We're all game enthusiasts here. We play, we watch, we read and write about, and then we play some more. Given the opportunity to develop a game, do you think you could? If you had the skills, knew the people, and was driven by a sense of entrepreneurship, would you create a game development studio? There's no need for could have and would have anymore, with Game Dev Story, now you can do just that.
Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, Game Dev Story starts you off with $500,000 and a few novice developers for you to begin creating a gaming empire. You're able to hire and fire people as you see fit, level up different classes for each of your employees, advertise your products in a multitude of ways, contract your team out to other companies in between development, and even attend gaming expos. The game is easy to pick up and play, but it takes thought and hard work to create a largely profitable company.
There's no controlling any of the characters on screen. Like a classic Sim or Tycoon game, you give all the orders through a menu system; orchestrate the labor, decide what to buy, sell, and create from your cushy desk chair. You start off in a small 6-person office, and as your company becomes more successful you're given the opportunity to grow and hire more people.
You're able to hire employees who fit into 8 different job classes; coder, writer, designer, sound engineer, director, producer, hacker, and hardware engineer. To truly make waves in the game industry and create great games, you have to be sure to have a nice team balance. If you don't have a good writer, your game's story will suck. No designer? Say bye-bye to the awesome graphics that everyone loves. Everyone pitches in, so in the end, it pays off to have all your bases covered. You can buy items that will switch an employee's job title, thus allowing them to further their skills in one of the four main categories; programming, scenario, graphics, and sound. Ideally, maxing out every job title for your entire staff will get you the best stats, thus creating better games and bringing in more money.
The point of a game developer is to develop games, right? Of course it is, but it's expensive. There are tons of consoles that are introduced and discontinued through the span of the games main 20 year period, which parallels game consoles history in a way. Intendro, Senga, Sonny, and Microx are the big time players, each releasing a bevy of consoles with various licensing fees to develop on. To raise enough money to purchase the console's license, you can take one of many deadline oriented contracts, pitting your team against the clock to complete the gig. You'll have to be careful of failed attempts to increase certain parameters, blackouts, and hardware failures, as these things will set back either your contract or your game development, causing you to lose your hard earned money.
Choose the console, genre, type, and name of your game. Once it's developed and ready for public consumption, it's up to you to market it. Advertise in a selection of ways and let them demo your wares at gaming cons. You have demographics to impress, and the more you build all your demographics the better your games will sell. Then of course, your games go to review. These reviewers must all have sticks up their asses, because they are not easily impressed. Good reviews help your game to sell better, but you need to make all the right decisions if you plan on getting 10 across the board.
Game Dev Story tracks all your accomplishments; hall of fame games, awards won, sales totaled, profit made, etc. After 20 in game years however, all this logging stops. You're able to continue past 20 years, but you won't be able to see how your performance is stacking up. Fear not, because the touted New Game + makes an appearance, allowing you to start a new company with many of the helpful stat increases that you worked so hard to attain with your previous company.
The pixel art graphics and dinky Super Nintendo music are nothing special, especially compared to many other iOS games, but Game Dev Story is massive amounts of fun, and addictive to boot. At only $4 in the app store, gamers would be crazy not to pick this up and get a loose idea of what running a gaming studio is about. Besides, haven't you always wanted to create a romance action RPG called Sexy Time?
Buy it if: You like sim games, you wonder what game development is like, you need an iPhone timekiller
Dont buy it if: You want cutting edge graphics, you don't want to get addicted
Value out of $4: $4+
The Score: 8 outta 10 blasters!