Familiar with the Tycoon genre? No? Then it’s time to start! Tycoon or business simulation games are a niche genre where the player focuses on managing an enterprise with the goal to make profit. A lot of games have come out in the past, with the most famous in recent history being Game Dev Tycoon. In this review I will be covering an indie game of this genre called Blueprint Tycoon, which recently came out of Early Access on Steam.
Blueprint Tycoon is a very simple but fun game developed by Endless Loop Studios where you manage the blueprints of your islands in order to make and sell goods. The game currently has 6 levels (3 are tutorials) but it supports player created content through the Steam Workshop, where you can find more. The tutorial scenarios teach you the basic commands and how to set up your first production line. In few words, you start by creating housing for your workers and then used them to gather basic materials such as wood in order to create more complex goods. Recipes to create advanced goods, such as jewelry, are unlocked through research. After you set up production from beginning to end, you transport the results to your delivery station and rake in the money.
Transporting goods is done a simple but interesting manner. You connect different buildings through routes that you can customize according to your needs. You can add more workers to transport more goods and upgrade them so they can move faster. You can also use special transport units such as airships to transport massive amount of goods between your port and storage. The goal of the game is to maximize the efficiency of your production line by positioning your buildings in the optimal position and reducing the length of your routes so you can gain the most out of them.
One of the most interesting features of the game is the possibility to change the blueprint of your production buildings in order so they produce faster. You basically open the blueprint editor and you can change how the workers inside handle the process. For example you can tell one worker to pick up iron from the input cell, drop it at the processing spot while another worker processes it and takes it to the output cell. While the idea behind this feature is brilliant, the execution not so much. In the few levels I have played I never had the need to do that as the default blueprints are more than enough to handle production. Beside that you can only change how the workers move and you cannot add or remove cells from the building which takes away a lot of potential from this system. I feel like this feature could be so much more, maybe the developers will polish it in the future.
The graphics of the game are clean and the UI is done better than many other tycoon games I have played over the years. A small complain is the lack of a big number indicating the money you currently possess, a key feature to make players feel rewarded when they do well. It’s also annoying how the game keeps reminding you of every dollar you are missing out of an inefficient production line. While it is a useful to know it should be hidden in some kind of revenue page so it doesn’t frustrate players. Controls are easy to remember thanks to a very well structured tutorial. The background music and sounds are pleasant to hear, supporting player immersion. Replay value is lacking due to the limited amount of levels in the game and the 7 workshop items available at the time of writing this review, I look forward to the developers and community will add a few more scenarios in the near future.
Overall the game is fun and for how much it costs (2.99€) it’s a good deal, Endless Loop Studios should consider a mobile version (on the condition they add more levels). I feel the game could have used some more time in Early Access to polish itself and add more content though. The developers seem pretty responsive to feedback from their community so I might update this review in the future. Try out Blueprint Tycoon and if you like it I suggest you try other simulation games such as Game Dev Tycoon and Prison Architect.
You can find Blueprint Tycoon on Steam here: http://goo.gl/Cp0m6v