Monday, January 30, 2017

Showtime! Review


Screenshot of PC game Showtime!
God damnit Margaret and David! Why must you be that way?

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Myrtilus Entertainment
  • Publisher: KISS Ltd
  • Release Date: 1 September 2013
  • Time played: 4.1 hours

Showtime! has been a game that's been sitting on my Steam wishlist for quite some time, but it wouldn't be the only one; I currently have a whopping 1,057 games wishlisted on Steam so as you can see, I make good use of that Discovery Queue... It was only when I managed to get a free G2A voucher thanks to the folks at PC Powerplay that I had to think long and hard about what cheap games I could possibly get. Dead in Bermuda was one of the games I managed to get along with the game I'm reviewing today: Showtime!

So what enticed me to wishlisting Showtime! in the first place? Well, I have fond memories of a particular game released in 2005 by Lionhead Studios called The Movies which gave you the opportunity to run a movie studio over many decades. It was really addictive but the best part of the game was the ability to actually make movies and then share them online!

When I came across Showtime! I was thinking maybe this game would be an indie, low-budget version of The Movies; I was hoping it would have the same addictive core gameplay but for a fraction of the price tag.

And Showtime! does more-or-less have the same kind of gameplay as The Movies, i.e. you purchase facilities for your studio, hire scriptwriters, hire directors, hire producers, hire actors, film movies, pay for marketing, and cross your fingers that the movies you release are critical and commercial successes. The only major differences are that Showtime! is heavily menu-driven, you don't need to babysit actors, and you can't actually create and share player-created videos like you did in The Movies.

What I like:


Quite addictive

Despite the game not having all the bells and whistles that AAA titles like The Movies have, it's surprisingly addictive. I actually found it quite challenging to try and release a film that was the best-selling film of the year, let alone one that rated well with the critics. I think this challenge is what got me uttering "just...one...more...turn..." all the time, as if I was a Civ addict or something...

Accurate portrayal of industry

Okay, I don't claim to be a movie industry professional, but at least to an outsider like me, the game seems quite accurate in portraying the industry. Making a movie that's a critical and commercial success isn't easy. I mean sure, you can pump out profitable movies that are really terrible or you can blow your budget in making a well regarded movie, but making a movie that rakes in the dough and is adored by the critics is rare. The game apparently also takes into account several other variables, such as changing tastes in genres by region, time period and viewer age (amongst other things).

Parodies

Many of the movie studio, actor, award and critic names are parodies of actual studios, actors, awards and critics. It also leads me to believe that the developer is Australian since you don't only have critics such as Metacritique, Rotten Potatoes and The Internet Film Database but also At the Cinemas and The Herald Moon.

Custom movie posters

If you're not content with the default options available for designing custom movie posters you're able to upload your own. As an added bonus, taking the effort to create a custom movie poster actually helps give you a boost to the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

What I dislike:


Graphics

The game's graphics aren't the best as it's mainly menu-driven and the interface makes the game look like a business simulation game from the 1990s. I also have a dislike of 3D Poser models which seem to have been used as portraits for the actors, directors and producers you can hire in the game. I actually would've preferred simple 2D artwork instead.

Lots of trial and error

While there is a lot of help and tooltips available while you're playing the game they sometimes don't go in-depth enough. Consequently, a lot of trial and error is involved when trying to figure out how the game works.

Achievements

There are achievements in-game but why not integrate them with Steam? Where are the Steam achievements?

(The game does have Steam trading cards though, so it's not all bad).

Score – 6/10 (Okay)


Showtime!'s low production values means the game looks like something developed in the 1990s and sometimes it's a bit difficult to figure out whether whatever you're doing is actually making a positive impact. However, Showtime! is a fairly competent movie studio simulator which can be quite addictive at times and you can get it all for under $10.

If you're not sure whether the game is for you, try out the demo.

Is the game worth $5.99 USD?: Yes. That's about $8 AUD with the current exchange rates. While the game looks rather plain and primitive, it can be addictive at times and there's quite a bit of replay value.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Official Showtime! Website ]


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