The Lost Reviews – Big Pharma

19 10 2016

big-pharma (twice circled - 2015)

You know when you played Theme Hospital (assuming you did, because, you know; why wouldn’t you?), did you ever think to yourself: “I could be doing so much more here, why don’t I leave the life of being a Hospital CEO and go into Pharmaceutical Production?” Well chances are that you thought no such thing as for one; Theme Hospital was a game, not real life or an RPG, and for two; you were really quite content with the game you were playing at the time. If it were the case though that one day while playing Theme Hospital and you actually thought the above statement, well now you can – not in Theme Hospital, but in a game that focuses on the production of Medicine based products.

bp1

Big Pharma (produced by Twice Circled) is a game where you the player are managing director of a pharmaceutical company. You start your company off with a small brightly coloured interior warehouse and a few inventions and ingredients at your disposal to which you can use to create cures for illnesses. All you need to do is put these assets into production and sell sell sell.

bp6

Game play is very simple; in your empty warehouse you need to use one of the holes in the wall to import an ingredient, and then use machines at your disposal to meet certain requirements before either finishing off the ingredient mixture or upgrading it to be a cure for something else. Once that is done, you need to turn the current ingredient into a manufactured cure by putting it through a pill maker, and then transport it to another hole in the wall to name it and sell it. Later options at your disposal include creaming the drugs instead of selling them as pills, and even packing them. The game though is not as easy as it sounds as machines, conveyor belts and equipment take up space (turning it into a mini puzzle game in the process) and you have a limited area, plus in some cases are required to create a catalyst in order for some cures to be upgraded. The game though is not all about Medication Manufacturing, as it’s also a part business and research sim. You will be required to hire explorers and researchers to discover new ingredients and new machinery, while at the same time use their down time to provide you with upgrade points. At the same time however, you need to be concerning yourself with making money too, as production costs can be quite astronomical, and your company is in competition with others.

bp2

Big Pharma is a nicely animated little game. The game graphics are nicely detailed, but not too detailed so can work on most machines without a fuss. The Animation though is superb. It can be quite mesmerizing watching the ingredients progress along the conveyor belts, changing form and colour as machines work on them, and watching the machines work is a nice little added extra, and comes with a form of animation very similar I find to that of Theme Hospital. Watching the water boil in the Dissolver, or seeing ingredients pulped in the Agglomerator, working their way down the production line and being made into either pills or as a cream. It’s really fun to watch and nice little bits like that really help this game to provide a detailed experience.

bp4

The game; all be it relatively fun and still pretty unique, does have its short comings. For one, I like the idea of creating a production line, but the production line does seem to be rather slow, I did not know that Conveyor belts started and stopped every second, I thought they just kept going? It can take a while for the process to complete and when you need money fast, but the conveyors only move at one speed (which is sort of move and stop, move and stop), or the other cases where you are trying to reach a deadline in the game’s objectives mode, it can be very annoying. You can of course speed things up with the mystical speed change options in the bottom left of the screen, but you may as well just keep it up at full speed in that case just to speed up the game and make the conveyors more realistic. The objectives are not bad and it is pretty fun going through each one, just to give you something to do in the game, but with your mind on reaching a certain objective, you may as well ignore everything else in the game, and concentrate on what you need to do rather than what else you could be doing. Then once you have done enough and or have reached your goal, you do have the option of getting a better score than the basic score which is a nice added add-on, but by this point you may as well just speed up the game in places or end the level just to be done with it and do something else.

bp7

Most of the cures you make can be upgraded relatively quickly on, but they require the use of machines you have not unlocked yet, in which case I found myself spending time and money in researching the things I needed each time before sending anything in production, just to be able to give the game the best I could. The other thing though is the Catalysts. The game comes with a very comprehensive tutorial mode which is very descriptive and also very fun, but each time I tried to do a catalyst in the real game, I would not achieve it. Making catalysts is supposed to be hard, but when you are doing everything right, the catalyst still does not make itself, and it can be very annoying, especially as sometimes you need that upgraded cure to move on.

bp5

Big Pharma is one of these Production line games that have begun to make a real appearance in the industry along with other games like Factorio. Making a production line is a good fun idea and when combined with making product to sell turns the game not just into a factory based game but also a resources and economic game, where you need to concentrate on not just making a good product but also turning a profit. I like that idea, and when combined with the games look, idea and animation, it makes a good fit that is at least to begin with a fun game to play. But as the game progresses and its short comings come to light, it becomes a game that I was once excited to play but now don’t really see a future for. Maybe I like my games with a little more realism in its depictions of production, but for its slow speed, but also relatively pointless extras during its objective based gameplay, I feel that this game was once fun, but then just ended.

bp3

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Steam Early Access Games That I Want To Play

15 10 2014

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

For a couple of years now, Steam has supported its early access option. Early Access is an option and opportunity for gamers to play games on Steam that are still being developed. The idea being that you can buy the game, play it and let the developer know of problems you spot when playing the game. It gives the developers the option of having the game tested for bugs and fixes while the gamers get to play the game sooner, providing that they know that the game is not finished. While a nice little idea it may be, I am not all that for it as I don’t really fancy playing a buggy game or have consistent issues while playing it as well as possible performance problems for my PC. Despite this though, my Top 5 Games on my Steam wish list are Early Access games and while there are many more other Early Access games I want to play like Kerbal Space Program, these for me stand out as the ones I really want to play.

