your patrons happy by creating entertainment, places to eat and resting spots. You can play with many variables from the price of poker machines to the color of the décor.
It might have been nice if it were possible to attempt to run a corrupt casino, get involved with the mob, or have to deal with government gaming officials, but Casino Mogul is not really designed to be a complex simulation. It's more about designing a nice-looking casino than having to keep up with intricate statistics or make difficult decisions. The only other shortcomings are small, hard-to-read text of the rollover help items, and the fact that the box also promises a Las Vegas theme that's nowhere to be found in the actual game.
The visuals might not compare to those of higher caliber titles, but for this type of budget-priced simulation game, they're quite impressive. There's a nice attention to detail in all areas of the graphics, from the ability to see spinning reels on individual slot machines to dealers handing out cards to players. You're able to view your casino from just about any possible perspective by rotating and zooming your view in the capable 3D engine. You can even see through the eyes of a person on the casino floor or peer through a security camera.
The soundtrack doesn't fare nearly as well. The jazzy music becomes grating almost immediately, but it can be turned off or lowered in volume. The sound effects are a good representation of a casino, which means it's very noisy, with lots of bells and clinking sounds. You'll probably want to turn these off eventually.
As with most "tycoon"-style games, the level of your enthusiasm for Casino Mogul will depend on your interest in the subject matter. But even if you've never actually set foot in a real casino, there's enough enjoyment and opportunity for creativity to make it a real winner.
Graphics: While the graphics are a bit on the familiar side, there's a nice attention to detail and you have the freedom to view your creation from an almost limitless number of perspectives.
Sound: The sound is the weakest element of the game, with annoying music and repetetive sound effects.
Enjoyment: The gameplay is easy to learn, and the easygoing nature of the game makes it appropriate for all types of players.
Replay Value: More casino themes would've been welcome, but the open-ended structure of the game lets you play as long as you want.
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