Review by gmo7897

Reviewed: 02/22/11

Simple, yet crazily addictive

I downloaded this game after listening to a podcast where they ranted and raved about how great this game was. I doubted it could be as good as they said it was, since it was marked down to 99 cents at the time. How could a game that was under a dollar be any good?

Was I ever wrong...

You take on the role of the top executive of a video game design and development company. You will make all of the decisions based on what you think will be best for your company to be able to sell as many games as possible. You will be in charge of the hiring, firing and training of employees. You will pay for the advertising, and you will try your hardest to appease your waiting fans.

You will decide which types of games to design. Will you create an Robot Shooter? Or, will you create a Comedy Racing game? You will determine which console the game will be released on. Do you use the Intendo Game Kid portable or the Senga Uranus console?

Do you want to just put out a quick release to beat the competitors to the market? Do you want to spend the extra time making sure it's a quality product?

Do you stick with the work that your untrained staff will produce? Or, do you take the chance at outsourcing your work to industry "professionals" to hopefully produce a better product?

Every decision you make is important to the number of sales you make, and every choice costs money. If you're running low on money, you might have to take up a contract with an outside agency to help them produce some software for them. Succeed and you'll be rewarded with money. Fail, and you'll never do business with them again.

Along the way, you will attend gaming conventions, award shows and press conferences as you continue to improve your company and strive to produce the perfect game in hopes of winning the coveted "Game of the Year" award.

The Game

As stated, you are in charge of a company that designs and develops video games. When you start, you have a handful of money to work with and three dedicated employees. Your secretary - who is there to help you each step of the way - and two others, which will handle most of your work, are ready to get to work and produce some games for you.

Your employees are placed into jobs and assigned stat values. As you use your resources to level up your workers and money to train them, their stats will increase, and they will produce better games. As time goes by, you will also have the ability to cross-train some of your work-force into new job positions or simply fire the workers you have and hire a new batch of willing recruits.

When you release each game, four "critics" will rate it based on the direction you assign as well as the genre and type of game it is and amount of work put into it. If you score high enough with the critics, your game will be placed into the "Hall of Fame", which will allow you to create a series of games by making sequels to those games. Eventually, you'll be able to hire a Hardware Developer to take your company to the next level by producing your own console.

The controls for this game couldn't be any easier. Everything is described to you by your secretary, and the control scheme is usually as simple as clicking a button to choose a simple "yes" or "no". This really is a game that most people would be able to understand the controls. There are no excess buttons and widgets to confuse you. It really is as simple as clicking "yes" or "no" most of the time.

Graphically, this game isn't great. The design of the graphics are well below what the average game is these days - even on a mobile device. However, I am usually so engrossed in the game, that I don't even pay attention to the graphics. The most important part of this game is the words that are on the screen as they let you know everything you need to know, and everything is legible and clear. I've never had any problems attempting to decipher what was being said due to the font being unclear.

This game does have a few issues though. First, there is no way to check on your competition. This is something that I think should have been included. It would be nice to know what your competition is producing or at least the scores of some of their games. It just seems a little unfair when you're continuously releasing games that score perfect or near perfect in their ratings, yet they fail to win "Game of the Year".

I think it would have also been a better idea to limit the potential of certain job classes stat growth. As it stands, you can have a Sound Engineer (which notably usually starts with a higher "Music" stat) that can be trained to have a higher "Creativity" score than any Writers that are on your staff. There's just something about that, which seems a little wrong to me.

After a while the game does get a little redundant, but again it's not noticeable because you're constantly striving to outdo your previous games and keep your series going.

Final Thoughts

I would say my biggest gripe about this game is its addictivity. I know that sounds a little odd, but one of the things I often look for in mobile-device games is the ability to pick it up and be able to put it down in ten to fifteen minutes. This game is so simple to understand, yet it's crazily addictive.

I got to work a little early the first time I actually booted it up on my phone, so I thought the fifteen minutes I had would be plenty of time to give it a try. The next time I looked up from my phone to see what was going on, it was my lunch break - four hours into my day.

There is an option to save at any time, but I'm usually so into the development of my newest game, that I don't want to set down my phone.

If you have not purchased this game for your mobile device, you should at least give the "Lite" version a try. It's free, and it takes you through the first two years of the game, which really is enough to get a feel for the gameplay and control scheme.

Rating It

Graphics: Not great. Actually, in perspective, they're almost bad, but you won't notice. 6/10
Controls and Gameplay: I honestly don't think it could be better. 10/10
Story: A little repetitive. Make game, sell game, repeat. Not much there. 6/10
Replay-ability: It's so addictive, you will go back and play it a second time to outdo yourself. 10/10

Overall: Give the "Lite" version a try for sure. If you're even remotely thinking about it, buy it - especially if you still find it for under one dollar. This is honestly the best game I have purchased for a dollar. 8/10


Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Game Dev Story (US, 10/09/10)

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