Platform: iPhone, Android, PC (Japanese only) Developer: Kairosoft Publisher: Kairosoft Genre: Business Sim Available on: Apple App Store, Android Marketplace Price: $3.99
iPhone games rarely ever get the point of mobile gaming: bite-sized. I don’t want some huge commitment that will take me an hour to play; even 5-10 minutes can be too much sometimes. I want a game that I can pull out, click a couple of buttons, and hide back in my pocket - stealth gaming. At meetings, you can hide these games easily and pretend to be looking at important emails or something.
Game Dev Story is this type of game. You can play it while at a red light, while waiting for commercials to be over, or when the wife turns around while talking to you.
Game Dev Story is a business simulator where you run a video game developer. It starts out simply and ramps up in difficulty and complexity as you play. Your goal is to make games, good games. You start off by hiring four people to work in your office. They have nerdy little names like Gilly Bates, and they have skills ranging from coding to writing.
Now you need to start making a game! You can pick the genre and type of the game. Genres include things like RPG and shooter, and types range from Pirate to Robot. You unlock more types and genres as you progress though the game. Good combinations like Fantasy RPG sell better than weird ones like Pirate Shooter. You can choose to make the game for PC or one of the many consoles that’s gets released during the course of the game (my studio is PC only of course).
You then select which development style you want to use. Do you want to make a quality game, or do you need to make the game quickly to earn revenue? You can then apply points to the direction of the game across eight categories: cute, real, approachable, niche appeal, simple, innovative, good in-game world, and polished. The genre, type, and direction need to match up well for a game to sell. No one wants to buy a cute historical action RPG.
You need someone to write the proposal for the game, and you can pick someone on your staff or hire outside the company and get a pro to do it. The actual development of the game is five bars that receive points based on the skills of your employees: Fun, Creativity, Graphics, Sound, and Bugs. You want the first four to be as high as possible, and the bugs to be as low as possible.
You can buy items to boost the factors of your game, and your employes level up and gain new skills. As you become successful you’ll move to larger office space and hire more employees. You can contract out to do work for other people, like making game engines. If you’re big enough, you can even make your own console. Attending the gaming convention and hiring booth babes can help boost your popularity with gamers, and running a successful advertising campaign with commercials and sponsorships can increase a game’s hype.
This game is detailed, but don’t get scared away! Its depth is easy to understand and navigate. It’s all things that make sense if you’re running a game studio. Make good games, but if they take too long in development, you might run out of funds. Sometimes you need to release a game with bugs so you can earn revenue. If you want to make a hugely popular game, you need to hire a comic book artist to do the art and a professional composer to do the score. The menus are easy to navigate, and the learning curve for the game is fairly simple.
I have nothing bad to say about this game. It auto-saves so you never have to worry about losing any progress, it’s cheap, it’s addictive to play and well designed, and it looks and sounds like an 8-bit dream. I recommend that everyone picks this game up.
Score: 10 out of 10