Tycoon games let you manage a business. They’re usually time sinks worthy of dozens or hundreds of hours. Its a relaxation and a puzzle all in one. Turning a profit and expanding the business. I’ve played the best to worst. The good ones offer a lot of scenarios and randomness to ensure replayability. The bad ones tend to be shallow, too complicated or don’t need more than one playthrough. Here are some of the best and worst tycoon management games.
Roller Coaster Tycoon is probably the greatest of all tycoon games. It lets you operate a number of theme parks in different scenarios. You plop down rides, shops and construct roller coasters! What’s not to love? Its probably one of the most interactive and creative tycoon games out there. It is a joy building custom tracks to coasters, go carts, water slides and so on. The scenarios ensure you won’t just churn out the same park time after time again.
Prison Architect is awesome. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. There is a certain charm and humor to what could be a depressing theme. The game gives you goals and challenges, but you chose which ones you tackle. It doesn’t force you to do anything. Nothing is instantly done. Your employees need to do what you command and they take time to do it. So I guess maybe tycoon game + RTS? Its what I feel what Towns should have been.
Game Dev Tycoon is really popular and I’m not sure why. It has clean simple graphics and you get to go from the Commodore age into the future. The big problem that I had with the game is you know what will happen. Nintendo will always win, Sega will always lose. There’s no sort of replay value. Plus I kept exploiting Gameboy + RPG = extreme profit. Does that make it a bad game? No it just makes it a one dimensional game with little replay value. The game also throws you a hit game about 4 years into it. Being given a hit game makes it seem like less of an achievement.
Game Tycoon 1.5 is much different take on game development. So different that I question if its not confused tycoon with point and click adventure. I spent 5 agonizing hours in it trying to figure out what to do, because the tutorial isn’t labeled tutorial. Its very cryptic and has a lot of forced waits as you listen to voice acting over and over again. I think Game Tycoon has the most realistic system to making a game and running a company, but its just not fun or interesting.
Monopoly Tycoon lets you buy property and setup businesses around the city to make money. Then update and upgrade your businesses to meet the demands of the consumer. Its a great game, but the scenarios were too brief. So brief that I wanted to play a full game of Monopoly, but it wouldn’t let me without going into the online multiplayer against bots. That’s the only way to play a full game. The major down side is that you can’t save since its online. You need to complete the game in one sitting which sometimes would take all day.
Wildlife Park 3 is a beautiful game that really puts you in the park. It took me 3 hours just to get through all the tutorials. Its an overly complex game that really bogs you down in needless details. The scenarios are dull and feel like they’re forcing you to do things like a tutorial that lasts for hours. The uninspired sandbox mode doesn’t help either.
Zoo Park 1 is very easy to play. Like Roller Coaster Tycoon, but with animals. So easy it becomes pointless. You grow your zoo and you grow it and you grow it. You unlock things to improve your animals like mating and stuff like that. Overall it quickly felt like a chore of a game. No scenarios hurt my enjoyment. Its just one park that goes forever.
Farming World I think is the same engine as Zoo Park 1. Very simple to use, very easy to master to the point that I started wondering why? Why do I need to make my farm bigger when I turn a few hundred thousand dollars in profit a year? You have a rival in the game, but he does dick. He can have a far bigger farm than you, but it means nothing. Since there are no scenarios, you just have your one farm forever.
Sid Miers Railroads! is a true tycoon game. I love buying stock in other companies, building railroads, and building factories to make use of everything my trails harvest. Its a lot of fun against bots even if the game is pretty simple and lacks any sort of modes. Its also REALLY crash heavy. Plus you’ll laugh at how cities will get buried under 90 tracks. You can even bid in auctions for enhancements and upgrades or simply to make your opponents sweat.
Total Extreme Wrestling is a text based wrestling promotion management. I’ve sank many years into the franchise. Its a game of slow progress, even if you dream up stuff and make it happen. You’re going somewhere little by little. I’ve nailed it down to a math formula rather than dreaming up perfect storylines. Matches and angles lead to overall ratings. Those ratings will either gain or lose your promotion’s popularity to make you more money and keep you in business.