The thing that I love about tycoon games is that basically, no subject is beneath them. From running an amusement park to managing your own transportation business, tycoon games are putting your entrepreneurial spirit, commercial shrewdness, and know-how to the ultimate test as you strive to expand, outsmart your competition and place your business on the map. Regardless of their topic, behind all those games lies a simple human need to rise at the challenge and be the best you can be at given circumstances.
But what if fate had dealt you really lousy cards and you need to work twice as hard if you want to attain all those good things in life that you need and deserve? Junkyard Tycoon, an android tycoon game by Lana Cristina is a story about a man who suddenly found himself at the bottom of the commercial food chain. Economic crisis spares no one, and, since we obviously live in a dog-eat-dog world, one day you’ve been brusquely fired from your job of supervisor. You’ve lost your job, the bank took your home, and even your beloved car was impounded since you’ve been late with your payments. Thankfully, every cloud has a silver lining: you’ve also inherited a piece of property – a car junkyard business in the middle of some godforsaken desert which seems like a nuclear holocaust passed through it. Do you have what it takes to get back on your feet again and make the best of this unfavorable situation?
If the answer is yes, you’ll know what to do: get your hands dirty and start dismantling some cars. The gameplay of Junkyard Tycoon very simple, especially because some of its features still aren’t quite working, which limits the number of things you can do. You’ll start the game by founding your company and getting your first car – a humble Lazda 1000. The procedure then goes like this: you’ll move the car to the service ramp where you’ll start dismantling it for spare parts. Of course, as any action in this game, that takes a certain amount of time, so you better arm yourself with patience. If patience isn’t one of your stronger points you can use some diamonds to speed things up. Another option that game offers you from the very start is to while waiting, you can spend your time in the nearby casino, which admittedly might be a strange choice for a man who just went bankrupt (is this, perhaps, some strange criticism of the American economy?). In the casino you can play open the tool case game and earn money, energy or various items – of course, just like in any casino, games won’t come for free and you’ll have to invest some casino money if you want to play. When you’ve finally salvaged parts, the rest of the car goes to car baller machine to get ready them for recycling. At the warehouse, you can sell items you’ve salvaged and a great detail is that the prices on the market aren’t fixed, but are constantly fluctuating. That’s why if you want to profit (and that goes for all other transactions in the game), you have known acceptable prices. Naturally, at the beginning of the game, not counting a few basic structures, your junkyard will mostly be empty. Pretty soon, you’ll have to buy a new service ramps and upgrade other structures so that you can increase their capacity. As can be expected from this type of game, you won’t be stuck with Lazda 1000 for too long. The game supports many different kinds of cars which will help you advance your modest junkyard into a booming business.
As you can see, the basic concept of Junkyard Tycoon is more than sound – the problem is that realization is somewhat lacking. Ok, the game is still being developed with new buildings and features being added all the time (at least developers claim so), so we can expect that at some point it will reach more or less presentable shape. I’m certainly willing to turn the blind eye towards multiple graphical glitches, although some of them severely restrict the gaming experience or options that simply aren’t working. What bothers me are some fundamental aspects of the gameplay which won’t go away even when developers bring their creation in tip-top condition. The game is based around the freemium model, which by itself is nothing uncommon. The problem is that this one belongs to that especially annoying kind of freemium which won’t allow you to play smoothly and will interrupt you frequently with long pauses and waiting times, demanding from players to pay diamonds if they want to speed them up. Of course, you’ll get diamonds by paying them real money or (which is equally annoying) watching advertisements and sharing promotional videos for the game on Facebook.
In any case, Junkyard Tycoon certainly has some interesting ideas and nice potential which still haven’t been fully realized. We can only hope that, since this is still a work in progress, developers will implement some of the feedback that gamers had been sending them and that we’ll, in the end, get another decent tycoon simulation for Android phones.