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Should I be excited about… GearCity

Mike gets his motor running

images (3)Management games are a tricky prospect. They have to contain enough of the subject matter to make it feel realistic. For example, in a movie management game you need to be able cast the main actors in your film but not the make-up artist. Make the game too realistic and you run the risk of being over-complicated and losing the player. The makers of GearCity, however, seem determined to give us as many choices as possible as well as lots of addictive gameplay.

Currently on Steam’s Early Access platform, GearCity is a management game from VENT (Visual Entertainment and Technologies) where you get to build and manage your own vehicle manufacturer. Starting from scratch, GearCity allows you to pick which era to begin your game in. There is the choice of four “golden ages” of car manufacturing for you to choose from. You can pick the 1900s where it all began; the roaring 20s where cars were gathering steam; the 1950s which saw the rise of the American greats or the 1980s with all those amazing supercars. In your quest to build the best cars ever you will face decisions not only on what type of cars to build but all the mundane tasks. Marketing, factory management, labour, union management, and lobbying are just some of the obstacles that will stand in the way between you and Automotive history.

images (1)The first thing you will notice about GearCity is the amount of things you have to manage – the sheer scale of the game is very impressive. The game can be played with over two hundred rival AI companies. Add to this the level of detail you have in the vehicles you design and you will quickly realise something else – you are going to need help to get your head around this massive game. Currently the game has no tutorials. There are a set of tutorial videos that are not part of the game but are accessible through the Steam overlay. Although these videos do cover pretty much everything in the game, it would be better if you could access them from inside the game. A hands-on tutorial would also be rather good as you sometimes find you’ve forgotten some of the videos when you go to try and do something for yourself. The important thing to stress with GearCity is that the game is part of the Early Access programme and the developers are actively encouraging users to send feedback about the game. There seems to be an active community both on Steam and GearCity’s websites. It is really refreshing to see Early Access being used as it was intended and does give you hope for the finished product that will be GearCity.

The gameplay of GearCity is the standard type you will see in management games such as Game Dev Tycoon and GP Story. You are presented with various choices for every aspect of the car you are designing. You will also get presented with news and information that may have you tinkering with production levels, marketing budgets and dealing with labour unions. Whilst the game may look and play similar to nearly every other management sim out there, the main difference here is that the amount of duties and scope of the game is enough for you to lose yourself in for the duration of the games one hundred and twenty year turn time. As hinted at in the previous sentence, the visual style of GearCity is very similar to most management games. In fact the game looks similar to another car management game, Motor City, which came out in the nineties. It is clear that someone at VENT has fond memories of Motor City and has put some loving nods into GearCity. The office from where you command your motor empire from is clearly one of these nods. It does take it a step further and claim it as its own though. Rather than being the same every time you play a game, your office will be styled according to which era you are playing in. For example, the 1980s office has a swanky personal computer whilst the 1900s office has the correct telephone from the period.

large-7-640x350In summary, GearCity is ambitiously aiming to be one of the most in depth management games we have seen. VENT are not doing this alone though and seem to be taking on a lot of the feedback from their audience. If you do like management games and fancy building your own supercar from scratch then you should be excited about GearCity. It is still rough around the edges but the way developers and fans are working on the game together is very promising and definitely makes GearCity one to watch.

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