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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Will I Rage? Auto Dealership Tycoon Review

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I am a sucker for these management simulation games. One of the games over the last few years, that I can never get away from, is Game Dev Tycoon. My girlfriend often comes in the room and finds me sitting here managing a Game Studio, Auto Dealership, Mechanic Shop, Las Vegas Casino, Lunch Truck Business, and so many more. She usually gawks at me through a blank stare and slowly backs out of the room to leave me to my seemingly mundane tasks. I'm not sure where my love for these games comes from but due to the huge success of a lot of these titles, it appears that I am not the only one. I was actually planning to tackle Lunch Truck Tycoon in my next review however after a brief altercation on the forum of Auto Dealership Tycoon during the fall sale, and quickly being put in my place by the Developer (I was totally wrong in an accusation against them) I was given a copy of this game to review. It takes both balls and faith in your product to do this to someone you were just at odds with and I respect that. I have decided to debut my new review format for this one so let's dive in and answer the question. "Will I Rage? Auto Dealership Tycoon"



Gameplay

Rating: 4.5 of 5

We'll begin with the tutorial. What I enjoy most about the tutorial in this game is that it doesn't drag on too long. A huge gripe I have with a lot of games in general is the fact that I have to play what seems like 45 minutes of tutorial, before I can actually begin doing anything remotely fun in a game. I hate that. Especially, since the majority of the time, it could be easily condensed down to 10 to 15 minutes tops. In this game, the tutorial is straight to the point, and you'll be running your own Auto Dealership in a matter of minutes. 

This game consists of two main phases. Your setup phase, and your day phase. During setup you will hire staff, restock both your stock of cars, as well as the parts needed for your service area for the day. From there you have the option to hire new employee's, manage your shops upgrades, upgrade your actual shop to a larger setup, and buy licenses to be able to deal in a larger variety of vehicles. You may also take this time to visit the finance managers office to take a look at your current financial situation. You can also visit your sales manager's office (Where you went to stock your cars) to raise, or lower the prices of your cars according to supply and demand). 


Once you do all of this, it's time to open up! The day phase consists of customers coming into your shop to buy cars and to have their cars serviced. During this time you will also be presented with random events such as a customer coming in having an issue with his car........although it is slightly passed warranty. It is your job here to decide if you should give him a break, or refuse. (I learned that at least for me, it is better to accept because it's a lot easier to take a small financial hit than a hit to your CSR rating). One of the most amusing events I've ran across is a customer claiming that someone at your shop defecated in the back of their car and they ask you to clean it up. All in a days work I suppose. Well played Diggidy, Well played. 

Another random event during the day phase is trade in's. These are by far the best deal you get in game and I'd suggest taking every trade in that you can afford. Sure, they take longer to sell but when they do it's big profit. During the game you must keep an eye on your CSR. If a customer wants a car and it's not in stock, you take a CSR hit, if you are selling that car for too much you take a CSR hit. This is your Customer Service Rating and mine is currently in the mid 20's (I'm a very sketchy car salesman). Another really interesting feature to this game is, every Monday you have the option of going to an Auction where you can bid on used cars. I've made a lot of good money here, but to do so I actually began keeping a notepad of what I've sold each model used car for, so that I can more accurately bid. 

The upgrade menu offers various item upgrades for the shop that can effect the amount of visitors you get, success in auctions, employee hire rate and more. The building upgrades is just that. It allows you more space, more employee's, more inventory space, and the ability to deal with more licenses. This leads me to the news. Randomly during your game play you will be notified of a sales event taking place. These consist of "goals". You have X amount of days to sell a certain number of a specific car (or brand of cars). Doing so will give you cash and a lot of the times a boost to your coveted CSR. These events can also increase (or decrease) the level of your employee's. The news however will also give you a heads up when a specific car becomes a hot seller. When this occurs it is wise to stock up on that car. You could possibly even up the price a little too....supply and demand you know. All in all the game play in Auto Dealership Tycoon is really fun, and really addictive. 


