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TYCOON: RISE of INDUSTRY is a management, industrial and commercial game in the genre that has made so many other meat & potatoes games valuable to the home computer user as a way to spend some time relaxing and letting your brain work at something other than the every-day chores it usually has to cope with. I use the term "meat & potatoes" because this is a game about actual meat & potatoes, in as much as one of your first, and main, industries is farming, vegetable farming being a fairly good choice

From your small beginnings you build an Empire - well that's the idea anyway. The tutorial is brief and relies upon you taking notes (having a pencil and paper to hand is useful unless you have a good memory) to remember which icon does what. Most of them do have identification tags when the cursor is rolled onto them but once you open a flash window the information on there in the game isn't identified by a flickering orange arrow as it is in the tutorial. Even if you choose the Easiest Difficulty Option (Easy, Normal, Veteran) you are still on a tight budget and everything you do costs and incoming money takes a while to get flowing.


Apart from the levels of difficulty and the Tutorial you have the choice of game you wish to play;  Career, Freeplay or Custom. The game is similar in each but with differences and you need to try out each possibility before settling on the one that best suits your requirements. For example if you want a fast, stressful game that keeps you on the edge try Veteran + Career. Veteran gives you less money to begin with and more hazards, while Career is an ongoing business. Normal is the difficulty you should expect if you are used to games like Sim City and Easy is, well it isn't as easy as you might expect, you do begin with a higher bank balance and less hazards but money still drains quickly and hazards are still as nasty if infrequent. Freeplay and Custom are similar but not the same. Freeplay is less stressful than Career and Custom lets you build the map and a lot more to your design. Custom isn't a choice to make until you are experienced with the game module as there is an 18 possibility adjustable list that lets you customise to your heart's content (quite a considerable amount of customisation is possible).


Graphically this is exceptionally good though in my life-experience all buildings such as Town Halls, Farms, Warehouses etc may do the same job but they don't all look the same. This is something that every game in this genre does, even military based games. A Farm looks the same as the next Farm as the next Farm etc at least until it is updated but then as the other Farms are updated they again resemble/duplicate each other. With the power available to programmers now it would be nice to have 2 or 3 choices of building for each industry. I understand that it is visually easy to recognise buildings at a glance if each of the same type looks identical, but it isn't aesthetically pleasing unless you have OCD. Vehicles in the game look different so why not buildings ? Just a thought! 


The game I have been playing is in Alpha mode so it is almost ready for final production. I haven't come across any major glitches though there a couple of things that could be better or at least more fluent - the laying of roads works like it does on almost every other game of this genre but it isn't as smooth. Usually if you want to create a turning you simply drag the road by the cursor in the direction you want it to go. Here I am having to make a straight road and then go over the intersection again to curve it. I am sure this is one of the kinks that will be sorted by the final version.


I like the fact that you can build over different terrain without first spending time clearing the land. I would be happy, but surprised, if this continues into the store version as there is an icon for a Tractor and that is often the symbol used in games for land clearing.

Everything on the map works on a grid, therefore even the curve in roads, as previously mentioned, is on a single square. It is possible to make a longer curved road but it isn't an easy task and apart from looking nice there is no need. Being from England I am used to roads being irregular whereas in the USA (or the parts of it I have seen) main roads are built in a straight a line as possible, City roads are often built like a grid whereas in the UK our city roads are some of the most notorious car traps.


When you click on a symbol the likelihood is that this will open up a menu of options all to do with the symbol you selected. For example click on the Build icon and you will be given options of what type of building and from there which specific building. If you place a building in a wrong position you can remove it, not move it, and this will give you some money back, but nowhere near what you paid for it, so be careful when you are expanding your industries as you are only informed where you cannot position a building, otherwise it can be placed almost anywhere and almost anywhere is not a well thought out plan. Run through the Tutorial more than once if you haven't taken notes, I am pretty sure you will see something you missed before and that will be useful to you in game.  In fact, take your time whenever you are going to do something, especially if it is going to cost you financially, funds are not from very deep pockets and as stated take a long time to recover from production and sales.


TYCOON: RISE of INDUSTRY will be a good addition to the terraforming city building genre of games. It has many similarities to other games of this ilk but also has its own differences that make it worth putting the time in for.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015