This is a smart simulation that's easy to pick up and play yet challenging to master. Game Dev Story+ offers a cute and kitschy graphical (and musical) style, a simple interface, and an appealing business genre -- video game development -- to keep players engaged every step of the way. Plus, it's a fascinating look at an industry that so many people are passionate about. It pulls the curtain back for the hundreds of millions of game players to see all that goes into building a successful game studio, the economics of making and marketing a game, and using profits to further invest in people and technology. After all the quality assurance (QA) testing and bug zapping, Game Dev Story+ makes it a really big deal when your game is ready to ship. It's climactic, and a little nerve-wracking, to see how the fruits of your labor will be received. Game reviews are graded on Fun, Creativity, Graphics, and Sound, and usually (but not always), the higher the numbers in those categories, the more likely you'll find critical success and see your sales grow. It's also fun and interesting to manage all your staff members, deciding who to train or level up, and when to hire more or fire to save money on costs. As your staff gets more experience, you can unlock new game options in an effort to keep things fresh.
But those efforts do fall a little short when it comes to introducing new variables over time. The gameplay may feel a little stale after a few hours of play, though the dangling carrot is seeing if you can reach new critical and commercial heights with each subsequent release. Overall, Game Dev Story+ is a wonderfully crafted company simulation that could inspire budding gamers to want not just to enter this multibillion-dollar industry as a game designer, but also to delve into the business side of video games.