Graphics

Rating: 3.5 of 5
The graphics in Auto Dealership tycoon are on par with other games in this particular genre (Think Game Dev Tycoon). If you are a fan of this genre of game you know that graphics are rarely the bread and butter. Even in more graphical displays, such as Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 where the graphics are more realistic... they aren't "great". The bread and butter of this genre is always game play. With this said, the graphics are not bad, and fit the genre and style of the game perfectly. My one gripe here is that damn clown that walks back and forth along the side walk in front of my dealership striking fear into the hearts of anyone who happens to walk by (as well as myself).

Audio

Rating: 3.5 of 5
Let's talk about the music first off. I was actually surprised by this. While A LOT of indie titles (especially tycoon games like this) will have horrible MIDI tracks, this game actually has decently developed music. It sounds like it was created possibly through FL Studio with a KORG (or other keyboard) style input. While I am not a fan of the Electronic genre of music, it's a big step up from the music offered in most indie tycoon titles. The sound effects in the game are also well done. Nothing special here since these games don't rely on effects like big explosions, gunfire, talking, etc. But fits well with the game.


Value
Rating: 5 of 5
 Auto Dealership Tycoon retails on Steam for $4.99. In this game, you can easily put 10-15 hours into it before ever maxing everything out, even more if you are an achievement hunter. This game also has good replay value as most tycoon games do. Overall I feel that the $4.99 price tag on this game is a steal.

Conclusion
 If you are a fan of the tycoon business simulation style of game, this game is a lot of fun. If you are not a fan of this genre, or have never played this genre, there are no promises. However, for a very reasonable $4.99 price tag it's worth a gamble. I've been playing the game A LOT for this review and even with that time put in, I still see hours and hours of time left. As far as replay value, I feel it has a lot. However, I have made a list of a few features I feel are missing from this game that could make it even better.

1. A "Haggling" system when selling or purchasing used cars. Currently, when a customer feels you are charging too much for a used car, he says it and walks out. I think one of the most fun aspects of selling used cars for a living would be that "haggle" between yourself and the customer. If anyone has ever played the ANDROID game "Pawn Stars" you saw that haggling system. While I hated Pawn Stars overall, I think the addition of a haggling system similar to the one used there, for both selling used cars, and buying trade-in's, would add another dimension to the game.

2. Customization. This may not be important to a lot of people, but to me and my OCD nature it would be amazing. Add in decorative items as another sink to spend your cash on, as well as allowing us to place those items. Also allow the freedom to move Desks, TV's, Vending machines, etc. Allow us the option of colors for walls, floors, etc. All of these things while small and insignificant to game play, could be an amazing addition to people with a control complex, who enjoys controlling every aspect of things. Let's face it, we are playing a game that puts us in control of our own Auto Dealership. Chances are we have some level of control freak in us.

3. Financing! In real life when you see a car dealership commercial a good 60% of the pitch is about their "low financing options". Why not add financing? A financing department, and even the option to send a Repo man to get a car when someone randomly defaults on a payment. It seems that financing is one of the biggest aspects of running an auto dealership in real life, and would be a great addition to the game.

4. Marketing! The Addition of marketing options, and perhaps even a marketing department, where you can buy different levels of marketing for your shop. Newspaper Ads, TV ad's, Magazine Ad's, Billboards, Website, etc. Each increasing the # of visitors to your shop, for a certain amount of time by a certain amount based on which package purchased.

6. The shady side of the business. Running back the millage on a car to sell it for more, and the many other shady tactics that real used car salesman have used. Add the ability to do these different things to used cars, at the risk of being caught and damaging your CSR. Give the dealer the option if he wants to be honest or risk his reputation to make a quick buck. 

7. Training. One legitimate gripe I had with the game was that it always seemed like I was waiting to replace employee's for no reason but a couple additional points. A reasonable alternative to this, is the ability to send an employee through a training course to gain experience. This way your not constantly having to fire people your growing semi attached to every 1-2 levels.


I've come to my rating due to the simple yet addictive game play of Auto Dealership Tycoon, as well as the surprising audio quality, industry standard graphics for the genre, and extremely good value for the amount of hours you will put into this game. There are several elements I think could be added as I've listed above, as well as a couple things that could be improved upon. But overall, I think any tycoon fan will be happy with the purchase of this title.


Overall Rating: 4 of 5






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