Game Tycoon is a very unique tycoon game to the point it could be considered a point and click adventure / tycoon game. Nothing is laid out with menus, its all places and locations. You have a university, office plaza, media plaza and your home (which seems pointless). In these locations they are like city streets, you need to scroll your mouse left and right and click on doors. One click will have your player character enter, two clicks will automatically enter. When inside a building, you see a room and need to find what you want to do. It makes the controls needlessly cumbersome. To see how many copies you have in stock, you need to go across town. To see your finances, you need to go back across town. It is crazy.
The game is very click based as if it could be a mobile game, you won’t find hot keys or even menus. Right mouse clicking exits you out of an area. Stats and charts need to be found in rooms and areas. Even then, there’s no depth. There is no way to see how well games are selling, you just need to hope they sell well that month at the price you’ve set. You can visit a university magazine stand to find out the most popular games and genres for $4 each time. You can visit a game store in the media plaza to see where your games rank. You can visit an advertising executive to publicize your games, your company and see how you stack compared to the two other companies you’re competing against. You can even visit a banker, take out a loan, buy and sell stocks of your company and the other three. Those are nice features, but when you visit the banker and executive, you need to talk with them. Click something to say and listen for them to say it before you can continue. If you dare click on something else it could cause a glitch that will loop the speech if not crash a menu 10 seconds later. It is stunning.
When you play, there is no hand holding. I needed to figure out to visit my office, create a game engine (or license one), then click and drag the ‘print out’ into my inventory. Then go next door to the development office? Once there, I need to click and drag the ‘print out’ into the project list. After that, since I had no employees, I had to go to the university and figure out that I needed to click a bulletin board in order to find employees. The hiring system is nice, it shows you the quality in stars, and their tempo to complete the job. You hire programmers, artists and composers. Some you can hire and others that are independent. So they can get better jobs and come back to you when you need them most, but they don’t get paid when they’re not working. Then its back to the development studio with my employees. I need to click the project, then assign programmers to the engine and click start project.
After you wait a few in game days, weeks or months, its time to take that game engine project, click and drag it back into your inventory, then go next door to your office and make a new game after clicking and dragging the engine into the proper position. Creating a new game project is easy. You’ll get to chose things like what languages and what platforms. By platforms I mean, PC, arcade and console. There are no specific consoles. Just those three. Then when that is all ‘printed out,’ its back over to next door to click and drag the ‘print out’ from my inventory into the project window. Once there, I need to click on the project, then sift through my employees to assign programmers, artists and composers. The more people I have working, the faster they’ll get done. The higher quality they are, the better the game.
From there, you don’t just release the game. Once you click and drag the finished project into your inventory of course. Its off to the manufacturing facility where you click on the design table to include everything that will come with your game. By design, I mean pack the box with stuff and raise the manufacturing cost. Shirts, buttons, stickers, black and white instruction manuals, color instructions, an insert. Its all up to you! With some click and dragging. With that done you’ll visit the manufacturing machine that will churn out the copies of your game. The more copies, the cheaper they become to manufacture. Click and drag the finished product into the machine. Then start manufacturing! After a few game days, all of the copies will arrive.
Do they just sell themselves? Nope. Time to find a publisher! So you need to visit a publisher’s office and select a publishing deal from books on the wall. They all have minimum quality ratings, so your 45% quality game can’t be published with a 53% quality deal. There is a punishment for failing to release the game by the allowed time and for your trouble of making a game, you’ll get 6% of the profits depending on the deal. Some deals are far better than others.
After that, its back to the factory that has your copies. You need to click on the pallet with the finished copies and click and drag your publishing deal from your inventory into the game’s slot and flip the checkmark switch to officially release it! Wasn’t that easy? No hand holding at all!
Of course 5 hours into the game, I finally discovered the tutorial was in the campaign, but wasn’t marked as a ‘tutorial.’ I thought it was just another scenario in the campaign. The tutorial explains what to do, but it gets caught on itself and could explain things better, such as flipping through a gaming magazine had me clicking all over before I figured out to click a game title. The voice over will talk over other voice overs. Not just that, but if you go to a different location than you should be in, the tutorial narration will tell you what to do as if you’re in the correct place, instead of saying no this is the office, go to the university.
As soon as you get the hang of the 1,000 step process, it becomes an insane juggle of going between locations since there is no menu. Waiting to pan the street to the right or left. Waiting for your character to walk to the building before you realize double clicking enters the door instantly. Even though there’s a game speed, that doesn’t speed up the character. It doesn’t speed up every time I need to hear ‘I would like a bank loan,’ then hear the banker’s rebuttal.
There are visual errors here like text not disappearing when the dialog boxes do. Text overlapping out of windows. Sometimes the ticker PDA doesn’t show anything when it should have a message. The PDA (ticker) is nice, it pops up useless information like you need to pay $3,000 for golf clubs or you’re having a bad hair day. Its all random things that might as well be Chance cards from Monopoly. The PDA pop up changes the game from fast to slow, which is good, but the problem is that a lot of what the PDA shows is useless moments to make you laugh. You didn’t sleep well, because your bed broke. Stealing MP3s is bad. Visit the gametycoon website. Your employees will get sick and will be unable to work for 12 days.
The only way to get a game over is if you go into debt for more than 90 days. You can get loans and sell stock to stay a float, but even on normal, it seems difficult. Your games only make money at the start of every month. You have full control over the price of your games at the factory, but to put publicity into the games, you need to go to a different area down the street.
The game itself is difficult even on normal. Luckily there is an easy mode. To top everything off, it has crashed or permafroze a few times, so you’ll need to keep saving frequently, since there is no auto save feature. With all of that being said, there are some interesting elements in the game, but the juggle and struggle of going location to location over and over again is unfun and begging people to not play it. If only there was a menu and no traveling. The time it takes to hear people talk is just too long with no way to skip it.