Monday, 17 March 2014

App Review No. 48 Game Dev Story

Strong Points:
Lots of content
Nice retro-y graphics
Great, catchy soundtrack
Levelling system is good (both employees and genres)
Stats and advertisement systems are good and easy to understand
Great in-game story and feedback of games
The ability to name your own game as well as decide what console it goes on and which direction you take it
Boost system is helpful
Winning an award feels good
Puns of video game consoles, companies and designers are all funny and (mostly) easy to tell who or what they were before the wordplay changes

Weak Points:
Gamedex doesn't appear to do much
You can't decide about anything in your game besides the genre and title
The consoles aren't updated and so the game lacks a few
There are only three offices to move to
No updates of more content
Towards the end all in-game challenge is lost
You can't have two projects at the same time

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
Japan: April 1997 (PC)
World Wide: 9th October 2010

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Right then, so right now I am writing a game review about a gaming company sim where you can make games which, theoretically, could be about making games. Right. Anyway, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can return to the actual game.

Game Dev Story is a game about developing games as part of a video games company. You start the game by naming your company and are then placed in a small office with only two employees, a secretary, some money and all your game designing dreams. Next up, you have to hire some more employees (two to be exact, your original office can only support four employees) which you can do in a number of ways such as word of mouth or a magazine article. More hiring options become available as you progress. Once you've paid the fee for advertising and the replies have come back you can pick another two employees (or four if you want to be harsh and fire your original ones) based on either their stats (programming - console development and all round and writing - fun, graphics and sound), their salary or just how funny their name is.

When these new employees have joined your ranks, you'll want to get to the serious business of making a game. Video games in Game Dev Story are made by choosing a genre and a type as well as a console (again, I'll talk about these later on) and direction (such as quality or speed). If the genre and type are a good match such as Robot Shooter or Action Ninja then your team will be very excited to work on it, the genre and type may level up giving you more points to allocate to game direction (which is different to direction and involves things like polish, approachability and cuteness) and will be better received by fans.

Then you have to choose who is going to work on the game outline (basically the story and gameplay) but remember that a sound engineer or a graphics designer won't be able to (unless they have been a coder or writer previously). You can pick from either your own employees' which will do this for free (as they already have a salary) or use an outside source which you have to pay for there and then. After that's been done, your employees will happily work (an icon of the different stats - Fun, Creativity, Graphics, Sound, Bugs or Research Data - they up will appear above their heads and increase the equivalent stat) until the game is 40% done and then you need to choose an employee or outside source to increase the graphics and then at 80% through the game it's the time for sound. Finally, at 100% into the game your employees will start squashing those bugs, turning them into research data.

You can then decide on a name for your game before handing it over to the critics. If they judge it good enough then it will go into the Hall of Fame and you can make a sequel for it. Next, is time for the real critics, the customers. After a week, you''ll get a chart ranking (30 and up to be counted, although you can get lower than the chart as well). Other recognitions of your great game come in the form of fan mail and articles in the Game Guy Magazine as well as TV sections, other magazine articles or just general hype, among others. All of these methods add to your number of fans which you can increase by advertising which come in the form of Magazine Articles to Lunar Writing and anything in between. Obviously, the bigger the advertising scheme, the more it costs.

Right, so now onto consoles. Originally, you can only develop games for the PC but throughout the game different companies will start making consoles based on real life ones so if you know you're gaming history you'll know which consoles to develop (the PlayStatus or Game Kid) for and which to not (the Neon Geon or the Virtual Kid).Once you've gotten a hardware engineer (unlocked once an employee has had every other job at level 5) then you can develop your own console which you earn all the profits from and don't have to pay as much to develop games for it. But be warned, it takes a long time to make a console and your fans can get bored.

The last thing you can work on are contracts. A choice of three jobs from other companies who give you a set time limit in which you have to get so many stats. The main point for contracts is the extra money but you also gain a lot of research points which you can use to level up your people or use a boost. Talking of boosts, there are six types for each of the six stats and you can buy items for each of them. These boosts can be bought from the travelling salesman (along with dead bull which restores your employee's energy, and career change manual) with each boost steadfastly rising in price. Your employees can also ask you to try to boost one of the four main stats (Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound) for a fee and some research points.

There are also two different events that you can partake in. One is Gamedex where you pay to go either hiring something such as animal costumes or a special guest or go with no one. People then come to see your games and from what I can see the only thing the event does is give you a chance to beat your personal or friends' records. The second is the Global Game Awards which give you a chance to win five awards (best design, best music, runners up, worst game and the grand prize) as well as a cash award for each trophy (except for the worst game which gives a penalty). While this doesn't directly affect your game past the cash prizes it feels good when you know that one of your games has won an award.

Finally, are the graphics, music and puns. The graphics, while not the best, do have a sort of retro-y feel to them which is nice. The music on the other hand is one of the catchiest tunes I've ever heard on an app or even a full budget game and you will be humming it for hours. And then there are the puns which range from Intendro all the way to Ima Gamer and will have you trying to guess what the puns could be throughout the whole game.

Sadly, later on in the game, you can pump out games at an astonishing rate and at astonishingly high standards so that you never need to fear not getting a number one or into the hall of fame. Consoles cease to be released and besides the achievements and the search for perfection you will eventually run out of things to do. Luckily, this point takes hours to get to.

Overall, Game Dev Story is a nice and not so little app that will keep you entertained for hours. I strongly recommend you buy it.

Rating: 95%

Goodbye for now, Harry

Update: minor issues have been fixed

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