Software Inc, developed and published by Coredumping is an amazing little gem which has lurked in the harder-to-find reaches of Steam’s Early Access. Allowing you to create and run your very own software company, Software Inc has the depth and replayability which will keep you entertained for hours on end as you try to rise from a one-man studio to being the biggest player in the software field. For an Early Access game, it is more than worth its £8.99 price tag, which is more than can be said for the majority of games in EA.
I love that moment when you start up a game and just instantly fall in love with it. You’re not always quite sure what it is, but it just captures you and takes you in. I had that moment with Software Inc. Whether its the simplistic yet endearing graphics or just the superb gameplay and depth, Software Inc is without doubt, one of my favourite games currently in Early Access.
As you try to succeed in Software Inc, you will find yourself building multi-story offices for your company, managing your employees, buying and selling stocks as well as developing software and completing contracts. There is just so much to do in Software Inc and depending on what options you choose at the start, can be a real challenge to succeed and thrive in an ever-changing simulated market.
To begin your journey as a Software developer, you must first create your avatar, give him/her a name, choose somes clothes, select what type of personality they have and assign him or her some skills before choosing your company name. Then you can change many variables such as your starting cash, the location of your office, difficulty etc. From there, you are given an empty piece of land for you to build your first office on.
The key is to build your office with your future employees in mind as they need optimal working conditions if they are to work efficiently and complete your contracts and software development on time. While this can make them see robotic, boy do they love coffee and will need a coffee machine if they are to function, it is another element to consider when building your offices and hiring staff. However you don’t want to build more than you need when you start as it will cost you in upkeep as well as initial investment which could be better spent on furnishing, recruitment and sustaining your company through the start-up period.
As a software developer, hence the title Software Inc, you must create software. This can range from developing operating systems from the ground up to creating your own video games, you can even set up your own servers for products, source control and running your own online store. To fully complete a product, you must first design the product. This can take a long time depending on the scope of the product and your employees skill range. The more skilled they are, they quicker and more efficient the design process is. The same applies for developing the product itself as well, except now those with high programming skills will be needed. There are different specializations in both design, programming and art such as 2D, 3D, System, Audio etc. If you are making a 2D game, someone with high design skills in Audio won’t offer much to the overall product. It’s important to choose a product to develop that you have the skill set to do. Not only that, the market changes. Competitors release their own products and by the team you finish making that new operating system to take over the world, the boat could have sailed or your product may now be behind the times.
Software Inc appears simple at face value and can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone, although it may take you several hours to get to grips with how the game works, yet it manages to offer that deepness which so many of us enjoy in tycoon games. The developers got it spot on when they said that Software Inc. combines tycoon gameplay with multi-story building mechanics, employee management and a simulated market.
Of course Software Inc won’t be for everyone. As someone who enjoys the game immensely, I can look past some of the issues which may be a stumbling block for others. For those who are looking for another Game Dev Tycoon or Mad Games Tycoon, this probably isn’t it. The choice you have when developing games is very restricted, you don’t have much control other than choosing a title, platform, operating system along with some features. You can’t pick a genre or anything of that sort so if your all about creating games, there are better games out there to buy. I personally would have loved to have had the options available in Game Dev Tycoon for example when I am creating my games. It makes them feel more personal than just a piece of random software. It can come across that the game puts the focus on making money and staying in business rather than developing creative, interesting and experimental products. While the better the product the more money you will make, it can get all too samey having to choose from the same few options each time you develop a new product.
However Software Inc is a game full of potential and for those who will enjoy what it has to offer, it is undoubtedly one of the best Early Access games on Steam. With further improvements scheduled and more features incoming, it is up to you whether or not you hold fire on your purchase and see how it develops. At just £8.99 however, it is definitely worth a purchase if you are a fan of tycoon games and want to experience managing a business in the software industry. Better yet, if you’re still unsure Coredumping allow you to try out a demo of the game, so there is always that as well!