Review: Game Dev Story – Simulating a Game Development Company

Available On: iOS, Android

Price: Free, $2.50, $3.99 on iTunes

Download: Google Play | iTunes

Ever wanted to know what it was like to own your Game Development Company and rise through the ranks as Blizzard Entertainment or Rovio has? Ever wanted to mange your own staff? Make millions of dollars? Show off your game and win awards at a yearly awards show? Now you can with Game Dev Story, a simulation game by Kairosoft! It does all of that and so much more.

The game is very limited as to what you can do. I think I played for about 2 1/2 hours before I beat the game and it told me there was nothing left to do. It then gave me the option to continue playing as year by year went on, or finish the game and start all over. I chose to stop playing as I saw no point in continuing on with that adventure since there was literally nothing else to do. So before you decide to read on, if 2 1/2 hours of content for you is enough, I do suggest this game, if not, don’t waste your time with it. It really isn’t worth it.

Game Dev Story is a very fun game for the 2 1/2 hours it gives you. It’s also rather pricey for only 2 1/2 hours in total of gameplay. It originally was $3.99 and right now is currently 40% in honor of their new game, “The Sushi Spinnery”. I’m very glad I only paid $2.50 for it, even though it wasn’t even worth that much, I am glad I caught it on sale. I should also mention this game is extremely easy to play and rarely are their any penalties.

Upon entering the game and naming your company, you’ll be prompted to hire a bunch of staff so you can start the creation of your first video game. To do this you’ll have to go through Kairosoft’s very nicely developed and designed retro (Nintendo Entertainment System themed) UI. The UI is outstanding and very clean. There isn’t much confusion with it aside from a few option that I felt did not belong in the game or were very useless to my adventures of becoming the best game company ever.

Hiring staff is easy…if you have money. The game starts you off with a limited amount of funds like most game companies do. From there, you have to hire staff with that moneyand launch a video game project. If this isn’t enough money for you, there’s an option to take a contract job which usually pays rather nicely, not as much as releasing your game, but it does pay well. That will give you some extra funds to go the extra mile with your game so you aren’t entirely limited to just what your staff wants to do.

In Game Dev Story, games are made up of Creativity, Fun, Graphics, Sound Engineering and bugs. Getting all these options to the highest possible score will guarantee you and your company an award the yearly awards show and also attract a lot of people at the year Gamedex show, which is something like the Electronics Expo or Comic-Con. Getting the highest possible points in these categories will also bring you a lot of sales, thus making more money. Higher scores will also get you in the top 10 list of best selling games and will sometimes guarantee you a way to make a sequel to that game.

Sequels are interesting. It seems as if your game makes the top ten list, from then on you will always be able to make a sequel and earn tons of money and fame for your company. Which again, makes the game way to easy and offers little to no penalty. The worse thing that can happen with doing that, is losing a diversity in your fan base. So if you decide to make a Fantasy RPG, your fans will be based around that while others stop being a fan of your company because you didn’t make a game they wanted or that was different from the RPG genre. It really is kind of weird.

In Game Dev Story you can also upgrade your office twice to hold more staff and get things done faster. How fast it was upgrading me, I wish they would of had a lot more than just two upgrades. Again, the game is only 2 1/2 hours long, so upgrading you faster is kind of necessary I guess. Unless after you beat the game you want to continue on. At that point upgrades should really be slower. I really felt like the game just flew by, it was ridiculous.

When starting out in Game Dev Story, your games are going to flat out suck. Barely anyone is going to like them and it will be very hard to start establishing a fan base. The reason for this is because of your limited amount of money, you have to hire amateur developers and not the experts. Once you start earning a few million dollars, you can fire your amateurs and hire experts. I was often doing this so I could get the best possible outcome of my game. By the time I had enough money to get all of the very best though, there was nothing left to do in the game. I ended up only making one game with all the best staff, the only thing that really happened was I got an award and was #1 on the sales charts.

The game is fun, I love the pixelated graphics, it really added something to the game. The soundtrack in the game was alright. Not the best, but it was alright and easy to live with for 2 1/2 hours. I am most disappointed in the lack of content in the game. I guess one reason why Kairosoft publishes games so fast is because of the lack of content. I’ve seen that with two of their games now.

Would I suggest this game to a friend? Unless they had three hours to blow, I wouldn’t. Especially if they didn’t like retro graphics and a very lacking amount of content.