The real joy of tycoon management games is the variety in which they can played, and how the player can control that from moment to moment. Mad Games Tycoon isn’t an exception, from those who enjoy min-maxing and creating an efficient machine, to those who want to roleplay and experiment with the systems, to finally those who just want to sit back and relax. Almost everyone will be happy.
The premise is simple, you control the management of a games developer and their studio, starting out in a small garage. Management involves creating numerous rooms and office spaces for your studio, toilets and staff rooms will make your employees more productive in the long run, even if you do have to pay extra. With a tutorial that finishes very quickly the game soon opens up, developing a game involves selecting an audience, a topic, sub-topic, genre, sub-genre, engine and even a licence further on in the game. Then the platforms for the game can be chosen, varying in quality and market share. Next you choose the game settings from 5 different sliders, how much you want the game to focus on story over game length or atmosphere versus functions. After that you choose the priority of Graphics, Sound, Technology and Gameplay. Finally picking specific features for your game, for instance 3D graphics scrolling or split-screen multiplayer, and least but not last selecting a publisher.
All these options to choose from and sliders to tweak may sound appealing but it has numerous problems when you’re first getting familiar with the game. Many other tycoon or management games have this same issue, the systems involved aren’t very transparent. At times I really needed a guiding hand to tell me what I had done wrong. When you create an awful game (and you will) it’s hard to figure out why. The sheer volume of possible game combinations really doesn’t help here. Fortunately this is merely a learning curve, don’t be afraid to look up some online guides to help you, it’s well worth your time rather than suffering through trial and error.
As you progress through the game more exciting rooms and options become available. There’s something very satisfying about developing an engine, choosing the features and giving it your own fancy name. Then slowly improving the engine with new features as the game continues. You also have the option to sell your engine to other developers and get a percentage of the profits! Research departments let you unlock over 180 different topics, so if you ever wanted to make an Economic Simulator about secret agent dragons, you can do just that, not that it will necessarily sell very well. When your studio starts to get much bigger you can also delve into making your own game consoles, publishing third-party games and developing multiple games at once. This is all alongside a very pleasant and surprising sense of humour that made me chuckle a number of times.
I certainly had a lot of trouble with Mad Games Tycoon for the first few hours, frequently winning the “The Worst Game of the Year” award and losing all my fans almost got the better of me. But the customization kept me coming back. I didn’t care how much money I lost. Playing under the daft name of “Cillit Bang Studios” I wasn’t going to stop shelling out shovelware featuring the one and only Barry Scott. Frantically trying to stay afloat by completing any contracts for extra money and loaning as much money as possible from the bank was fun in itself.
So don’t worry if your first play-through goes a bit downhill, with a bit of perseverance and reading some online guides you’ll unlock the full potential of Mad Games Tycoon.
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