App Reviewed on: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
User Interface Rating:
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Deep down, when you put the effort in, I know Rocket Valley Tycoon is an interesting and complex game. It's fun to watch, fun to manage, and interesting to figure out what makes the world tick.
However, if you're not much into tycoon-style games this really won't be for you. Despite its style and fluid performance, we're left rather wanting in this idle experience and that's a bit of a shame.
One small step for man
In Rocket Valley Tycoon you've got to build up a series of factories, processing plants, stations, and mines to harvest material and make all sorts of goods to sell and to keep the level's city happy.
It's a bit of a mixed bag in terms of genre. It's got the tycoon element, but it's also a bit of an idle clicker and a bit of a resource management game at its bare bones.
While you're pulling out all of the valley's resources you've also got to pay attention to the game's tech tree and unlock items within it to progress. If you're mining copper, you need to build an adjacent factory to build copper plates so you can then build another for copper wire, and so on.
You also need to build train tracks and stations to transport the goods between the cities, mines, and factories, and in that there's a little bit of a strategic element too. You can place your stations and tracks anywhere on the map, but ideally you want to make things as tight knit as possible.
As you progress, you'll earn more and more money which you can then invest into upgrading your factories or unlocking more parts of the map. Your counter will also keep going up when you're not in-game, so you don't have to stare at it for hours on end.
There's a fair bit to do/keep an eye on, a lot of different elements to mess around with, and it does have the potential to be too cluttered for its own good. Luckily, its super simple controls help to keep things from getting overwhelming in the long run.
One giant leap for mankind
My major issue with the game is how it all kicks off. Its tutorial manages to throw too much and not enough information at you somehow, and feels a bit disjointed to be much use. You're better off just clicking about and figuring stuff out for yourself.
While the free to play mechanics are pretty mellow compared to a lot of other titles on the market, the wait time can be a pain at times. To build factories you need money, to make money you've got to sell things, and to sell things takes a lot of patience.
This won't be a big deal for many of you, I'm sure, but for me it slowed the pace right down and made it harder for me to stay connected with everything.
Rocket Valley Tycoon has a few annoying niggles here and there, but at its core it's an interesting mashup of genres that mostly works and it's free to play, too.
It's a game you can drop into for a couple of minutes or tap about in for a couple of hours, just be sure you've the patience to properly learn the mechanics to avoid frustration.