Review: Game Dev Tycoon

Tycoon games are no rare occurrence, as they’ve been available for decades. You’ve got your Zoo Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Oil Tycoon and even Moon Tycoon. Whatever you feel like being a tycoon in, there is plenty of variety to choose from. However, now, we have a tycoon game which is aimed specifically at the players themselves: Game Dev Tycoon.

A business simulator which starts you off decades ago,  and has you travelling forward through the different gaming eras, building up your empire and pleasing your fans with different types, styles and genres of your choosing.

Game Dev Tycoon has the same premise as many other tycoon styled games but this time the players will feel right at home. You start sometime thirty years ago and work your way forward, through the different eras and generations of gaming, although, the company’s names may be altered slightly.

You begin your journey as one man, in his own garage, creating games for a small fan-base, gradually creating hit games, which amass both recognition and wealth. Which you can use as a springboard to the top of the gaming industry; buying different staff, researching different items and producing games for the world to enjoy.

As you enter the game you must decide minor details, such as a company name and how you look. You are then quickly thrown into the deep end of the tank and can become quickly overwhelmed with options and choices, luckily, you are helped and guided through every first scenario, teaching you the ropes and showing you how it works. After that however, you are more or less left to your own devices, researching different topics of game, deciding which current platforms to release on and overall fine-tuning the game you think will please the world the most.

Since gamers will be playing this, they may feel they know what goes where and which decisions will produce the best game ever created. But, when you’re put in the driver seat of a development company, you will soon realise that there are details which must be perfect when creating different types of game.

For example: First you must choose what age, genre, topic and platform you would like your game to be. Seems easy enough, but you don’t want your mature, zombie, action game to be available for young children on the “Ninvento Gameling”. You then move onto more difficult decisions put in the form of a percentage slider, moving points such as: graphics, gameplay, engine, dialogue and world design.

All these decisions and choices add to the complexity and curiosity of the game. It allows you to experiment with your ideas and find out which works best. But if it goes south and they don’t work out for your company resulting in you filing for bankruptcy, you can just as easily load a save or even restart. As I did many times before finally figuring out cautious trial and error is the best route.

Game Dev Tycoon requires a lot of patience, as you have to wait for research, development stages and other small things to proceed, before you can publish your game and see how well it’s done. The waiting is fine; as it adds suspense, giving you time to wonder, “Did my graphically advanced, text based, zombie, action game do well on the charts? Or do I need to reload the save”.

But, with the waiting in mind, I couldn’t help but think Game Dev Tycoon would have been better suited on mobile devices and tablets, or even be ported to one in the future, as the waiting wouldn’t be as strenuous then. It may also be a good idea as a player on the train wouldn’t be as put off by a thirty second research time as a player sitting at a computer screen, thinking of something to do while the loading bar fills up. The controls are fairly point and click dominated too, so it would move over perfectly to a mobile device, as gamers could navigate through the menus with ease, using only their fingers.

Another great strategy Game Dev Tycoon fosters is the constant variation and upgrades you can acquire merely by progressing through the game. You can level up certain areas to unlock new things to research and put in your games engine. You can train yourself and employees to be more efficient, and, when you gain enough money, you’re able to find new accommodation, allowing for different things, like: Staff and better publicity from the fans that didn’t realise the past ten games were created by one man in his garage.

Game Dev Tycoon is a great twist on the usual business tycoon games we see in the market nowadays. Instead, GreenHeart Games chose to aim their first ever game at the heart and soul of current gamers, creating both a nostalgic and enjoyably addictive game which both younger and older gamers will love for different reasons. It may be because you were there in the 80’s and onward, actually experiencing these generation defining consoles first-person. Or you may be a younger gamer who wants to experience what it was like.

Either way, GreenHeart Games left an excellent mark on the tycoon genre, and created a game to be proud of.


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