reviews\ Apr 19, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Game Tycoon - PC - Review

The tycoon genre of games has plenty of variations. You can run an airport, zoo, casino, railroad, and even build a colony on the moon. Some are fun, like building and then riding your own roller coaster, but many are more work than play. Game Tycoon is the ladder. It does nothing to innovate, and feels like a game that was released 5 years ago.

Many video game players often dream of working in the video game industry, and being a part of the game making process. I'm one of them, and was looking forward to this game. I was hoping Game Tycoon would offer a fun simulation of the steps to make a video game. What you get instead is a game that feels very dated, and has you running through a very cookie cutter process.

When you start the game campaign, you enter a company name, pick from 3 characters, 3 levels of difficulty, and 7 logos. Many of the logos are slight modifications of existing logos. For example, the Rockstar logo is used, but with a P instead of an R. Only after reading the manual did I find out the back story of the characters, and realize that I could have uploaded my own logo. Nobody reads game manuals anymore. This information should have been included in the game.

The first mission includes an annoying tutorial. Not only did I have a hard time following his instructions, he kept repeating the same thing over and over every 15 seconds. Many times the voice instruction would overlap another player's voice so that I couldn't understand either of them. Then when I entered the printing room, the printer was too loud to hear the voices. They built a PDA into the game, why couldn't more help text have been added there? On the other hand, the PDA has its own issue. If you didn't catch a message that popped up, you can't go back to read previous messages. Luckily, many of these frustrations go away after the tutorial.

Next you build an engine, picking from a dozen check boxes. Then you build the game, get a publisher, print & market the game. All of these steps are only giving you a few options. Sure, a couple more options are unlocked in later years, but it still doesn't feel very fun or creative. After the tutorial, there are 10 missions. Some variety and complexities do show up later in the game. Mission 4 as quoted from the game is to "Get with a hot member of the opposite sex by acquiring status symbol". As with the rest of the game, it wasn't as exciting as it sounds.

Game Tycoon was developed in Germany by Beat Games. There are a handful of translation mistakes throughout the game. Some are minor, and some are annoying. For example, much of the currency in the game has thousands separated by a period like $100.000. That would be acceptable if it was consistent. However, when you view the catalog at your home, within the same catalog page you see a price like $10,000 and another price listed as 5.000 $. It can get a bit confusing.

If you are looking for a fun simulation or tycoon experience, look towards some of the other great games that have been released in this genre. If you are looking for a fun game to simulate being in the gaming industry, this isn't the game. System requirements are low, and the price should be low, but it's still not worth a purchase.

Review Scoring Details for Game Tycoon

Gameplay: 4.2
Navigating to each building is fairly painless once you learn the shortcut of double clicking. However, many of the menus and icons used during the game building process can be confusing. In the end, there just isn't much satisfaction after completing each mission.

Graphics: 4.4
The characters, map and locations have a cartoon style. Unfortunately, there isn't much variety, and you'll be seeing the same dozen screens over and over throughout the game.

Sound: 3.6
The game has average music and average voice work. What brings the grade below average is the overlapping music, voices, and ambient sounds.

Difficulty: Medium
There are other tycoon games that are more difficult. The hardest part of this game is finding something fun.

Concept: 4.0 
The tycoon/simulation model is not new, and nothing was done to improve upon the genre. If only the games you created could have been playable as a mini-game.

Overall: 4.1
The only enjoyment I got out of this game was seeing some sprites from classic games after completing a mission. The rest was just boring, if not annoying or frustrating.

Below Average

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