I love simulation/tycoon games. I always have. Ever since I got my first taste of them with Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, I’ve been addicted. My tastes have always been varied with games like Locomotion, Theme Hospital, Farming Simulator, The Movies and a lot more.
So when I saw WEB Gaming Entertainment’s Tech Executive Tycoon for the first time on Indiegogo back in 2014, I pledged $15. From the creator’s videos and plans, it looked like the perfect game for me, mixing in elements what I loved about games like Software Inc., Game Dev Tycoon, Gamebiz and Capitalism.
So after waiting for close to five years, has the game delivered?
No… Well, not yet anyway.
To be fair to the game it’s improved since its release to Early Access in late December. The furniture placement feels more fluid and that was a noticeable difference immediately when picking the game back up. But sadly, placing furniture is the only task in this game that doesn’t overly confuse the player, making this game more fun as an Office Decorator Simulator.
But to actually make a product in this game, the game is unnecessarily difficult. I spent the best part of an hour just trying to figure out how to form teams, how to get them to work on a product and then once all that is figured out, I shipped the products out only for my product to not seem to sell any copies, additionally I’m not sure the advertising segments of the game are functional yet or if its a bug.
I think game design has failed when a player can’t tell if something in a game is a bug or a feature. One of the strangest things I encountered while playing this game was that my employees weren’t anywhere to be seen, yet still working on projects. They could be seen when I played the game in late December, so where are they now? I could understand this if there was some ‘working from home’ element to the game, but it’s probably a bug.
To give the game credit, its at least pleasing to the eyes graphically, which shouldn’t be surprising given the game is running on Unity, although the UI needs a major overhaul in terms of usability and aesthetics and the game could greatly benefit from more than one looped music track, preferably something that’s not obviously stock music.
Game creators and the gaming community as a whole have typically used the mantra of Early Access or beta to avoid criticism about games in this state. (Not that I’m accusing the developer of this game of doing so) Regardless, this game has been in development for close to five years and to release in this state where the game seemingly can’t even be played properly, and charge full price, is beyond belief. For the same price as this game (US$19.99/A$28.95) you could buy Airport CEO, or Production Line: Car Factory Simulator, or Black Mesa, or any other early access game that released into Early Access in a majority completed state.
Despite these negatives, surprisingly, I can see a kernel of a good game here somewhere, and it’s just waiting its turn to pop. The foundations for a solid tycoon game are clear in the plans for the game, as detailed on their website. I would advise the average gamer to hold onto their money for a year or two and wait until the game matures, especially since the developer is clearly working hard to complete this game. Let’s just hope that the game doesn’t end up abandoned like many Early Access games.