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Game Dev Story Review (iPhone)

Game Dev Story Review (iPhone)
Game Name: Game Dev Story
Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Publisher(s): KairoSoft
Genre(s): RPG
Release Date: October 2010
ESRB Rating: N/A

I downloaded Game Dev Story at the recommendation of a game design friend and colleague.  Laughing wickedly, he told me I’d love the game but “don’t expect to get anything else done today”.  That was 4 days ago.  Thinking it was just another casual iPhone game, I ignored the warning and went ahead.

We spent every last penny on the dev kit, let's hope this one's a winner!

Every now and then, we see a game that captures our hearts and minds with the perfect blend of Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound.  A game worthy of the Hall of Fame and perhaps a sequel or two.  That’s just what Game Dev Story is about.  Making that game, or at least trying to.

Kairosoft has created something so familiar, yet truly unique.  A great game about making great games.  In Game Dev Story, you start out in a tiny office with your all knowing Secretary and staff of 4 eager game developers.  You are presented with the opportunity to work on small contracts until you have enough money to get licensed and purchase a dev kit for a current model gaming console.  Can’t afford a dev kit lisence?  No problem, you can always make PC Games but the market share is relatively small so you will have to hope you can sell alot of units.   The challenge doesn’t stop there, while you are developing games, consoles are constantly being announced and discontinued and the fees for the systems with the biggest market share are astronomical!

Next time we'll have to hire some booth babes!

In addition to timing your dev builds you have to maintain, hire, fire, train, and level up your staff, manage an advertising budget, and monitor your fan base and demographics.

What makes Game Dev Story so compelling for anyone who has had any experience in this business or a keen knowledge of its’ rich history, is the dynamic environment that is just so believable.  Any game developer can tell you what it’s like to pour hours upon hours that total into years of his or her life into a game project only to have it trivialized in seconds by some egocentric, self proclaimed, expert game reviewer.  What’s worse is dealing with the aftermath of those comments as they make or break your sales data.  Combine this with dealing with the constant evolution in technology, a constantly shifting fan base age demographic, and the market shifts from game platform to game platform and you have a real working model of the video game industry wrapped up in a tiny iPhone shaped package.

They must be lining up to buy the (I'm not making this up) Senga Uranus Game Console

As your studio grows, so do the companies who make your console systems.  The evolution of the gaming console seems to follow a humorous, yet historical pattern.   Companies like “Senga” release consoles back to back and give you hardly any time to ship more than a single title between generations while Intendro releases Market Share leading handhelds that last for years.   You’ll also find yourself pitted against industry giants like Campcom and Cornami.

Kairosoft has done a fantastic job bundling the simple RPG play mechanic from great games like Maple Story and the familiar world of video game development into a simple easy to play iPhone game.  The game is well polished and shows it’s technical finesse with important details like an auto-save feature to prevent data loss caused by incoming phone calls or other interruptions.   There is also an option to switch to gamepad play if you prefer a more old school approach to gameplay.

This game, responsible for cancelled meetings, missed appointments and deadlines gets a 4.5/5.

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