Folk Tale

5. Folk Tale – Back in 2007 when I first got my PC I played a relatively new game at the time called The Settlers: Rise of an Empire. I liked the look of it as it had a daft looking cartoon element and I also liked the idea of how the game works with each little person doing a job and having to collect things to make things. Folk Tale looks a lot like The Settlers in how the player builds a town and helps it expand while the little AI people go about their daily lives, doing jobs to help other people do jobs and so on. On top of that, the game has a cartoon based look retaining a certain level of novelty and daftness without getting too serious. The fantasy based setting also means the game is not being held down by factual based historical facts which can slow games like this down and lose a bit of their imagination. From the looks of the trailer, it looks a lot like a combination of Age of Empires and Battle for Middle Earth with a taste of Settlers. While I don’t know much about this game as much as I do others, I really like the look of it and look forward to playing it at some point.

Godus

4. Godus – Inspired by games like Populous and Dungeon Keeper and designed by the same designer as those Games (Peter Molyneux), Project Godus is a brand new God Game where the player helps a little settlement build up into a village, then a town and possibly even a nation. The player shapes the land while the AI people build their own settlement. Godus to me looks brilliant. It looks like the kind of game where instead of building the settlement, you provide the tools to construct it and let someone else do the rest. To me it looks like the game REUS where you control the creation of resources and let those live in the world shape it with what you give them. Even though I still know very little about it, I think it looks rather funky and fun and the in-game systems that the game provides I really do like the look of including watching the little people build their town.

War For The Overworld

3. War For The Overworld – Back in the late 90’s when Dungeon Keeper 2 came out, I remember the in-game trailer for Dungeon Keeper 3, and it looked absolutely Amazing. Many years passed and it didn’t happen, I hoped and dreamed for over 10 years that one day Dungeon Keeper 3 would happen. But it still didn’t. Then a couple of years ago, I saw War For The Overworld (WFTO) being advertised on Kickstarter (in an e-mail from another Kickstarter game on this list). I took a quick glimpse at it, and fell in love with it. It’s not just a case of the game ‘looking like Dungeon Keeper’, in all respects it is Dungeon Keeper. The way there is a Dungeon Heart, the way creatures dig out rooms, the way rooms and walls look and the diversity of creatures on show. At long last Dungeon Keeper was coming back. I was hooked and since then have been getting regular emails on the project. While it is not completely Dungeon Keeper, I am really excited to the release of this game, which has been announced as sometime in early to mid-2015; so not long to wait until I can actually play it, and not only that, but the original voice for DK and DK2, Richard Ridings is returning to voice this game too. I just hope the satire that Dungeon Keeper had remains in this game.

Prison Architect

2. Prison Architect – From the creators of the incredible DEFCON, Prison Architect looks incredible. While inspired by games like Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper, to me it has the look of Rollercoaster Tycoon. I like games that look daft and cartoony; to me that makes them look more accessible and allows retention of creativity and imagination. The cartoon look of Prison Architect is brilliant. But it’s not just the look of this game that I like. I like the idea too. The idea of running a prison and the systems that are needed to be put in place to run it, and not just in construction, but in management too, making this game a lot like both RCT and Evil Genius too. While it may be still in production and thus several years away from actual non early access release, this is a game that I almost did buy as I want to play it so much, and on top of that, the current bugs in the game make it look funny to play too. With both a great design and look combined with a great niche idea, Prison Architect is easily one of the games well worth looking out for.

MAIA

1. M.A.I.A. – Out of all the games on this list though M.A.I.A. (Maia) is the most mysterious. It’s my interest in this game which led to me discovering WFTO, but this game looks puzzling. It’s design and look make it clear to be an RTS/Management game in a similar style to games like Theme Hospital, Startopia and Evil Genius with players building their own space base (I’m assuming) while also placing objects and systems in order to run it. Sounds simple, but I bet it isn’t. The thing is, most of my knowledge stems from some video footage, some in-game images and some text information. But apart from that I am still unsure of what his game is going to be like. But from what I know and see, it is a game I want to play as it combines all the things I like about games like this while also being put in a setting that has not really been done before. Combining that with an element of Sci-fi/Survival Horror that is somewhat visible in the games look and effects, and this game should be amazing, possibly even Legendary. I’ll just need to wait until it is ready to be played to find out, but I’m ready and looking forward to it.

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: