Auction games. They're not something you hear about frequently. Today, it seems like the only game genres people play are FPS's and action games. But rest assured, there's a whole universe of other genres, and auctioning is just as fun as the rest of them.
Auction Wars is based on the hit television series Storage Wars and is developed by GameDigits Ltd., a U.K. based company. The game, like the TV series, depicts what actually happens in California; where storage lockers whose rent has not been paid for three months are auctioned off for cash. The show follows the professional buyers who purchase these lockers. Buyers may only observe the locker and cannot go in or touch any of the contents, making the decision process very intuitive. The game lets players join in on this bidding action, without feeling the real life hardships of buying a worthless storage unit.
The three A.I. characters you bid against have different bidding styles.
You start off with some cash in your pocket, and immediately you can enter a storage auction. Players face off against three A.I. controlled characters, each with their own style of bidding. For example, one may be looking for the 'wow factor' in a unit, another may just want to make some money and give you a hard time. Playing against the A.I. is fun at first, but ultimately starts to get a little predictable. Fortunately a new feature was introduced to keep the excitement going, which I'll get to later on.
Before you bid on a locker you have five seconds to tap on the items you see in the unit. This lets you see how much they may be worth. Once you've bought a storage unit, you may raid it to see if you've collected anything of value and to see if you made a profit or a loss. The goal is to make enough money to advance to the next level of storage units, where more valuable and rarer items exist.
Get hints as to how much items may be worth. But you will have to get lucky to find the rare items.
If you haven't been able to tell from the screenshots so far, the graphics in the game are well designed. Items look and feel real, but also have a slightly cartoonish style to them. Even better are the voice overs, both for the bidders and the auctioneer. Like in the television show, the auctioneer's ability to keep the bidding tempo high with fast talking and cheeky quips is extremely realistic and makes players feel like they're at a live auction.
The game itself is actually quite addictive to play when you first pick it up. Without realizing it, I suddenly noticed that I had already played three different auctions. I think that the uncertainty of what content is in a locker, combined with the thrill of discovery, is what really pushes you to keep playing. But this feeling doesn't last forever.
Besides finding rare items and earning achievements, there's not a lot you can do with your winnings. You can advance to bigger and better lockers, but the gameplay remains the same and you can almost always win a locker if you place a bid just before the auctioneer says "sold!". Because of this, playing with the A.I. doesn't feel challenging enough. It's too predictable. But, as good fortune would have it, the multiplayer option gives players a chance to regain that auction thrill.
The multiplayer feature that was released last week.
Released as a new feature just last week, Auction Wars wants you to bid against your friends. The bidding style, however, changes from live bidding to giving your highest bid price for a locker. You then wait to see if the other person puts in a higher bid. This somewhat takes the fun out of the bidding process, but it's playing online against other real people that gives multiplayer an edge over its A.I. counterpart.
Overall, the game is definitely fun to play, especially if you're a fan of the show or like auctions in general. It's also simple to play which is what makes it initially so fun, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes less challenging. It would be nice to see more value in making profits on lockers and finding rare items, besides simply making more money and adding to your 'found items' list for the sake of it. All in all, it's definitely worth buying.
A fun and addictive game that does the television show justice, but some more challenging gameplay would definitely be welcomed.