Mobile games have been around for about eighteen years and while quite a few of them were easily forgotten about, there are also a handful that went down in history; Tetris, Snake and Block Breaker are a few prime examples. In addition, quite a few recent titles have made an impact on the industry, including Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Draw Something. Game Dev Story is at the top of that list, despite its under-appreciation and mild anonymity. In 1997, Kairosoft released their first game, 'Game Dev Story,' originally a PC game only available in Japan. Thirteen years later, they ported it to the iOS and Android marketplace, earning a spot in the top ten app downloads of the former operating system's store in the first week.
Game Dev Story allows players to be in charge of your own video game development company, create your own games with a mix of different genres and types, and build your team of employees and train them to be the most talented in the industry. GDS is a simulation game and its style can be easily compared to a cross between The Sims and say, Farmville; most of your actions are executed via menus and you observe as your decisions unfold. You start off as a small group bunching together game genres and types (i.e. Shooter/Historical) on a trial-and-error basis—or for those impatient types, successful genre and type combinations are available on the Internet.
The player also controls additional factors that can either help or hinder the quality of the games released, including its fun factor, creativity, graphics, sound, and bugs. In addition, the staff you hire, control of the speed and development directions, and using items that give boosts for workers or change their jobs. As you progress and earn more money, you can change offices to allow for more hirelings and thus improve the quality of future games. Games are assigned review scores upon completion ranging from 1-10 with a comment from the associated review. The scores generally affect the sales that go along with the game and sakes are ranked according to how they sold that week. There are also a few positive and negative occurrences that can affect the quality and production of your games, including blackouts, similar games being released, and your employees being struck with inspiration.
During game development or when your company is fulfilling an outside job contract, you earn research data which can be used to level up your staff or fund an attempt to improve quality factors of a game in development. With a positive combination of genre and game type, you can also level those up as well and earn directional points which you can distribute to factors that influence the direction of your game, including cuteness, polish, game world, niche appeal, and more.
Every short while, a developer with a mocked up name such as Sonny (Sony), Intendro (Nintendo), and Senga (Sega) will come along and introduce a new console with a similarly mocked up name like PlayStatus (PlayStation), IES (NES), and Uranus (Saturn) which you can purchase a development license for and create games on that console.
In addition, every five in-game months, the national video game convention—Gamedex—comes along and you're prompted to choose whether or not you'd like to attend and what kind of booth you'd want to set up. Attending will allows fans to stop by your booth and check out your games, increasing sales and your company's reputation. At the end of every year, the Global Game Awards arrives and the games you've created during that year are eligible for awards.
One of the best parts of the game is that once you reach the end, you're able to start a new game every time with nearly everything you've accumulated previously and further improve your video game company. However, in time when you've basically an infinite amount of capital and win every award at the Global Game Awards, GDS can get a little repetitive, but there's nothing wrong with starting over from scratch.
Game Dev Story is an addictive little game and while at times it might get a bit repetitive, it's asking price of $2.50 is more than reasonable for a game you'll always find yourself crawling back to at a slow hour.