It becomes a bit too easy as a game reviewer to give developers a hard time for making small mistakes. Most of us have no idea what goes into the process. With Game Dev Tycoon, the player is educated a bit in the hardships endured by game developers. However, this addicting indie game isn't all bad times and frustration.
Throughout the life of your in-game studio, you will be plagued with great ideas gone bad, multiple people pirating your game and dreams of the perfect review scores being crushed. From the very first choice you make, the success/failure of your company is entirely in your hands. It doesn't hurt to have a little bit of luck as well.
Game Dev Tycoon is a menu-based game that puts the player in control of their own startup game studio. The player begins with a basic choice of Topic and Genre, which at first can seem pretty straight-forward with combinations like Space Adventure or Pirate Action, but over time, you're able to unlock more genres and game topics, making the games a lot more complex.
Over time players can make new engines for more intricate and better functioning games. This can become expensive and feels a bit cumbersome as you seem to be making a new engine about every five games as demand for newer and better seems to constantly rise. While, yes, this is true of the real world in gaming, it can be pretty hard on the average gamer.
While it's important to nail a good genre/topic combo, the most important mechanic in the game is the micromanagement of the employees in your company. Having a good balance between design and technology proficiency is key for developing more complex games.
This is where your complete success or absolute failure will be decided. You can get near perfect reviews on your game and only 20k copies sold. Only when you find the perfect balance and mixture will everything fall into place. The strategy behind these decisions is what makes the game so addicting.
Game Dev Tycoon has a very simple graphics interface. Due to this, it is easy to pick up and learn quickly. The audio, however, can be annoying at times. I would turn off the music and three minutes later it would come back. While the music isn't terrible, there is only one song. It can become grating after a period of time.
Greenheart Games' anti-piracy tactics have made the game infamous. For those unfamiliar, the studio released a "doctored" copy of the game to various pirating outlets that would bankrupt users very quickly and tell them their game was pirated too much. This infuriated a lot of gamers, but overall, the gaming community loved this tactic.
While Game Dev Tycoon is a very difficult game, it really does provide a semi-realistic view of the game-making process. It gives the player a new respect for those that make a living developing the games they love. It feels like a very grown-up and expanded version of Game Dev Story from Android and iOS, which the developers have said inspired them. Made by two guys, it is a very well done casual game that is easy to sink multiple hours into. The $8 price tag is well worth it for roughly 15 hours of gameplay. If you want a fun game to just relax with and click around, it's hard to go wrong with Game Dev Tycoon.