Game Review: Game Dev Story
How would you feel if I told you that I found a fun game that contained RPG, RTS, and business management elements? Personally, I’d be excited until I heard the last element. Business management mixed with role-playing? It sounds kind of nausea-inducing. As fate would have it, however, it actually works quite well in Game Dev Story, a game for iOS and Android manages to take what could be an awkward mix of elements and create a brilliant strategy game that’s quite easy to pick up (and put down for a moment).
I got to play the game on my Samsung Galaxy Tab (which ran it quite well) and what can I say? It’s certainly well made- the game was built for mobile devices! Aesthetically, it was alright. The graphics reminded me of Sega Genesis games of old- the game is adorable. This masks the underlying complexity of the game, in a way. The music? Decent. Nothing really special, in my opinion, but pretty good. There’s not much to be said of the game’s looks- there’s a ton to be said, however, of the game’s rather meta sense of humor. Intendro and Senga as companies? Hilarious. Last Fantasy winning Game of the Year? Also pretty funny.
Regarding gameplay, things take a turn towards addictively fascinating and fascinatingly addictive. If you’ve got a deadline to meet, it’s best that you never touch this game- you’ll either stop working, or stop feeding yourself. The game is controlled through a menu system. Tapping the screen once will bring it up, and from through it you do just about everything. Need to hire somebody new? Start an ad campaign. Ready to start developing a game? Choose genre, game type, and watch your employees hop to work. As time goes by, events occur- consoles are born, consoles thus die, and development/licensing costs rise exponentially each generation. This is where the game becomes much, much harder. Much of the difficulty in the game is over either money issues or your employees- it’s absolutely imperative that you create a balanced team. Failure to do so may result in games that suffer graphically, musically, etc. It’s possible to release a buggy, glitchy game, but it reflects quite poorly on your company (and hurts sales).
A feature I appreciated was the ability to crank up the speed of gameplay- everything will go by much faster. I also appreciated all the demographics the game provided- while I was never quite sure what to do with them, they were a nice touch. Admittedly, the game tended to be a bit obtuse as to a few things- what kind of games are the kids into, exactly? The game could provide a little more guidance in that area, or even regarding the price of developing for the ever-more expensive consoles. I also don’t really like the fact that the game “ends” after 20 in-game years. Would making up new consoles have been fatal? You can keep playing after twenty years, but the game doesn’t really progress. It was something of an annoyance.
Overall, it’s quite a good game, and sort of an interesting peek into the industry. While I’m pretty sure it’s not entirely accurate, it’s certainly entertaining. Something about it reminds me of a very old PC game, sort of along the lines of a management sim. Oh the memories of playing Sim Safari on my… Well, I suppose I should stop reminiscing. Well, maybe there will be more like it one day? A resurgence of this genre would be pretty awesome. Hopefully those games would retain all the wit and quality of this one.