Game Dev Story was one of my few purchases on my first Android phone and I enjoyed it so seeing a racing management sim i was curious.
It wouldn’t be the first racing management game that I’d played and there have been times where I found the strategy interacting when watching F1 but how would that translate into a Kairosoft title?
Well it didn’t.
The game, not all that unsurprisingly, focuses on the management away from the track with activities like “designing” a car, building a team and improving performance. There are little races to watch but whilst relatively entertaining provide no tactical or race management gameplay. I kind of expected this based on designing games in Game Dev Story but it is still a bit of a shame.
The start of the game was incredibly dull. With a lack if options i found myself going through the mandatory steps then waiting a lot, needlessly spending cash on upgrading just to have something to do, although this would pause ongoing progress meaning the waiting was not reduced. It was a poor initial experience.
The game warmed up eventually with the ability to research and upgrade plus I started winning races. However, as with Game Dev Story, the gameplay involves waiting for actions to complete. These aren’t intervals like social media games designed to see you leave and return (and return and return). You just wait a short period. I get that to ensure you don’t complete the game in one session they need to slow the player down but for a casual game that ought to grip you very quickly, there’s too many opportunities to leave. Even once you get going, there’s still too much waiting.
Closing the app and doing something else doesn’t resolve the waiting either. You need to perform a task and twiddle your thumbs for a short while before performing another task. Perhaps the potential for multiple groups provides multitasking, giving players the ability to plan and interact with several things simultaneously but it wasn’t available in my shot of the lite version.
There was more to the flawed initial experience than waiting. It was very repetitive. After each of my first half dozen races I would have expected to be unlocking new car parts, new things to do and to be making decisions. However throughout the two in-game years I unlocked only half a dozen car parts, no new cars and had very little new to play with.
It just took too long to unlock things. For a casual game I very much expect to be spending my first 20 minutes of gameplay to be unlocking things left, right and center but instead for some reason Grand Prix Story Lite gave me very little to start with, slowly opening up more.
The initial user experience would be much improved with shorter waiting times. Within the first few minutes I should have experiences a variety of the gameplay available and have an understanding of what is on offer. Then of course I could improve and develop my car, have a curve of exploring with unlocks becoming rarer and rarer in time etc.
I think there may be an interesting casual game here but the opening stint involved too much waiting and “going through the motions” before it became enjoyable so I can’t see myself upgrading from Lite.
Note: The screenshots are official ones from the Play store for Grand Prix Story Lite, however they all use content not available in the Lite version…