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E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon Review (PC)

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E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon Promotional Art

To say that I wanted to earn a living in the field of business and innovation in E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon isn’t entirely true. No, I wanted a bit more than that—to monopolize the industry and transform every available asset into a financial node in the ever-evolving ecosystem that I was hell-bent on formulating. I wanted to belittle my competitors—send them running with their tails between their legs and into darker pastures, for I could in turn capitalize on their failures and evolve not only as a creative aficionado, but as a fledgling tycoon. Of course, I had all of these ideas, and I had that ever-evasive dream that often slipped through the cracks of my fingers, but in truth, I was just another office grunt, shackled to the idea of, if I could envision it, then enough blood, sweat, and tears would elevate it into a reality.

It all started with a small idea—a niche product that, in my mind, would eventually pave the way for an infinite wealth of branching concepts and services. Aside from that, I had little more to my name—an office desk, and a shipping container that served as the DIY depot for what was to be the cornerstone for a soon-to-be business utopia. That, at least, was the beginning to what would soon become a snowball of events and natural-born rivalries on a downhill course towards global domination. Alas, it all started with a post-it note.

To put you in the picture, E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon has just launched on PC. However, if you’ve yet to take to the road of business development and crunch some numbers, then this ought to sway you into the right direction. Care to join us as we delve a little deeper? Then let’s talk.

To Dream Is to Monopolize

Office space and staff room (E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon)

E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon, at its core, is a top-down business simulation game, and as such, a vessel for creating lavish brands and products for those who are morally inclined to buy them. As with any game of its kind, it features a rags-to-riches structure that sees you gradually ascending through the hierarchy of the trade—a stepping stone process that involves finding fresh ideas to distribute to the masses, and amassing great wealth for the sake of boosting the overall presence of the business, as well as its ability to thrive and prosper in your absence. As I said earlier, though, it all begins with a paper trail—a small office space, a desk, and a simple idea that, to your knowledge, has the potential to become the missing piece in the world of innovative concepts.

Starting out in Business Tycoon isn’t overly difficult; naturally, it supplies you with a few office supplies, a small team of lackeys, and an idea of what could be should you choose to push your workforce through the wringer and toward a financial apex of some sort. Aside from having to plant a few set pieces and build the walls of your business, you also have to generate an employment plan that allows your staff to grow both mentally and financially. How do you go about doing this? Why, by creating a network of incentives, of course—schemes that offer lavish perks including scholarship programs, retirement benefits, and health insurance coverage. Suffice it to say, if you fail to keep your employees in check, then you’ll ultimately wind up with far more issues than you have the ability to fix. Sad times.

RE: Overtime

Staff perks menu (E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon)

To say that there’s an overwhelming amount of things to accommodate in Business Tycoon wouldn’t be true, as it does make an effort to usher you in the right direction from the moment you step foot into the hot seat, to the second you part ways with your pension fund. With all of that said, there is one major issue that you have to overcome: the competitors—rival companies that, like you, share the dream of turning a basic product into an profitable enterprise. As a result of this, you do have to learn how to counter certain situations, even if it means having to undercut the market, or perhaps even reduce labor costs to increase the turnover rate by month’s end. Either way, the goal for each of the scenarios is mostly the same: outsell your rival, and use the revenue from your products to further expand your empire.

To say that Business Tycoon is a perplexing game wouldn’t be entirely accurate, because it does make a genuine attempt to explain how certain things work, and it does give you a little bit of advice on which avenues to explore, and which to avoid for the sake of retaining your reputation. With that said, there are several balls to juggle, so to speak, and if your staff aren’t best pleased with the choices you make, or the benefits that come with the job, then chances are you’ll end up with a cascading effect that will not only leave you with a financial disadvantage, but also low morale, thus allowing the rival firms to sneak in and claim your rightful place atop the highest podium.

More Balls to Juggle

Busy office space interior (E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon)

There does come a point during the series of episodes that are sprawled out before you where the overall process of researching, grinding, and formulating fresh ideas for the sake of overtaking your business rivals does become a little repetitive. For example, the latter half of the products that you dip your toes into aren’t often as easily obtainable as the initial batch, and can therefore take a lot longer to develop and distribute. Add the fact that there isn’t a great deal of replay value to, well, any of these projects that you enlist, and it becomes all rather trivial sooner rather than later. And that’s a shame, truly, as the first web of items that you enlist as an entrepreneur can be a lot of fun to shovel through whilst you iron out the creases and learn the ropes. But that’s just it: the novelty soon wears off.

Of course, there’s really only so much you can do with the office space, too. Aside from being able to add a bit of decor to the room, you can’t expand and build your own facilities. Don’t get me wrong, there is a fairly generous amount of customizable materials that you can gloss over, but, like the gameplay loop itself, it’s a novelty that eventually begins to spread thin and leave you feeling hungry for something with a little more meat on the bones, so to speak. For what it’s worth, though, I for one did enjoy spending time with the preliminary phases of the development process, but, when all’s said and done, it was a flame that soon felt extinguished by the time the company found its feet.

Verdict

Product milestone menu (E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon)

E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon delivers a simple yet promising simulation experience that’s as equally engaging as it is rewarding, and it certainly offers more than enough to keep you from disembarking the carriage at the earliest possible opportunity. Granted, it does take a fair amount of getting used to, but at no point would I paint it as something that’s borderline impossible to get accustomed with as time progresses forward. No, it isn’t quite as unforgiving as, say, a business simulation game that inconveniently punishes you for making even the smallest mistakes, though it does require a bit of time and effort to make a little less insufferable. But that’s a business sim, in a nutshell — so we can’t really argue with what’s already in the DNA of the chosen genre, to be fair.

When all’s said and done, you could, in all fairness, quite easily mistake Business Tycoon for a slew of other management-type build-‘em-ups, and yet, I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt and say, in spite of its relatively generic gameplay loop and design choices, it is still a whole lot of fun to watch unfold. Aside from it sporting a generous selection of customizable components and in-game set pieces, it also offers an oddly deep dive into the art of managing a startup company from its humble beginnings through to its natural ascension to the apex of its craft. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch, but I can certainly see what the devs were aiming to encapsulate in its product, at least.

Anyway, if you are looking to kill a few hours to the grind (and boss a few colleagues around along the way, perhaps), then you’ll probably get a good kick out of this one. Well, here’s hoping.

E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon Review (PC)

A Short-Lived Enterprise

While E-Startup 2: Business Tycoon does have its positives—a clean art style and relatively straightforward gameplay mechanics, for example—it’s certainly a novel concept that soon begins to grate on the senses after a handful of successful ventures. It’s fun in short bursts, but I wouldn’t invest more time to its grind than necessary.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.