Played on: PC
ValuSoft’s latest addition to its Tycoon series, Tabloid Tycoon, is a game to play if I am keen on repeating an action again and again until my brain melts into a puddle of steaming ooze of dumb.
As its title suggests, I am in charge of running a tabloid here. There are several modes of gameplay. In the enterprise mode, I have to overcome several increasingly graded missions. In freeplay mode, all I have to do is to run the tabloid the way I like it. In the scenario mode, I have to complete several objectives to win a round. But in essence all three modes of gameplay are the same.
Playing this game means that I find myself looking at the same management menu throughout the whole game. The same animation, the same colors, the same screen. That’s a big tip towards “boring” already there. On this menu, I can select the human resource manager to hire photographers and journalists. I will then have to select the editor to assign these staff to the lead stories. There is a freelancer to sell headlines, a lawyer to handle lawsuits (and there will be many!), an accountant to check on the daily and weekly expenditure, and a saleslady to buy items that will supposedly help boost up my game. I can also expand the business and tabloid size, send a shifty-looking fellow to sabotage competitors, and win trophies for dubious achievements.
The thing is, there seems to be no rhyme or reason in this game. Everything seems random. Even when I have bought items like a motorcycle that are supposed to boost my tabloid performance, the chances of success or failure in the game still seems random. But the biggest problem with this game is its lack of interesting materials to keep my attention engaged. The tabloid storylines are constantly recycled with only a word or two changed each time. The staff photos are the same five or six images used again and again. The photos of each story are essentially the same few foregrounds and backgrounds mixed and match to give different permutations. Gameplay is limited because every round plays the same way – assign leads, check photos, consider espionage, publish, repeat, rinse.
Limited gameplay, lack of elements to keep the player intrigued enough to try and complete levels of higher difficulty, and random chances of success all come together to make Tabloid Tycoon a big time-wasting “Huh?” of a game.