Developer: GreenHeart Games
Platform: Windows, Steam
Retail Price: £6.99 (Steam) £5.99 (Windows)
Game dev tycoon is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Your role is that of a games developer with a passion for making games. You start off in your bedroom tapping away on your pc with you limited abilities and resources and create the best that you can. If you manage to hit a magic niche then just like real indie developers, you can end up with a roaring success on your hands. The more successes you have and the more money that they bring in then the bigger and better your future projects can be. As the game progresses you are able to expand and grow from a back room indie developer to a full on development studio and even create your own console.
To create a game you have to pick certain things in order to get what you want. Initially you pick from a topic, a genre and a platform. As you play through the game and develop different titles, more options open up within these such as sports, action, space topics or sim, dance genres etc. Basically, the more you play, the more opens up to you and the wider the variety of games yu can create. These choices give you the opportunity to create some weird and wonderful games or you could always stick to the football sports sim games or the military action shooter but where’s the fun in that, surely a pirate dance adventure game would be so much more fun to create!
As you progress more and more options become available to add to the game such as better graphics engines, surround sound, multiplayer and many many more options. With some imagination you can create virtually any conceivable game you could imagine. With each of these options you give it a certain portion of your time relative to the others while developing. Imagine if you put 80% of your time into graphics then you only have 20% of your time to put into other options so choose wisely.
As you progress you have the ability to hire more staff and with those staff on offer you can pick people with particular skill sets such as coding or graphical design. With skill comes price though and you must factor in paying the wages of these higher skilled people when budgeting for your game development. Theres no point paying out for a fantastic graphical designer when the mechanics of your game are about as good as a tent in a tornado! You have to try to get that balance in the development so that you give your upcoming title the best chance for success.
In the time it takes to create your game you and your team put their efforts in to making it as good as they can. This shows up in the form of bubbles popping up relative to either Design, Technology and research. Along with this comes the inevitable bugs which can be worked out with time. Time costs money though so in some cases it may be benificial to send out a game with bugs but we have all seen developers do that in the past haven’t we!
Ok, right, lets talk about the elephant in the room shall we. This title has been likened to that of Game Dev Story from Kiarosoft. It covers the same genre, the same game mechanics and there are a lot of pretty obvious similarities. Is it a rip off? I will say no. The reason for this is that when you look at other games then you will see the same issue. Just how many first person shooters can you name off the top of your head and how many of them look the same? how many sports titles? Game Dev Story came out first yes and therefore any title that is close will be compared. Now what I will say is that there is such a strong similarity that if you have played one then the interest in playing the other will be limited. I will also say that with Game Dev Tycoon I feel that they missed out on an opportunity to really evolve the idea and surpass the competition. In a few ways it has done that, it feels somewhat more in-depth but in the same instance feels like a lot of the gameplay is done out of your hands and you just make a few decisions here and there. For me the slide bars for proportional values for each option ie gameplay, graphics etc needed to be swung far off to one way or the other before it felt like it made any kind of difference.
Graphically it isn’t ground breaking at all. The art style for me is a letdown. It has a feel of very basic artistic input. The graphics are functional but nothing more really. Again, longer in development could have really made this particular part shine and outdo the competition. Now this said, this hasn’t been created by a AAA company and that has to be taken into account as you wouldn’t expect super high res graphics but I do feel more could have been done.
Ok now for the big point. Gameplay, Its addictive. There is something quite fun about tweaking game development and building your own development studios and in the later stages creating your own console. Having your own game brand and coming up with unique ideas and mixing all sorts of genres and topics does draw you in. Now you don’t get to see anything of what you create but I did have fun cloning the Call of Duty series in my own special way and having my latest military action shooter called Call of Doggy reaching no.1 in sales did give me a smirk. This is one of those games that I see people playing heavily for a few days and then once they are done then I can’t see them coming back to it for some time……..but it will be one of those games that will sit there in your library until you stumble back across it again and then repeat the whole process again of playing and then leaving.
Overall, Taking into account everything I would have to say that this could have been more than it is. Is it a winner? No. Is it a failure? No. maybe somewhat of a missed opportunity but as the game itself teaches you, you live and learn. You look at what you have done before and what can be improved on and you go from there and this is what I hope that GreenHeart Games do. Don’t worry about what the skeptics say with regards to ‘cloning’ other particular games, lots of developers do it but maybe next time make it more of your own and build upon the ideas and gameplay already out there.