Game Review: Game Developer Story
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any loss of productivity, free time, or other damages that may occur as a result of purchase and use of the game reviewed hereafter.
Game Developer Story came as something of a surprise to me. I’ve had some serious reservations when it’s come to gaming on smart phones, and although I’ve bought more than my share of games for my iPhone, I’ve never found any that have shone quite like this. GDS is a “Sim Tycoon” game, in the same genre as Rollercoaster Tycoon or the Sims. You start out as a fledgling game development studio, with two employees, $500,000, and a dream. You generally wind up as an eight-man team whose members’ footsteps cause the barren earth to erupt with life due to massive creative talent, and more money that Creosote.
Like most sim games, there’s no story to speak of, but there are numerous goals you can aim for, such as designing a “Hall of Fame” worthy game, selling a million copies of a title, or developing your own console. The scope of GDS is pretty expansive, and will have you managing all sorts of aspects of the business of game design, from advertisement and headhunting for prospective employees to deciding what you’ll have at your booth at the yearly games convention.
You’ll have plenty of stats and elements to keep track of, from employees’ skills and salaries to the market share of a particular console you’re developing for, but it never becomes overwhelming; the designers have managed to strike an excellent balance between intricacy and micromanagement hell, and it shows. You don’t have to worry about every little detail to crank out a blockbuster title, but if you want to, the option’s there, and it can pay off big.
Unlike a lot of smartphone-based games, GDS isn’t exactly pick-up-and-play. You won’t accomplish much in five minutes of game time, so it’s not ideal for the truly casual audience. It doesn’t run in the background (at least on the iPhone), forcing you to reload from a save file if you take a call or need to use another application. It does have a prolific autosave function, but only offers one save game file, which can be frustrating at times. If you reach the 20-year mark, the supposed “end of the game”, it makes a note of your accomplishments, and from that point on you are no longer being scored, but can continue playing as long as you like. If you start a new game, any genres or types of games you’ve leveled up carry over to the next save, a sort of New Game+, which is a nice touch.
Overall, GDS is a fantastic title. Its graphical style is simplistic and harkens back to the style of a lot of classic SNES JRPGs, and its user interface gets the job done. The music also brings back memories of SNES games, but can get repetitive. Gameplay is fantastic, detailed, and I must stress this part, horribly, utterly addictive. I must have lost a good 15+ hours to this game, and loved every minute of it. My only complaints are the lack of support for multiple save files, and the fact that the judges at the Global Game Awards are obviously being bribed by the suits at Senga.
Rating: 9/10 (Buy)
Platforms: iPhone, Android