Build-a-Lot 3: Passport to Europe is a strategy game. Fortunately, instead of having a war theme like so many other games of the same type, the Build-a-Lot series is related to the real-estate business. On every level you will act as a contractor whose objective is to earn a given amount of money or to meet the construction needs of a certain town before the allotted time is up. This edition is based in Europe; and instead of building new constructions and facilities, the idea will basically be to repair existing buildings, some of them quite exotic, such as castles and palaces.
The game has two play modes: career and casual but the latter will be locked until you have won all the levels in the career mode. Additionally, you may prefer to begin with a tutorial that will guide you through all the game’s actions. The career mode combines a money goal with special requirements, and every level will get increasingly difficult, while the casual mode will let you play freely with just a money goal.
Money can be earned in many ways. So, to reach the goal, you will have to create your own strategies, such as buying, repairing, demolishing or upgrading houses; buying or selling empty lots; and building recreational or services facilities. Apart from selling houses or plots, you will also receive monthly rent payments according to the value of each house. Sometimes you will be short of money so you will need to use it wisely to pay for the necessary construction materials, labor and blueprints. An additional challenge may sometimes appear when you think you are about to reach your goal, most of times as a Major’s whim. This particular game from this series introduces a new type of prize: passports to European countries, which, as you have probably noticed, is part of its name.
In general, Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe is an exciting game with the exquisite flavor of the old Europe. It has nice graphics and resolution. The sound effects are appropriate but the music may turn out annoying after a while, so you might prefer to turn it off. Personally, I would have liked a more varied design for each of the construction types.
This game may also be used for educational purposes as it develops decision-making strategies. In this respect, you will have to deal with many factors: economic, environmental and aesthetical. Although it is centered on making money (which is a rightful purpose but somewhat selfish), at least it is not another war game. Finally, if you like strategy games, I am sure this one will keep you hooked for a while.