Mat Langford’s Gaming World: Kairosoft makes addictive games. But you’ve probably never heard of them.

Kairosoft might not be a name you’re familiar with. If you don’t own an iPhone, you may have never heard of them at all. They’re a developer out of Japan, and they’ve had a recent string of hit games for the iPhone. I personally have been a fan of them since their first game, and I’ve been hooked on the rest of their offerings since. Here’s a review of some of the games they’ve come out with (the one’s I’ve played), hopefully you’ll try them out!

Game Dev Story

Game Dev Story
Game Dev Story

The game that started it all. For a fan of video games, I was excited to hear about this game, which is essentially a simulation of a video game development studio. You choose the genre of games that you create, hire and train your employees, and try and make the best games that you can. Your success is based on a scoring system where the higher the skill of your employees, the better your game is. While in the development stage, your team works together, using bonuses and research to bring the overall score of your game to the highest level possible. Then, once your game is developed, it goes to retail where you make your money. You can advertise on blimps, take out space in mazagines and upgrade your studio, eventually becoming the biggest game studio around and winning the game of the year award at the end of year ceremonies. All in all, a pretty decent sim, and a great way to pass the time.

Mega Mall Story

Mega Mall Story
Mega Mall Story

After putting a few total hours into Game Dev Story, I heard about Kairosoft’s new game, Mega Mall Story. Being a fan of GDS, I knew they had a reputation for creating engaging, fun games, so I downloaded it and gave it a try. It was a pretty good sim, following the same basic principles of GDC, but in a mall setting. Your goal in this game was to create and maintain a shopping center, building stores and advertising to get as many customers into your facility. You can attract additional customers by adding things like a subway entrance, a heliport and bus stops. You can develop land around your mall, adding apartments, amusement parks and other things. You upgrade your stores so that they have more stock and higher prices, you can throw sales and even win awards. Again, for a subway ride home, this game is a great way to pass the time.

Grand Prix Story

Grand Prix Story
Grand Prix Story

Finally, I heard of Kairosoft’s latest game, Grand Prix Story. This was a bit different from the other games, as it added a racing element, and you can actually watch the races. You start in a small garage with a small racing team, and expand from there. You get bigger garages, better cars and better parts. You can upgrade your cars and parts, research new parts and hire new drivers and teams. Once you’ve improved to certain points, you win bigger and more important races. You then get better sponsors and more money. Watching the races is pretty fun (for the first little bit) and it offers a cool distraction just when the car tuning starts to get monotonous.

Again, it’s a great way to waste a few minutes when you’re commuting.

While the games are great, they do suffer from a few flaws. Mall Story gets fairly repetitive after a while, and after one play through, you’re bored and don’t really want to play it again. In GP Story, the races are great, but the cash you win from dominating the races is nearly impossible to spend. All of your upgrades come from research points that are earned arbitrarily during races. As you round corners you sometimes get them. You end up with millions of dollars, and nothing to spend it on.

But again, for games that are meant to be simple ways to pass the time, it’s hard to really criticize them.

If you haven’t tried any of Kairosoft’s games, you owe it to yourself to do it, they’re fun, quick, and affordable. Let us know if you’ve played them and what you think!

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