Game Dev Story

Charming and crudely fun as all it is, Game Dev Story is rather slight

Ever wanted to run your own games company? Well now's your chance.

The new iPhone game Game Dev Story puts you in charge turning a two-bit start-up staffed by unwashed game makers into a gaming big cheese that advertises its products with lunar graffiti.

Along the way you 'design' games by choosing their genres and themes, pick which consoles to back and to snub, hire and fire developers, and hype your latest masterpiece.

It might sound like some hideous business sim that comes on like a tarted-up spreadsheet, but thankfully Game Dev Story is more slapstick than simulation. Think budget rock band manager sim A Rockstar Ate My Hamster rather than Football Manager or any of those 'big in Germany' tycoon games.

So instead of eye-watering lists of figures there's adorable retro-visuals showing your developers bashing their keyboards with gusto and audio that reeks of mid-80s arcades.

There are plenty of gentle digs at the game business too; from developers that arrive to work with a cheery 'Morning!' to colleagues who've worked through the night; Dead Bull drinks to re-energise worn out employees and fans who start queuing for your new title months before it's finished.

Charming and crudely fun as all this is, Game Dev Story is rather slight – your main job is to stave off bankruptcy and use 'boosts' to get your team to refine your games at the right moment and it's far from demanding fare.

While depth isn't its strong point, the chance to release your own console or to try a different approach to building your game empire are enough to inspire more than enough replays to make its pint-sized price tag seem like a bargain.

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