Empire TV Tycoon was developed and published by Dreamsite Games. It was released on October 20th, 2015 for $12.99. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels.
Empire TV Tycoon is a unique member of the tycoon family style of games. It is inspired by Mad TV and Game Dev tycoon according to it’s development team and I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. The first session I played after knowing the full scope of the game was extremely addictive and fun. The aspect of managing the marketing and advertising for best viewership is challenging and though provoking. My station produced many movies and TV shows, and won awards for them. You do this all by hiring writers, actors, and production assistants to help your cause.
What I enjoyed:
Management time – My first completed game for 300 fame felt like it took an hour and a half or so. I was streaming live at the time and as it happens it was closer to four hours of non-stop TV station management. It’s always a good sign when I can lose myself in a game, clicking and planning was more pleasant than I initially expected. The option to speed the game up only gives you a slight push as you’ll need to stop and film new movies or shows, deal with viewer requests, and update your library. Each day adds new challenges that cause the player to adapt their strategy often.
Culture shock – The amount of cultural references (mostly pop culture) in Empire Tv Tycoon is borderline obscene, which is perfect. You buy your movies from one of two iconic characters, Walter white from Breaking Bad is the legal seller, and Silent Bob from Jay and Silent Bob sells the bootleg goods. You buy your ads from Mad Men’s Don Draper, your tech upgrades from Back to the Future’s Doc Brown.. The level of detail to mainstream television is absolutely perfect, this aspect helped sell the entire theme very well.
Reruns – The replay value here is astronomical, you can play an arcade mode to a set number of fame, or play endless mode and see just how far you can take your station over lengthy campaigns. There are a number of various events which give each replay a fresh feel. Producing movies and TV shows to compete in various awards shows also changes from game to game so you never know what you’ll be producing next.
What I disliked:
Information request – The biggest flaw with my experience was that certain genres seem to miss certain viewers that aren’t always logical. I programmed the Sopranos for a one hour block with male viewers to complete a male targeted car advertisement and they not only didn’t hit the numbers but turned their TV to another station. I did fins that fantasy movies were good for kids, and sci-fi good for nerds, but there should be some way to track what genres are working with certain viewers.
See it to believe it – The portion of the game where you have scripts written, hire actors, and film productions is fantastic. The problem I have with it is that you get a numerical rating afterwards and little else. It would be an amazing addition to see some scenes from that movie or show, or see your product in a form other than a numerical rating. This is more of a wishful addition than a complaint, but I often felt that my station worked hard to make the movie, we should get to see at least a funny scene from it or something of that nature.
This was a surprising review for me because at first glance I was somewhat apprehensive to play Empire TV Tycoon. The tycoon style of game often feels bland or boring for my taste but this game really is quite enjoyable. The pop culture references made me giggle often through my game, and certain film or TV shows displayed in the game are childhood favorites. Theme is important and this game delivers it in droves, you’ll really feel engaged and challenged while trying to run your station. For me this was a clear reminder not to judge a game by it’s cover, as this game is an instant favorite in my library.
Score: Buy it now