The games on iOS have been much-maligned by gamers, and it’s mostly with good reason–lacking substance, most of these games rely on crude gimmickry and rock-bottom price tags to attract sales. While Game Dev Story is hardly the title to prove the worth of the iPhone as a gaming platform, hardcore gamers will likely be pleasantly surprised by both its content and presentation.
Game Dev Story, as the title would suggest, is about about game development. Taking a page from the “tycoon” games of yesteryear, it has you guiding a development studio from upstart to AAA powerhouse. You’ll hire employees such as coders, designers, and producers, whose stats will determine the quality of the final product. Your team becomes like an RPG party, as you can level them up and sink money into training various skills. There’s even a psuedo class system that lets you switch their jobs, to maximize their effectiveness in all areas.
Long time gamers will find a lot to make them smile in Game Dev Story, from Famitsu-esque review magazines to sometimes clever and sometimes atrocious console name puns, such as the “Senga Exodus.” The game has an attractive retro aesthetic, and the looping chiptunes are pleasant, though you’ll probably eventually want to mute it, as there’s not a lot of variety.
Game Dev Story took me back to the first few Harvest Moon games, where a relatively simple economic RPG became addictive through its constant carrot hanging. I found it difficult to put down, as I kept saying to myself, “I’ll just finish development on Rumcraft 2,” or “I’ll just make it through the next Gamedex.” If you enjoy this sort of light economic sim, be sure to have a look at this game, which can be had for $3.99 on iOS or Android.