I often wondered when I would run into a mobile game that I would not be able to put down. I finally got a taste of mobile game addiction when I made an impulsively bought Game Dev Story in the Google Market for my Motorola Droid.
Game Dev Story (GDS) is a fun little video game publishing sim with charming 8-bit graphics. It played very similar to a cheap knock off lemonade tycoon game I once played on my Helio Ocean (it was the closest thing to a smart phone that I could afford at the time). However, unlike most sim business games that I have played in the past this one actually presented me with a slight challenge making it quite the addictive game when learning how to work the game's system.
In GDS, you start as a small independent video game publishing company. You can hire a staff of up to four people consisting of a team built of Writers, Coders, Sound Engineers, Designers, Directors, Producers, Hackers, or Hardware Engineers who can be trained and cross trained to hone their skills in four various disciplines.
Once your team has been assembled you then can start developing your first game for either the PC market or you can pay a licensing fee to develop for a video game console, which always has a larger market in the game. After you have selected what platform you will be developing for then you will need to decide on the game's genre (RPG, Shooter, Puzzle, etc) and type (Art, Airplane, War, etc). Keep in mind that it would not be wise to simply match any genre with any type of game. You will need to be congnizant of what combinations you use because various game recipes can yield you either negative or positive feedback and ultimately effect game sales. Additionally, you will also be presented with the option on how you want to approach development such as if you will focus on developing with speed in mind in order to rush a game out before the Christmas holiday or you can focus on quality which will lengthen the development process and also cost more.
Once all of your pre-development decisions have been made, your team will start work immediately. Along the way, you will have at least three opportunities to focus on certain aspects of the game. For instance, around the time the game hits 40% completion the beta stages of development begin and you will have the opportunity to select one of your workers to focus on the game’s graphics to give it a boost. During this time you will have several other opportunities to better your game and game sales such as deciding on the direction of your marketing campaign.
GDS is quite deep considering it is a mobile game. You will have many opportunities to fine-tune your company from how to recruit new talent, to taking side contracts where your talent will work outside the video game industry to boost the company’s revenue, to how you decide to market yourself in at the next video game expo. Eventually you will even have the opportunity to develop your own video game system or try to win the grand prize at the end of the year video game awards.
It would be wrong to mention that part of the fun with this game is seeing all the parody cameos in the game. You will get to develop for systems such as the Sonny Playstatus and the Intendro DM, you will even have the opportunity to hire such talent like Walt Sydnee as your producer or Stephen Jobson as your coder.
Now, despite the fact that this game is highly addictive and keep you busy for many hours. Once your talent becomes well trained, it becomes quite easy to develop a game that wins the “Game of the Year Award” every year. At this point, the game started to feel a bit redundant and after about four or five days of playing I felt that I was pretty much done with it. Granted my longest session of playing GDS was about 5 hours! Therefore, the game should last you at least 5-10 hours before you get tired of it, which is not bad considering it is a mobile game. If you happen to just play casually as most mobile games should be played, this game could potentially last you a week or longer. Then again, there is nothing wrong with starting the game all over to see if you can do better faster. Unfortunately, I paid just under $5 for the game, not that the game is not worth the $5 but I’ve found that the game has gone on sale at least twice once just before I bought it and another time after I bought it. I believe the app was even $1.99 at one time, at that price point Game Dev Story is a steal.
Being that this is the first review, I’ve ever written in my life I’m going to grade the game on a 10pt scale. Because of the games fun spoofs and depth for a mobile game, I feel Game Dev Story deserves a high grade. However, because I personally felt finished with the game in just under one week, I’m going to give Game Dev Story an 8 out of 10.