I figured I could do a quick review of Game Dev Story. The whole premise of this game is to run your own video game company. It’s done in a simulation style of game play which works very well with this game. When you start out you've got three employees (two developers and your secretary) with room to hire two more people, so make sure you hire for positions you need. Starting out I didn’t have a talented team and still didn’t even after my tenth project had been completed. Of course it was also my first time playing so there was a learning curve that I had to go through in order to get better at the game. It can get a little stressful worrying about handling resources of the company and the day to day operations. Advertising, salaries, hiring new (and better) workers, paying for the additional work an employee wants to do for your project (watch out for when they fail), buying items from the salesman who stops by once a year and so much more.
You have control over how your company will progress, the projects you do and ultimately how quickly your company rakes in the cash. Personally I didn’t think too much strategy was needed to meet the goals placed ahead of me, but I was dead wrong. After finishing my first play through I had realized so many areas where I went wrong, but most importantly how to go about avoiding or fixing the issues the next time they came up. As I started my second play through I didn’t rush and start spending on the freelance people I could hire to improve my games to high levels early on. Instead I focused on contract work to help develop my employees to be just as great. Spending money on advertising isn’t needed if your company is churning out high quality games, because gaming magazines, TV shows and even gamers themselves will happily talk about your products if they are good enough. Plus the better the review score, the better the chance is the console maker will feature it as a major exclusive at the gaming conventions. Speaking of gaming conventions there is Gamedex every year (E3 for the ones in the know) and you have a few options as to what you want your company to do at the event. You can either not attend (not recommended), not hire anyone (basically the people already part of your staff will cover the event), buy costumes (for a family friendly appeal), hire booth babes (brings a lot of male attention to your games on display) or hire a guest star (which will bring national attention to your booth and whatever you are working on). Gamedex is important at first as you’re building up your development studio for it will bring much needed attention to your game (first time I went to Gamedex I had 6,000 show up at my booth. Now it’s up to 90,000 people).
I greatly enjoyed handling every aspect of running my own video game company. I wish there were a few more things you could do within the game, such as developing an online community that you could actually interact with and get direct feedback from. Personally would have liked to have other companies to compete with or form partnerships with. Outside of those there are just a few things that execution wise I think could have (and ultimately should have) been better. For instance the hiring feature they have, I would have like to see more control over who you went after. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a random list of people who have pathetic stats it would have been better to just pull from a database of constantly changing available employees.
The game sets you in for a 20 year time frame to beat the records set in front of you, but the game doesn’t end after those 20 years are up. You can still improve your staff, make games, develop your own portable/home console and pretty much everything you did before the 20 years ended. It’s just the rankings you set for your first 20 years will not be adjusted and no new platforms (excluding the ones your company make) release. Pretty much I was left with setting my own personal goals and that didn’t really keep me playing.
A friend of mine recommended the game to me a while back, but I never got around to actually playing it. With it being recommended by him and my game schedule having become very open a couple weeks ago I finally took the plunge. As a result I’m very happy with the game and highly recommend everyone tried it out either on iOS or Android phones or iPods.
J1ML Score: 8.5/10