I wrote earlier in the month about my trepidation when buying games under the “Games Development Tycoon” genre, because of money-hungry developers seeking a quick buck seem to pump these games out by the dozen without putting any real effort in. Add in to that a game that is currently in early access, and you’ve got a game that would make me very nervous about buying it. Despite that, Eggcode’s creation, Mad Games Tycoon, seemed a real level above other games in the genre and I couldn’t resist giving it a go.
For a game that’s still in early access, there is actually a surprising amount to it. The variety of everything in the game is phenomenal and really eclipses any other game in the genre. You’re able to decide almost everything that goes on within your company, including the building you work in and what kind of development company you’re able to be. There are around a dozen different departments to work with, and each of them can be kitted out however you see fit. If you want all the rooms in your building to conform to safety standards, then place fire extinguishers everywhere, or if you want to have a soulless cube farm, then that is also an option! There are hundreds of items to place around your building as well, each of which may be requested by your employees and all have some form of morale-boosting property. It’s actually mind-boggling to think that as this is still a game in development, there may be more to come.
I recently read another review on this game stating that they were able to exist as a development company for fifteen years or so without actually developing a game, and that this was a terrible bug in the game. I actually consider this a fantastic feature – being able to exist in the game as a company that makes nothing but engines and reaping the rewards of every other game development company out there’s hard work is a whole other level of depth available to players in the game. Yes, it’s probably not exactly what a game development company is there to do, but it definitely could be, and the fact the developer allows it in their game is phenomenal.
As I grew larger and larger and expanded into the largest building, I realised that I was actually wasting a lot of time and resources. I had one single development team, QA department and other departments contributing to the production of a single game. This definitely isn’t a bad thing, as you’ll certainly be able to be a profitable company with just the one game being developed and worked on, but when you look at the more successful games companies in real life, the real titans of the industry, you’ll notice they all have several development teams working on separate games. In other games, you’re not really allowed that level of separation between your development teams, but Mad Games Tycoon gives you free reign to create as many departments as you like in order to flood the market with your (obviously) high quality games. It’s another part of the game that really surprised me as you’re afforded so much freedom to create a company that is really in your image.
The game certainly has a lot of excellent features, but Eggcode still has a long way to go to fulfil the potential the game has. The thing I struggled with most was actually figuring out what I had to do with certain rooms, or how to get the best out of my employees, and although it does actually tell you somewhere in the game, it’s never immediately obvious. Actually figuring these things out is definitely rewarding, but when recommending it to friends, I had to preface it with “I’ll probably have to tell you what you need to do at certain points”, because there are some things that may appear obvious to the developer, but when you’re actually playing it, really aren’t.
There is also a weird quirk that I found with placing items. Often when hiring people, they’ll require a certain item in their office or in the staff room otherwise they won’t join you – and if you place it somewhere that isn’t where they’re working, their morale seems to drop off a cliff. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when they require the cheap and crappy fridge over your all-singing all-dancing fridge from the future, it does make their demand seem a little daft. Outside of that, your staff will occasionally raise a concern that there isn’t enough cabinet space, or fire extinguishers or plants around the office – another completely understandable request. However, you’re able to fulfil their desire by whacking these items wherever. It got to the point where I had an entire section of my office building set aside just for filing cabinets. I never saw anyone go near them, but my staff seemed very happy to have a filing cabinet jungle in their midst.
I really enjoy playing Mad Games Tycoon. It’s easily one of the best ‘Games Development Tycoon’ games I’ve ever played, even though it isn’t quite finished yet. For a non-complete game, it actually feels and plays really polished – aside from the parts that are missing. It definitely needs some refining, especially when it comes to help messages and tutorials, but there’s a lot to sink your teeth into.