Game Dev Story is a mobile game for Android and iOS that revolves around the running of a game development company. You start off in a small office with two staff members, and must work your way up to being one of the top game companies. The main goal of the game is to make as much money as possible in twenty years for the game’s high scores, though there are a few other options available to the player, such as winning the Global Game Awards or making the highest selling game.
The gameplay is simple enough to grasp, which is convenient for a mobile game. The main element of gameplay is the development of games. This is done by choosing the Genre (e.g. RPG) and Type (e.g. Fantasy) of the game. Certain genres and types just do flat out better than others, while others combine with each other particularly well (e.g. Robot Shooters are good, while others like Harbor Audio Novels are not). This gives a nice element of influence over how well your games sell, apart from simply leveling up your staff.
Other ways to improve your games include gaining extra direction points, which is done by creating games with good combinations and leveling up your genres. Leveling up your genres also makes your games better by itself, making this a double benefit. You can also train up your staff, either by spending research data to level them up or money to train their skills, each with their own benefits. Or finally, you can spend research data on using boost items, which increase a specific stat for your game.
The main method of making money is releasing games, and most of the gameplay resolves around the options for games, but other ways to make money also include performing contract jobs for other companies which reward you with both money and research data, or developing a console. Developing consoles has a few requirements, and takes a rather long time, but also makes a significant amount of money and saves you from having to buy new licenses for new consoles as other companies replace theirs.
A full playthrough of Game Dev Story takes a reasonable amount of time, and if you are playing it like most other mobile games, it will last for quite a while. A drawback of Game Dev Story is limited replay value. The first time around everything is new and challenging, but by the second time you’ve figured out the better combinations. They are based on real world games that have done well, which is great for intuitiveness the first time around, but having good combinations shuffled randomly would make further playthroughs more interesting. Similarly, the success and failure of other companies’ consoles is predetermined. Another issue is that improvements to Genre and Type levels carry on through successive games, though this can be dealt with by resetting it in the game menus.
However, you will get 2 or 3 playthroughs which are length enough for a mobile game before you get bored. At €4, this is definitely well within the value for money area for me, but obviously each person is going to have to make their own choice on this.