Newspaper simulator game News Tower has enabled me to realize my dream of controlling the media

Man smilling with bags of money behind him
(Image credit: Twin Sails Interactive)

I like to think that I’m pretty upstanding when it comes to journalistic integrity, but sometimes, you just have to do what you need to do, as Sparrow Night’s new newspaper simulator game, News Tower, is teaching me. Managing a print newspaper in the current climate is no easy task, so when the Mafia came knocking on my door offering up some help in exchange for a couple of articles, I didn’t chase them away. 

News Tower is a strategy and management game that lets you define your editorial line, whether that be prioritizing boxing matches, political scandals, or whatever the Mafia wants from you that week. After inheriting a run-down press house from your uncle, it’s your job to do up the derelict building, furnishing it with desks, printing presses, and maybe a legal team or two (just in case anyone catches on to your Mafia links).

Each week, you send out a few budding reporters to research stories and write up their findings; after bringing said stories back to the office, a team of employees write up and get ready to print everything in time for Sunday. At the end of the week, you have to arrange your newspaper in a way that brings you the most money. People could be looking for crime stories or juicy news about the arts, and it’s crucial you prioritize this content and put it on the front page as it’ll sell more papers and earn you more money. 

After you get the printing out of the way and rake in the cash, you’ll get to decide what your next week looks like. You may be alerted to a budding financial crisis, pick a neighborhood to expand your sales into that only wants to see sports and politics, or have a new side quest given to you by a slightly scary Mafia boss. Regardless of which path you pick, no two weeks will ever look the same. 

Sleeping with the fishes 

Map of local area

(Image credit: Twin Sails Interactive)

One week, I was presented with a small problem. The Mafia - whom I had been working with/for, take your pick - suddenly asked me to write some fear into the baseball team, the Giants, ahead of a big matchup against the Mafia boss’ favorite, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, this proved more challenging than I had anticipated, as the Giants came out of nowhere to perform incredibly well at practice. With no scathing article written that pulled the Giants apart, I was given one last chance to prove my worth. I had to abstain from writing about politics, society, or crime for a week. 

Not writing about some of the biggest stories that would appear that week was rough enough, but it also coincided with the first week in which my readers wanted to hear about crime and politics - just my luck. With this conundrum staring me down, I did what I had to do, and probably what I should have done at the beginning of News Tower: completely disregard my reader base and shill out to the Mafia some more.  

While reader numbers did slightly decline that week, I managed to claw back some favor with the Mafia. They then asked me to just write about some boxing matches that actually sounded quite interesting, so now everyone wins. 

Crime sometimes pays 

Office layout with multiple rooms

(Image credit: Twin Sails Interactive)

If you don’t feel comfortable working so closely with the Mafia for whatever reason, then don’t worry; News Tower lets you define the legacy of your newspaper. There’s so much to do and explore in this indie game that you’ll never be at a loose end. 

Unlocking various floors of your office building will give you more space to expand your business and more rooms to furnish. The office must always be in great shape, otherwise your workers will slow down production and could even leave. The game’s satisfaction meter will let you know what areas are or aren’t working and what issues stand out in the office, such as heat, smells, or noise. 

Despite being in early access currently, there are multiple parts of New York to discover and expand your readership into, as well as various landmarks that, once accessed - usually through getting more readers or doing tasks - give you helpful items for your office and employees. 

All in all, News Tower is a fantastic simulator game full of management queries and moral quandaries, and while I may have to take a long, hard look at my recently corrupted self, I can’t wait to dive back in and do it all over again.  

For more excellent game recommendations, check out the best indie games and the best story games available right now. 

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.