Since Game Dev Tycoon, there have been a fair few imitators looking to elbow their way into the genre and capitalise on the warm reception that fans afforded it. Considering the entire idea behind the genre is games development, you would hope that developers are able to produce some excellent simulations of what they and other developers go through in order to push out a game, but there have been some real damp squibs released from opportunistic developers that don’t really want to provide an excellent experience, but cash in on the ‘hot’ thing. It happens with every genre, but because I really enjoyed Game Dev Tycoon, and the fact it is a very new genre, I think I’ve picked up on it more and become a little more wary about the quality of games released.
Enter Game Corp DX. It is cheap as chips at £2 (or £1.50 if you bought it in the Winter sale like I did!), which normally sets off alarm bells, but this time it was made by a developer I knew and respected – Endless Loop Studios, creator of Survivor Squad and Survivor Squad Gauntlets. While the latter may not have been a stellar hit, the former certainly was great fun and there was enough about it to give me faith that Game Corp DX would be a game worth playing.
I must have spent around five hours playing it until the “end” of the game, though that could have been down half due to me being inept and half me not wanting to expand my team just yet so I can get more $$$. Considering the game was so cheap, it’d be an understatement to say that it’s a surprise the game has such longevity to it, but you could probably get even more hours out of it than I did. I quit as soon as the ‘story’ finished, but immediately following on after the story, you’re able to continue in an endless mode, giving you the opportunity to grow your team to enormous size. There are four different offices to move to once you’ve outgrown the previous one, and a bunch of well known developers available to recruit to make you really feel like you’re organising a dream team of a development studio, which really does make the game fun.
There are also a decent amount of variety throughout the game, particularly around the staff and the games development. Each staff member may come with any random traits such as falling asleep at their desk too much, but are still able to produce star quality work (when they do it), which can be removed or added at the will of the player once they’ve nearly completed the game. They also have four distinct skillsets which they may specialise in – writing, coding, art and audio – and each level of this allows them to use better software which in turns lets you create better games. It adds a decent level of depth and personal management that really makes the game worth playing.
It’s probably not going to come as a surprise that a game so cheap comes with a bit of baggage, and some of it is pure laziness on the part of the developer. The worst of it affects something you will do rather frequently – moving items around. You’ll want to rearrange your office space to bring in new faces, make the place more efficient in terms of fridges and water coolers or even place down a few morale-boosting statues, it’s a common occurrence and the way to do it is relatively straight forward, except for one thing. In order to make things move into a new slot, it needs to be placed in an entirely new area. For example, if you have a workstation you want to move that takes up two spots, instead of being able to move it down one square, you have to move it to a completely separate two squares and then move it to where you want it to go. Not only is it frustrating to do this, it’s totally unnecessary and really should have been addressed when the developer was writing the game.
While it is definitely an addictive play, it’s not exactly a challenge. As soon as I made it to the second office I’d worked out all the quirks and how to play the game, so I ended up winning every single award at every award ceremony, and every one of my games were given top marks by every publication. There’s also nothing outside of developing games – in Game Dev Tycoon you had the occasional random event pop up but in Game Corp DX, there’s nothing like it. Instead, you’ve got a bunch of cookie-cutter developers who – in between naps – develop games without any input from you. While it’s nice to see your studio developing top notch games, it’s also incredibly boring having nothing to do with the process other than defining who does what in the project.
The last of my quibbles is the overall lack of polish the game has. A lot of the icons, for example, look as though the developer has just got them off a free icon website. There are also plenty of spelling mistakes throughout, giving credence to the notion that the developer tried to knock something up quickly as a cash-grab.
I mentioned earlier that some developers may be seeing the lack of games in the ‘games development tycoon’ genre as an opportunity to knock something up quickly in order to make some money, and Game Corp DX walks a fine line between providing a fun game and being an unpolished turd. There are a lot of fun aspects to it, and it is addictive enough for me to want to see out all the story and complete the game, but it’s definitely not a great game. Despite that, it is only the cost of a cup of coffee, and for that price, you can’t really go wrong. It’s definitely fun enough to spend £2 on and you’ll more than likely enjoy the experience a lot more.