Review by ArrestedGaming
"Quirky, but good"
Game Dev Tycoon is a new indie title from Greenheart Games, and it is highly addictive, if a little quirky. At a $7 price tag though, this game definitely is worth it's cost.
Gameplay - 32/40
The gameplay is very simple, but incredibly addictive. Start off in your garage, making budget titles by yourself, work your way up into an office and hire some staff to help make bigger games, and eventually become a major company capable of making your own game system and AAA titles. To do this, you pick a system to develop for, the genre of the game, the main topic for the game, and the engine you want to work with. From there, it's a matter of tweaking the time spend on each element of the game to make the most important elements shine through, and choosing the right add ons to make the game as good as possible. You start with very limited choices, but quickly gain research points which you can spend to unlock new topics, and the ability to create custom game engines. Once you unlock custom engines, you can use the research points to unlock things like better graphics, multiplayer, ans specialized controllers. Once you upgrade to an office, you hire staff, and can use research points to improve their skills and your own to make better games. Eventually you work up to being a major game company, able to do major things such as creating your own game systems, and at the end of the game (default of 30 years) you are given a life time achievement award and your high score is calculated. Afterwards, you can keep playing trying to make the perfect game, and the system of you dreams! There are only two real problems are the amount of research points, and lack of info on certain things. Almost everything needs research points, including training, and unlocking a boost for the characters, and later upgrades cost massive amount of research points, and it never feels like you have enough points. It encourages you to really decide what is important, but it feels like it holds the game back at times. The much bigger problem is with a lack of information. The help screen answers some questions, but everything you work on in a game is influenced more by either design or tech, and while some are straight forward, some are not. Level design for instance, relies much more on tech than design, even though design is in the name. It wasn't until my last 5 years did I unlock specializations for a character showing me the breakdown of each element in the game. There are multiple things in the game like this, and it can become frustrating, but never to the point of making you want to put down the game.
Controls - 14/20
Controls are handled all through mouse control, and for the most part work well. The two major problems come from scrolling the screen, which sometimes as you try to drag a member to the project you want them working on, the screen will register you wanting to scroll the screen instead, and when you are trying to do certain actions. To train an employee, you must click on them, but sometimes the game doesn't register the employee is there and will bring up the other options for game development instead, or vice versa were clicking near a character brings up their menu when you want to develop a new game or engine.
Graphics - 10/15
The graphics are very simple, but they convey what they need to. Characters busily type at their desk, and as they work at new games, the points they add to making the game good pop up above their heads before zipping to their color coded area. The graphs and text are crisp and clean. The main problems are sometimes bars overlap in character space, making it hard to determine who needs a vacation, and how much longer a person is training for, and the graphics are simplistic almost to a fault. Given it is a cheap indie game though, the second complaint is honestly nitpicking.
Sound - 8/15
Sound design is fine. A few tracks play throughout the game but there is nothing memorable, and the sound effects are just there. Nothing in particular stands out as bad, but nothing stands out as good.
Story - 8/10
The plot of this game is you start off during the time of the PC and Commodore 64 (known in game as the Govadore 64), making games by yourself in your garage. From there you work your way up through the console generations up to the next generation, and build your company up from a garage developer to the CEO of a major game company with your own research and development department, and the ability to make your own game convention and console! The only downside is since it does follow the generations, you know what systems do well and which ones fade into obscurity.
Overall, Game Dev Tycoon has a fun premise, a lot of potential, and is great fun, especially for it's price tag, but the game does definitely have it's faults and problems. In conclusion, I'd give the game 72/100, or a 7/10 by Gamefaq standards. It's not for every one, but definitely check it out. There is a free demo on their website that lets you play up to the end of the 5th year. Just don't pirate the game, because they installed a bug that causes your games to get pirated, and you'll make literally nothing.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/06/13
Game Release: Game Dev Tycoon (US, 04/28/13)
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