When I saw Art Mogul, I was both intrigued and skeptical. The idea is a unique, as far as I know. You play as an art dealer, traveling around the world snapping up artwork and reselling it, buying and stocking galleries along the way. So, for the new idea, I was a bit intrigued. After all, there are only so many Angry Birds games you can play before it al starts to get a little old. But the skeptical part came in right after. How exciting is it, really, to look buy and sell paintings? That’s got to get old pretty quick, too – right? Let’s find out.
First off, let’s get the idea of hidden agendas or uncovering secret missions out of the way right from the start. Art Mogul is exactly what it sounds like, from start to finish. You look at paintings in one place, then travel to another place and look at more paintings. The gameplay comes in what you do with them. The idea is to buy low and sell high, thereby earning both stars and cash to get your career off the ground. Your gameplay consists entirely of buying and selling paintings, sometimes just for profit, and others to further your personal collections. You start out in San Francisco, and slowly unlock more points on the map. Once a location has been unlocked, you can travel back and forth as often as you like, in search of new and exciting works of art.
Each location has a gallery. Here you can look through the paintings for sale – usually three at a time. You can buy them at retail, or you can try for a discount buy finding the list of hidden objects shown below the paintings. As long as you have the money, you can buy whichever paintings you like, but you are restricted to holding seven at a time, so it is important to deliver and sell often, keeping you inventory low enough to always be able to snatch up the best deals when they present themselves.
You can also sell at the gallery, and it works similar to buying. You can sell at retail, or look for hidden objects in the paintings to get a better price. The twist with selling is that the objects on the list may not be in the paintings you have. The idea is that Tokyo galleries want different types of paintings that Paris or New York, so to get the best prices you need to have the ones they want. To get maximum profit, you need to only sell for best prices, meaning you may have to carry some paintings around for a while to get the most profit.
In addition to a gallery, each city has a cafe and an auction house. The cafes offer you a chance to pick up an artist original for insane prices, but you’ll to sort out the copies from the originals with a little detective work. Each cafe offers only one picture at a time. To figure out if it’s a fake, you compare it to an exact copy of the original to look for discrepancies. Rather than letting you look at the two side by side though, you need to flip back and forth between them, which was a bit of an annoyance. Original artworks are few and far between at the cafes, but finding one nets you a hefty profit, so it’s worth the time if you are short on cash.
Auction houses offer two chances for a good profit. The first are requests. Here, you are given a picture of one specific object to find. It could be in a painting at any city, anywhere, so it’s often a challenge to find. But if you find the painting and deliver it, you’ll net a good reward. You also can participate in auctions. Each city only offers one painting for sale each time you visit it, but you can get a great deal by outwitting the other buyers. If you can find a hidden object in the painting before the other buyer bids, you’ll knock them out of the sale. Knock out all three quickly and you’ll get an original painting at a steep discount. Besides the profit, the paintings you need for your gallery collections or requests can only be found at auction, so it’s important to keep checking them out.
As you work your way through the game, you will need to purchase a gallery and stock it, three different times. You don’t get to choose the gallery, but you will get a choice between three different collections to stock. Like the requests, the paintings you need for your galleries are presented to you as a list of objects to find in paintings. It is quite time consuming, as you work your way back and forth across the globe, waiting for those paintings to show up. While you can continue buying and selling other paintings for profit and requests while you search, I did find it got tiresome after a while.
To purchase the gallery, you will need a set amount of both cash and stars. Once you purchase your gallery, you will no longer be able to buy and sell in that city, although the auction house and cafe will remain available to you. That is when the limit of seven paintings at a time becomes cumbersome, because if you find a painting you need at the auction house but have no room left in your luggage, it will have been replaced by a different painting by the time you have returned. Once you complete a gallery, you will unlock another city, but also be asked to buy a new gallery. Fully stocking your third gallery finishes the game.
Art Mogul is a unique idea that is perfect for gamers who love to buy low and sell high, watching their profits grow. It also features a lot of great artwork, so art lovers take note. Even with all that, it can get a bit monotonous after a while, so it’s best taken in small doses – a great game for when you just have a few minutes here and there.