Created by Kairosoft in 2010 Game Dev Story is an iOS and Android exclusive title, focusing around the idea of being in charge of your own video game company to be able to create your dream games and make your team of employees the most talented in the industry. GDS (Game Dev Story) is a simulation title, most of your actions will take place within menus and you will sit back and see how your choices unfold, it is very much like a cross between The Sims and a game like Farmville. Each task will take a certain amount of time, once completed however that is when you get the chance to reap the many benefits. GDS offers an entertaining and addictive experience on-the-go, for those who dream of creating a game but do not have the skills to do so; this is a way for them to live out that fantasy. Though the game is not without issues, this certainly scratches those gaming itches on the mobile platforms.
Game Dev Story oozes style and charisma, graphically the game is created in the 8-bit style of past gaming generations. Even though mobile gaming has proven that graphics can almost rival the console experience, GDS’s 8-bit style is very charming and adds to the aesthetic. Almost the entire game will have you situated within an almost top-down view of your office space, viewing your employees as they work. This space can be upgraded over the 20 year lifespan of any playthrough, upgrading to a larger office space will only allow you to employee more staff, but sadly no further aspects of the space can be upgraded. The games charm comes from the fact the creators really do have a love for the industry, employees will have similar names to those legends in the industry, consoles have similar names to past generations and all of these small aspects will give gamers a small grin as they recognize the nods that Kairosoft has made towards the industry itself. You don’t need to be an avid gamer to enjoy what Game Dev offers, but these easter eggs add to the fun of the experience.
One of the biggest selling points of GDS is its addictive nature; many times I wanted to play for a few minutes and would then find hours of my life taken away. Your company begins with 4 employees and you are given the ability to level them up after earning Skill Points, these Skill Points can also be used to give your games an added boost. From there you choose the console you want to create for, the genre and style of the game you want to create, creating mixtures that make sense will work in your favour when reviews are released. For example a robot, puzzle game may be a very poor combination, when an open-world shooter may excite many. When your game is being created your staff will add to the games fun factor, creativity, sound and art design, these aspects can all be increased by either training your staff or advertising for more skilled employees in many methods such as TV commercials, or internet advertising. Your company can also be advertised to build a loyal fan base; there are numerous amounts of options within GDS that will allow you to control the path your company takes. There are not the most in-depth mechanics on the platform, but they become very addictive on your path to create a Game of the Year product.
Here in lies one of the game problems, once you are deep into the 20 years that each game playthrough offers, making games becomes too easy. You are able to make a game that scores 10/10 constantly and the amount of time it takes to complete is shortened significantly, I could ship almost 3 perfect games annually and bring in large sums of annual profit. On one hand this feels good because your hard work and training has paid off, but on the other hand the game becomes completely repetitive and the incentive to continue to play wears off. I finished year 14 and gave up, I had experienced everything that the game had to offer and there was no more further rewards to finish the 20 year cycle that I know of. Once you have 3 games a year entering the Hall of Fame and the Game of the Year awards become a clean sweep for your company, the game feels complete, and some added difficulty or possibly some un-lockable content would definitely have made the end game experience better overall.
Adding to the games overall charm is the top quality sound within GDS, the audio style also reflects the 8-bit era, with some excellent catchy tunes that will have you nodding your head to the beat as you play. I have used the words charisma and charming throughout this piece and it is for good reason, everything in this game fits together as a complete dedication to the industry. The 8-bit style, the shout outs to gaming legends and the aesthetic behind the game mechanics all work together to provide this great charming personality. The gaming generations are also represented as many of the consoles announced during your playthrough will be direct reflections of their real life counterparts. These include the GameBoy, Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation, this overall love of the industry makes this game a definite purchase to lovers of the gaming world.
Game Dev Story is a title I have been interested in for years, after finally purchasing a phone that could run the game, I am very pleased with the end result. The gameplay is basic but becomes addictive quickly and your hours will magically fly by as you get lost in the world of game development. Leveling up your employees and advertising your company give you a great connection with the world, and the feeling of gratification when getting a perfect game never gets old. Sadly the end game lacks variety and repetition becomes a key issue once the game has become too easy for any challenge. Though getting to this point will take many hours of gameplay, the experience on the way is definitely a charming delight.
- Addictive Gameplay
- Dedication to the Gaming World
- 8-Bit Graphics/Audio
- Boring End Game
- Lack of Environmental Variety
Jamie Briggs runs Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @AnalogAddiction and their videos on YouTube.