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Mad Games Tycoon review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Toplitz Productions
Developer: Eggcode/Raylight Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

The challenge facing Mad Games Tycoon is the same challenge that faces every other game development simulator: it has to measure up to Game Dev Story. And like every single other game development simulator, it features the same fatal flaw: it doesn’t measure up to Game Dev Story.

I don’t want to say that Game Dev Story is absolutely perfect or anything, because it’s not — they are definitely places where it could be improved. But it did everything you could want out of a game development simulator so well — and gave you so much control over what you did, and made it so incredibly user-friendly — that it’s hard for most other aspirants to its throne to come close to matching it. And, unsurprisingly, Mad Games Tycoon is no different.

That’s not to say it doesn’t try, though. Mad Games Tycoon sets you down in 1980 (or more recently, if you’d prefer), and gives you free reign to build a studio as you’d like from the ground up. Not only do you have to hire your staff, carry out research, do contracts to make extra money, and, of course, develop games, you also have to literally build up your office. You’re responsible for the layout, the features, even the furniture.

It’s also worth noting that Mad Games Tycoon is significantly more difficult than Game Dev Story. While the gameplay loop may seem similar — develop, marketing campaign, contract work, repeat — this game is much more challenging. The critics are significantly harsher, fans are much more fickle, and sales are much harder to come by. If your biggest beef with Game Dev Story was that it eventually becomes too easy, you’ll find that complaint resolved here.

I can’t say that these changes do much for me, though. Part of the joy of Game Dev Story was how it streamlined some of the more onerous tasks associated with the industry; while Mad Games Tycoon allows you to get more down in the weeds, that’s not exactly a selling point. Likewise, even if Mad Games Tycoon is harder, that doesn’t necessarily mean better. There’s not much feedback on how you can get better or why things happen the way they do, which makes it feel like you’re playing in a vacuum, rather than in a real world.

The biggest difference, though, is that Mad Games Tycoon is lacking when it comes to presentation. This is a pretty ugly-looking game. In its haste to give players a more detailed world, it forgot to make a world that you’ll actually want to look at as you get sucked in — whereas, by contrast, Game Dev Story is brightly-coloured and bursting with life.

I know it’s unfair to condemn Mad Games Tycoon for what it’s not — but it’s hard not to do so. After all, when the pinnacle of the genre is available on the same system for a fraction of the price, there’s really no reason why anyone should want to play this over Game Dev Story. It’s a fine effort, but the fact is, it doesn’t come anywhere close.

Toplitz Productions provided us with a Mad Games Tycoon Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+