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Game Info:

Software Inc.
Developed By: Coredumpling
Published By: Coredumpling
Released: May 1, 2015
Available On: PC, Linux, MacOS
Genre: Tycoon, Simulation, Strategy
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1 offline
Price: $13.99

Software Inc. is an in-depth business tycoon game about developing software. You start your own business in the bustling new age of 1980, with only one employee: yourself. You rent out a small space or buy a plot of land and get to work to reshape the industry. Work your way up the software ladder until you become a billion-dollar titan!

Despite only being in alpha, Software Inc. is one of the best tycoon games I've played, and it scratches my tech itch perfectly. You start off as I've mentioned above, with only a small loan, some rented land and one employee. Software Inc. has a skill system; what this means is that in order to develop one piece of software you need multiple types of workers and abilities.

There are 5 fields you can find for employees: coders, designers, artists, marketers, and leaders. Some employees can be skilled in multiple fields, however they always have one field they're better in. There are also specializations; these are 2D, 3D, audio, networks, algorithms and systems. This can sound complicated, and at the start, it is. But allow me to explain how it works. Say you want to make a 2D image editor. You're going to need designers to create the rough idea, then you'll need coders to help program it and artists to help make it appealing to use. Plus this is a 2D editor, so your employees must be specialized in 2D. Afterwards you'll need marketers to help promote the product, so the excitement for it doesn't die down to ensure maximum sales.

Software Inc.
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting and complex gameplay; Good art style that performs excellently; Fun soundtrack; Great replayability
Weak Points: Difficult to learn in the beginning; Somewhat complicated UI
Moral Warnings: None

At its core, this is what Software Inc. is all about. However there are many other things you need to make sure it runs just right. Software Inc. employs an interesting effectiveness system for employees. You must make sure that they're being provided with human essentials. This means that whatever your prospective business is, you must include essential things like toilets, food, light and temperature management. If the toilets aren't clean, if there's no food, if your rooms are dimly lit, if they're too cold or hot, then your employees won't be satisfied. The lower their satisfaction, the slower their work will be. If it goes low enough for long enough, they may even quit. There are other factors for effectiveness like happiness, lowering their salary, having rooms that are too noisy, or not getting them enough time to interact with the rest of your employees. You can overwork employees, forcing them to work too many hours or putting them on too many projects at once. One method I haven't used in my 50 hours of playtime is crunch, which puts your employees into overdrive at the cost of exhausting them afterwards with a recovery that's longer the more time you spend in crunch.

This is only scraping the surface of what's required to keep a successful business. When you finally make a product, you're going to need to get it to people. There are two ways to get a product to your customers: physically, or digitally. If you choose to go physical you have two options. You can print your own copies of your software, although this is a lengthy process. You have to purchase printers first, then purchase pallets in order to store the printed copies, and after that hire couriers to transport the prints to stores. Each printed copy costs $0.20 or $0.15, depending on which printer you purchase. If you choose to go digital, you must first set up some servers. Each server is costly, hot and incredibly noisy. As such, you usually have to dedicate an entire room or section to servers. Each server you add raises your electricity and internet bill, usually to where I can't make my money back on them. You can attempt to do things like selling the product of other companies, however this also increases the bill so it's not really self-sustainable.

Software Inc.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Software Inc. uses a simplistic 3D art style, and I love it. The design is pleasing to the eyes and makes the world look like clay. In contrast however, the UI system is a bit confusing. I would not say it's overly complicated, as every menu has its purpose, however it takes a while to learn and get used to. Granted, once you learn what each menu does and get used to it, everything starts to make a lot more sense. One thing I would like to commend the developer for is a great selection of graphical options. While this game isn't necessarily high-end, the ability to turn down or fine tune settings to get great frame rates without a loss of quality on my budget laptop or PC was nice. Software Inc. also has a very simple yet fun soundtrack; no matter how much I play this game the uplifting and happy soundtrack always makes me enjoy it that much more. There's also no moral issues present in Software Inc. You can't work employees to death, cheat your customers or destroy businesses. Although it is possible for employees to die if they're older.

Although there are many more cool mechanics and features in Software Inc. I could talk about, I think I should let this game speak for itself. If you enjoy tycoon games and love tech development, this is the game for you. It's a lot of fun, and has a ton of replayability. While it might be difficult to learn in the beginning, it rewards those who want to learn its unique and deep mechanics.

- Remington

About the Author

Remington

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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