Game Dev Story is a fascinating and wholly original title, and one that many gamers will love like no other. The game tells the tale of a video game development studio, and is told in a fashion that will cause many to instantly love the title, but those people will probably be those who have always had the dream of designing games themselves but have never had the opportunity to try.
Those of you who have never harboured such ambitions, or just have a mere fleeting interest in the games business will find a fairly simple time management game with a unique look and interesting structure.
The game tasks you with hiring and managing a development team. You get a budget, which is the most important stat as nearly everything costs money, from choosing the method of finding new staff to training and upgrading the ones you have already got.
You can choose to either start a brand new game project or do some contracting work. The contract work is easy and nets a nice profit, but do too much and you will lose fans for not releasing a game in a while; not something you want to do as your teams fame is linked with how much money you make from each game release.
When starting a new game project, you can choose which platform to develop for (new platforms are announced with a great spoof of E3), the type of game, its theme and a few other options. Each time you develop a game in a specific theme or genre, your level for that type can increase, and its through this and training your staff correctly that you can unlock new, more profitable genres.
As you progress, you unlock more and more of the games content, and although there are complex things to take into account, such as how many times a staff member has worked on one element, the disks to use to upgrade and boost certain stats and much more, the game never really gets difficult, as long as you keep an eye on your cash flow.
In fact the only time things get rough is when you get subjected to the inexplicably blackouts, that are really just a way for the game to take some stats away from you. I found them irritating in the extreme, not to mention pointless.
You can even get so far as to create your own console, although this aspect is in itself underdeveloped, as there is no way of getting other devs to create games for it, or even to change many parts of the design. The path to creating your own console is also a little muddy, and the reward just isn’t worth it, to be honest.
The game is arrow focused on your office and the happenings within, and although is a good thing as it helps to foster an atmosphere of pure strategy, I would have liked the game to have spread its wings a little and maybe concentrated on competing dev studios and expanding your brand a bit more than just a few ad options.
This is a really good game, but I do feel that it could have been a lot bigger and better. The best way I can describe it is if you have ever played Theme Park, imagine only being limited to one screen of park space. Still good, but not expansive enough.
I would still highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of time management games, and it goes without saying that if you are a fan of the games industry or even involved in the business, then dont hesitate snapping this up, as it is as warm and welcoming as it is charming and witty, and can prove very addictive, just be warned that the scope of the game never really matches the potential the solid foundations provide.
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