Be the ethically questionable CEO that you’ve always dreamt of being in Startup Company: Console Edition.
From Danish developer Hovgaard Games and Spanish Publisher 2Awesome Studio who handled the console port, today we’ll be looking at the PS5 version.
Startup Company was released on 26th Jan and will cost £9.99/$12.99 on the PlayStation store.
Prove you have what it takes to be a CEO, without the risk of losing your life savings!
Startup Company is a solid and honestly pretty addictive business management simulator that will have you hooked for hours. You are the CEO of a tech startup. You will need to manage everything from the development and maintenance of your website to marketing and monetisation. The game’s concept is simple but well-executed. But don’t be fooled by its seeming simplicity, Startup Company has depth in its management that can see you bankrupt your startup before it’s even, well, started up.
Very early on you’ll notice the main downside of the console edition vs its counterpart on PC. The controls can feel clunky and unintuitive, and the menu navigation and general user interface can take some time to get used to. For a start, you can’t use the D-pad to go through menus. You use the left analogue stick to scroll through options and the right analogue stick to adjust the setting. It’s a bizarre choice. But to be fair it’s a minor issue and the controls do become more manageable once you get used to them.
You’ll start the game by choosing your name, an appearance from 6 presets, a company name and sector (Social-Media, Video Streaming, Dating App etc…). With that, Tim Apple was ready to launch his career as the CEO of the brand new Social Media phenomenon “Plenty of Phish”!
Get rich or die tryin!
There isn’t much of a story to the game. The main objective is to make your company the biggest tech company the world has ever seen. You’ll start with a healthy investment to get you going and a representative from this company will act as your guide throughout the game. She’ll be your tutorial and guide, helping you navigate some of the trickier parts of the game that’ll come later on. You have your office, a desk, and an investment, what more do you need? Well, employees who know what they’re doing for a start. You’ll begin by headhunting some employees to work at your company. Much like in a real company, there are different types of employees to fill various roles, and you need to hire the right one for the right job.
Employees will fulfil various roles, such as developing, designing, selling ad space, or managing other employees. You’ll need to keep your employees happy. The easiest way to achieve this is to periodically pay them bonuses, albeit not the most fiscally responsible. You can keep your employees happier and reduce the amount you pay out bonuses by meeting their needs. Some will be simple things like the type of desk they work at, a certain piece of decor, furniture or amenity in the office. But some are a bit, well, mean…
What kind of CEO will you be?
The management in this game is complex. It really does take some getting used to and can be daunting on the surface. It’s not just your employees you need to manage, but the budgets, the servers, the website, and your investments. Everything. But when you’re on a roll and everything is running as it should, it’s incredibly satisfying. When it’s not, well, then you can check out Jitter, Startup Company’s version of Twitter, and see what folk are saying about you online. But don’t worry, if they’re being too mean, you could always just make more money and buy Jitter, he said to no one in particular. Does anyone know what my ex-wife is upto? Can you tell her I miss her?
Graphics & Audio
I’ll be honest, the graphics aren’t amazing, it almost looks like a mobile game, and your guide throughout the game looks uncanny valley as hell. But for this type of game, it’s fine. The UI, while annoying at times to navigate, is clean and everything is clearly laid out. The soundtrack is a simple repetitive melody that I ended up muting. But it all runs well, and I guess that’s all I can really ask of a game of this type.
I’ve already put many hours into Startup Company, and it’s been a blast. It’s not the prettiest and the controls are janky at times, but it’s an intricate management simulator that you can keep coming back to. You have 50 in-game years to achieve your goal and each year consists of 50 in-game days. I spent most of my time with it at double speed and still put plenty of hours into growing “Plenty of Phish”. There is also a tonne of replayability. Start again and create a new company in a new sector. Take your company in a different direction. Startup Company could prove itself to be a real timesink.
As mentioned, Startup Company may not be the prettiest game, and the controls at times will make you wonder who on earth thought they were a good idea. But it is a very good simulator. It’s incredibly fun and engaging. There is a nice touch of humour in some of the thoughts of your employees as well as the names of your competitors. It’s a game with the potential for some serious mileage. For that reason, I’ll take a big sip from my self-bought “World’s Best Boss” mug and award Startup Company a Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.