Review: Game Dev Story

Game Dev Story
by Kairosoft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been thinking lately that I need to start reviewing my android apps. Between my Captivate phone and my Nook running CM7, I use android apps pretty much all day, every day, at least as much as I use my eInk readers. I was honestly planning to start with some productivity and writing apps, but instead I got unexpectedly addicted this week to Game Dev Story, so... we'll start there.

How do I love this game? Let me count the ways. I love that it's a single price on the Google Market and there is no possibly way to give the company money besides buying this game. In other words, this isn't one of those "games" where you have to keep sinking more and more money into it to keep playing or to access all the toys. And when you buy the game, it's ad-free. My goodness, it's like it's an actual game company instead of a money-sucking schema.

I love that the game plays when I run it and not when I don't -- it's not one of those games where you have to set a timer to remember to come back at 3 am because that's when your crops need to be harvested. I love that the game is the perfect speed; not so fast that I feel like I'm unable to keep up and not so slow that I'm bored.

I love the subject matter: you're head of a game development company and you make video games. The market changes in a "historical" fashion -- fans will recognize the development of the Sega Genesis, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Playstation, etc. -- but also in a realistic fashion based on which consoles you, as a developer, choose to support. I love being able to piece together my own star team of programmers and I love having a team of all-women right out of the gate.

Code, girls! Code like the wind!

I love that there are different job types and specialties and it's not just "can you code?" but also who does the writing, who does the graphics, who does the music. (I wish my Real Life company would realize that.) I love the cute training options, and my goodness but finding good game combinations is addictive.

I haven't been able to put this down for two days now. To be fair, Husband watched me play for two minutes and dismissively called it a "spreadsheet game", so you might try the free demo first, but I love it and that's good enough for me.

~ Ana Mardoll


Dav said...

So what's the gameplay actually like? Are you just assigning people to slots and then choosing a genre and a platform? Is it time management-y?

Ana Mardoll said...

So you decide to develop a game, and then pick Platform (tricky! There's lots and you can't afford to do them all), Genre (RPG, Motion, Puzzle, etc.), Type (Fantasy, Dance, Chess, etc.), and Direction (basically how you want to budget the thing).

There are four major phases of game development: Writing, Graphics, Sound, and Debugging. For the first three phases, you choose a project lead who (hopefully) starts you off with bonus points in the relevant category. Every game phase takes, oh, a minute or less depending on your Direction. (Some provide speed boosts.)

During the game, you earn Research Points which you can spend to level up your peeps or make your current game better. CONUNDRUM. And you can earn fast cash and research points between games by taking a quick outsourcing job.

The game year is broken up by highlights such as Paying Your Employees, Buying Boosts From The Traveling Vendor, Choosing To Attend The Gamedex Conference, and Game Of The Year Awards.

Dav said...

Huh. That sounds kind of fun. (I hope they support the awesome potential of chess RPGs.)

Ana Mardoll said...

When you get rich enough to buy the best talent, train everyone up, and devote Double Budget to everything, it looks like you can push your will on the market pretty effectively. :D

Deird said...


Just when I was getting bored enough with my phone games to actually get some work done...

chris the cynic said...

For reasons I don't really understand, this post made me want to play An Inconvenient Game which I played until I won just now, now I'm going to try to fill out various items on the checklist.

Francis D said...

... I think I broke it.

I decided to try the free version because of your rec. After five years I have $6 million in the kitty, have hit both #4 amd #3 on the sales rankings and I've got a team of good programmers none of whom is below L4 (and most are at level 5). And the economic engine appears to be running like a rocket.

Still I'm giving £1.60 to the devs.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ha! I tip my hat to you, as you clearly power-game more effectively than I. :D

Deird said...

Well. I've just spent about five hours playing this game...

(Not as well as Francis, though. Yowzaa.)

Ana Mardoll said...

BUWHAHAHAHAHAHA. Now you can all be unproductive and addicted like me. *evil grin*

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