Game Dev Story is by Kairosoft Co, creators of a more than a dozen simulation management games. All of their games are available free as a "Lite" version, or $4.99 for the full version. I've played several of the lite version of their games, but the price tag was a little high for a tablet game. Steam has lowered the price point I'm willing to pay for games (I paid $4.99 for The Witcher and for Fallout 3 GOTY).
However, Game Dev Story is currently 40% off in the Google Play store in honor of the release of Kairosoft's newest game "Venture Towns." I knew I enjoyed the game, and I was confident I could get my standard rate requirement out of it ($1 for every hour played. I don't buy a lot of games new.)
You begin the game as the CEO of a game studio, hire a few staff members, and start developing games. You can also work on simpler contracts that bring in a little side money but don't improve your standing with fans -- the fans don't care about the ring tones you were contracted to develop, they want your next game! So, you select your genre (puzzle, RPG, simulation, etc) and your game type (pirate, animal, checkers, etc this is a long list!). Your staff goes to work developing and then debugging. You can train your staff to increase their competency Your game is rated by critics, which have an effect on game sales.
Your fan base is all important for staying in the game. Advertise, publish games at regular intervals, and attend trade shows (hire booth babes!). Increase your fan base, increase your income. You've got 20 years to build your company.
(image via bitgamer, really really excellent story about Game Dev Story, btw. Check it out.)
There are many references in Game Dev Store that will perk the ears of anyone familiar with gaming. You work with consoles such as the Senga Exodus and the Intendro Game Kid. You hire staff members named Gilly Bates and Shigetu Migamoto.
The graphics are colorful and detailed, reminiscent of our 90's favorites. The controls are simple and intuitive, with no hand-holding tutorial necessary. The game play is simple, but creating the best games, figuring out the right game combinations to please fans and critics is not so easy. You'll want to try again and again until you can get one of your games into the Hall of Fame. The price ($4.99 Android, $3.99 IOS) causes a little flinching from this spoiled Steam girl, but based on Game Dev Story's addictive nature, you'll more than get your money's worth.
Nicking a little off the score due to the price, there are TONS of great games for free on the Android. I wouldn't mind having unobtrusive ads in the game if it meant I could play for free.
Overall score: 45/50, would recommend.