You’d think that Robot Tycoon would be the business-building sim game that any nerdy entrepreneur waited for his or her whole life. It is, but only if you’re ten or eleven years old. While this game offers a basic introduction to building your own business, it offers little depth for adults.
Unlike sim games like Game Dev Story or Diner Dash Grilling Green, Robot Tycoon has a very limited scope. You start off selling robots door to door, building them to order. Your customers give you their specifications for type, color, and shape, but you can try to up-sell them on a cheaper model to maximize your profit. Their facial expression will tell you whether you’re irritating them with your business savvy.
We shall name him Aibo.
After each individual order, you have to wire together the robot components in your workshop. To do this, you simply drag cables from one plug to another to match a diagram. While this gameplay element is fun for a little while, it can start to feel repetitive after ten robots or so.
In the next phase of your business, you’ll open a shop and hire a couple of workers to do the tedious assembly for you. Then, it’s just a matter of taking orders at the cashier’s register and handing them off to your employees. Finally, you’ll start a factory, choose one type of robot to mass-produce, and then hope that it’s successful.
Hey kids, want to play with charts?
At this point, the game ends. You’ll receive a high score based on your projected sales, and you can upload that to OpenFeint. Unlike some other tycoon games, you don’t have to deal with a budget, focus-testing, advertising, and other interesting diversions. It’s all about the bottom line, and it arrives too soon.
Robot Tycoon is a great concept, but the execution is disappointing. The graphics look very amateur, like they were created using MS Paint shape tools, and the game rushes you to its conclusion, skipping a lot of the detailed nitty-gritty of running a business.
We did like the helpful voice-over narration, which keeps you right on track, and the detailed stats for your business will introduce kids to the business world in an accessible way. But if you’re expecting to become a captain of industry, or build your own army of killer robots, this is not the game for you.