Almost four years ago, I wrote a review on Mad Games Tycoon, during my phase of playing every game development game out there. I recall being impressed with it, but as it was early access back then, I did note it was a bit flawed. It recently came out of Early Access, and also released on Switch – which is the platform on which this review is based – so I couldn’t really have asked for a better reason to dive back in.
I was impressed with this in my original play, but there really has been a lot of attention to detail put into Mad Games Tycoon. You can really build a game development studio exactly how you want – build games that you would want to play, or engines that you can give to other developers to build their games with, or a combination of the two. You could really immerse yourself in building a company that you’d be proud to run, and you’ll find that as you get more and more into the game, you’ll start to lose track of time, which is the hallmark of all good simulation games. Once five or six hours have passed and you think it’s only been ten minutes, then you know you’re in for a good time.
Building and developing games is the core of Mad Games Tycoon, and thankfully, it’s really solid. There are scores of different genres and features to research and put into your game, and tweaks thereafter that let you alter exactly where your focus on any given title is. With each game that you create, you learn a bit more about how to make that game better for next time – not just mental notes, but actual physical representations of where you should be spending your time in the game. I can’t remember if this was in the original version of the game, but it did make my enjoyment of it significantly higher, because I no longer was just hoping that my random distribution of mechanics would make players think the game is quirky and cool – now I had hard facts and evidence to suggest what I should be doing.
When I last wrote about Mad Games Tycoon, my main criticism was that they needed to add a tutorial in. When I first started the game, I was actually impressed and given a ray of hope – as soon as you start the game, you’re presented with a tutorial! This tutorial gives you the opportunity to learn about how to hire an employee, build a development room and create your first game. And that’s it. From there on out, you’re very much on your own. A lot of the game, at least at the start, isn’t necessarily overly tough, but there are still a few things that take some figuring out, and I feel like a bit of a pointer here or there wouldn’t be a bad thing.
While I was quite excited to play Mad Games Tycoon on the Switch, that excitement quickly waned once I booted the game up. I almost solely use my Switch as a handheld console as I like to play it while I’m on the go. Sadly, if I do choose to play the game, I look a little bit nuts as I have to hold the Switch so close to my face that I fog it up when I breathe. The major issue here is that the text and display is incredibly small, and the HUD sizer option is already set to max meaning that it can’t get any bigger, and you just end up with a huge amount of eye strain.
Finally, on the downsides, Mad Games Tycoon seems an insanely hasty and poorly made port for the Switch that doesn’t utilise any of the useful features of the Switch. For this type of game especially, being a simulation game where you spend a lot of time building areas and using menus, you would expect to be able to use the touch screen of the Switch. Everything would be made infinitely easier and better if they had implemented touch screen features into this game, but without them, it quickly devolves into a boring mess where you don’t really want to have to cycle through menu after menu just to find the one thing you’re after. I appreciate that it can be tough to rework your code to make it work with a touch screen, but the game would benefit immeasurably with it in, and would genuinely be one of the better simulation games out on the Switch.
The Final Word
There are too many flaws with Mad Games Tycoon on Switch. Yes the game has plenty of nice features and is extremely in depth, allowing you to get properly lost in the management of a development studio, but on the Switch at least, it just doesn’t play particularly well – at least not in handheld mode. If you’re like me, a handheld gamer, then I can’t recommend it. It might be slightly better if you dock your Switch, and it is certainly tremendous fun on PC, but I just don’t think it’s worth the price for the Switch version.