App Review: Vacation Mogul

Vacation Mogul by Alawar Entertainment is a time management simulation building game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. In the beginning of the game you learn that you must save up money to reclaim a house that your disappeared sister used to own, but is in danger of being taken by your uncle’s greedy lawyer. However because you are short on cash, you have to complete missions and save enough money to buy your sister’s house.

Each mission has goals in which you must build hotels, recreational facilities and achieve a certain weekly cash flow to pass the mission. Example of the goals would be like building 2 hotels with a weekly income of $10,000. These goals slowly become more difficult as you progress through the story, but there is no time limit for missions, so you can go as fast or as slow as you want…

There are 2 different time challenges for each mission. If you finish under the gold trophy time, or the silver trophy time you can earn more money, and stars which can be used to upgrade or buy more facilities in the research tree. You can find these time challenges on the top right hand corner of the screen.

Meeting your mission goals can be done by utilizing the resources in the game: building materials, construction workers and of course money.

Money is the most important and is earned by building hotels and recreational facilities and upgrading them up to 3 stars. To continue building you must buy construction materials and hire workers to meet your demands. This becomes tricky later on in the game as you must decide to buy real estate (that only appears for sale once in awhile), upgrade or buy more buildings. More than often I found myself running out of construction materials so it might be prudent to buy them in big amounts so you don’t have to buy as often.

True to all building games, you also act as a real-estate mogul. You can buy and sell your buildings, rescue a drowning person that gives you a $1500 bonus, upgrade and repair buildings or destroy buildings to make room for even bigger ones. This will test your ability to plan ahead and adds an element of strategy as you must decide on what you have to build, ultimately knowing that you will destroy it later.

After finishing your mission, you will be given money and stars which you can use to unlock different buildings, upgrades and other bonuses which can be done through the game’s research tree. Unlocking different buildings is extremely helpful to meeting some of the high weekly money goals so it might be a good idea to go back and re-do some of the levels to get the gold or silver trophies. This really adds to the game’s replayability as I went through all the easy levels to get more upgrades and bonuses in the research tree.

The controls of the game are extremely easy as all you have to do is point. But as the game progresses you will be wildly pointing here and there, which will probably make you wish like you had an iPad hehe.

Graphics are colorful and vivid and matches the theme quite nicely. The music and the waves are nice as well, yet the sound of the person drowning in the sea can be annoying, as it seems like someone new is drowning every 5 seconds.


  1. High level of replayability
  2. Ease of play yet challenging
  3. Excellent Graphics, Music and Sound


  1. Animations on the beach seemed unnoticeable. For example, if I had a 3 star hotel shouldn’t it be busier than just having 1 bungalow?
  2. Mini-games seemed pointless and there are only 2 of them

For those who like time management games, you will really like this. I recommend that you play it on the iPad though, as it gets way too crunched up on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Either way I had a lot of fun playing this game. I think I might download their other game Hotel Mogul because this one was so good. The iPhone version is for $2.99 and the iPad version is for $6.99 in the Apple Appstore. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!