Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Tim Emmerich, Shepherd's Staff

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Lavamind
Price Range: $35-40
Players: 1-6
Age level: 10+

Genre: Family/Board Game
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5

B  A  C  K  G  R  O  U  N  D  :
Map in 'Zapitalism Deluxe' "Zapitalism Deluxe" will challenge you as you try to run a successful store. The game is set on the island of Zapinalia. Although you can travel to the neighboring islands that constitute the Archipelago of Mermadan, your store is located on Zapinalia. Running a store requires you to stock it with goods and sell them to the public. The goal is to beat out your five competing stores to be the Megastore! You have opportunities to make improvements to your store through expansions and advertising. There is a stock market to invest in. “Zapitalism Deluxe” is a unique strategy game set in a fantasy setting that will probably teach you some business basics as well. It offers more original artwork, sound effects, and characters from LavaMind.

G  A  M  E  P  L  A  Y  :
Playing “Zapitalism” is easy as the game presents clear menu choices. It is also turn-based where each turn represents a week of gametime, so no need to rush as you aren't timed. Initially, all the human players will pick from one of six characters to play. They are named Bunn Meister, Briggs, Hoffmani, Tibi, Spinnaker, and Grunion. The left over ones will be played by the computer, but you can set the difficulty level of each. You can optionally turn on the special skills of the six characters. If you do, you may want to research the options before choosing one.

A Boat Ride in 'Zapitalism Deluxe' After you start and have your store, then the strategy sets in. You have complete freedom to buy the products you want stocked on your store. In order to bring in the customers, you may want to establish an effective advertising strategy. The details of running a store can keep you busy it seems. Just when you thought tons of profits were pouring in, a particular product may suffer from a high returns rate due to a design flaw or poor quality. Since you need employees, you have to deal with unions. But having employees can sometimes free you (the store owner) to go do some exploring. Since exploration to other islands requires a boat ride, this can take from one game week to several. Even more if bad weather hits. However, the risk is sometimes worth it. For instance, you could maybe discover an artifact that, when placed in your store's window, brings in droves of customers. If your employees are having difficulties and you need help in negotiating with the union, you may want to visit island of the Mystic Figs. These figs are rumored to help calm people down and allow them to work out their issues. Or if you spend your exploration time helping the poor mud dogglers, this can boost your reputation if word gets back to Zapinalia. If you don't want to be gone so long from your store, there are several places on the island to explore, like the Zubar Mines, Pirates Peak, and the Hungry Forest.

Other opportunities can arise from time to time. If a visit to the Grand Zubar goes well, he can maybe get you and appointment with Queen Keshi Keshi Gomu, the ruler of Zapinalia! That would be a boon for your store, unless you ruin the meeting. Also, a visit to the Zable Exchange could yield you an inside tip on the market or a profitable business deal. An aspect that makes the game more enjoyable is the outlandish places, characters and products! To demonstrate the zaniness of the game, here is a description of one of the products you can import to sell in your store…

    "JITTERS are small oval shaped insects. When assembled, they act in a uniform manner to produce remarkable calculations. Jitters act according to logical patterns, and if they are arranged in a certain order, they are capable of solving sophisticated mathematical equations. They accomplish this by interacting with each other in the same way transistors do. A platoon of Jitters is better than an abacus any day, and 20,000 of these little bugs can all fit inside a match box. Jitters are sold in a small mechanical box with hundreds of odd shaped buttons. By pressing the buttons, the user releases food, and the Jitters respond to this in a predictable manner. In this way, one can get the Jitters to perform specific calculations. However, the Jitter boxes are not easy to operate. As a result, classes have sprung up all across Zapinalia to teach the finer techniques of Jitter manipulation."

Also, a place that you can adventure to is a lost city. Here is its description…
"The Lost City of Mermadan is thought to have once been the capital of the Archipelago of Mermadan. It was the center of an entire civilization that stretched from Outer Reboundrum to the Mystic Figs. Unfortunately, when a nearby volcano erupted, this glorious city was swallowed up by lava and sank into the ocean in one fiery explosion. Now, only the most adventurous explorers dare to visit the sunken island to see what they can find. A few have come back with amazing artifacts and relics from the past civilization."
Papa Geeka “Zap” Shines: “Zapitalism Deluxe” is easy to learn. LavaMind continues their brilliance in the tutorial that gradually introduces you to the game. This allows even computer novices to enjoy the game. Furthermore, it will be obvious to you the original effort that was put forth in designing “Zapitalism”! The graphics are an order magnitude more sophisticated than “Gazillionaire”! Gone are the 2-D graphics, get ready for 3-D animations! LavaMind has done an excellent job of scaling their games in a way not to leave people with slower machines wanting. Specifically, you can disable features of the games on slower machines like animation. You still get a nice graphic, it will just be a still shot instead of the animation sequence. The scaling does not detract from the core gameplay and allows older machines with slower processors and CD-ROM drives to enjoy the games.

S  U  M  M  A  R  Y  :
A most enjoyable game that is most fun for several players or PBEM (Play By E-Mail). “Zapitalism Deluxe” is highly recommended to younger players learning the value of money, goods, and running a business. Also, older players should play to as you will have a chance to beat the young ones for once! You should enjoy the originality and zaniness of the game as you build a commercial empire to rival all others in Zapinalia.

From a Christian standpoint, there is nothing really offensive in "Zapitalism Deluxe". Remember that it is set in a fantasy world, so proper explanations may be in order for younger players. Since it is fantasy, there is such things as magic items (although hard to find) and streaks of good or bad luck. Sometimes, you may be presented with the option to sabotage your competitors. Obviously, this is an immoral option, but in the context of the game is fun as sometimes there can be negative consequences to your actions.

Year of Release—1997

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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