Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
On the surface, Universal Movie Tycoon has all the makings of a hit. Not enough games focus on building a successful movie studio, they seem all too readily focused on constructing cities and less imaginative types of businesses. As a huge movie fan, I was all too keen to check out a game that lets me live out a fantasy. With the right dose of in-app purchases, Universal Movie Tycoon could have been great but unfortunately it doesn't hit the spot.
Early impressions are promising. Players are guided through a simple process in which they set up the basics of a studio then put the wheels in motion for filming a cinematic great. Classic blockbuster films are offered from Uncle Buck to Jurassic Park and Bridget Jones's Diary. Over 35 in all should keep players busy but they probably won't get that far.
Not long into the game, the player is tasked with studio goals to boost experience gain and profit. These range from completing certain movies to placing extra sets and decorations around the area. They're simply solved, easily getting the player to level 5. This is where I hit the quite significant paywall. Movie magic bucks are used to skip ahead through completing certain structures. The tutorial encourages the player to do so as otherwise it would take them a few days to complete the basics. These bucks are also used to unlock certain sets and items such as a props department. These things being required to complete studio goals and level up at a smooth pace.
There just aren't enough bucks to go around so the player is pushed into buying them with real money quite soon into the game. They're not very cheap either with the lowest price weighing in at $1.99 and the biggest bundle priced at a hefty $49.99. With limited depth, there's not much justification to spend those precious pennies.
It's unfortunate that restrictions are placed so quickly within Universal Movie Tycoon. It is a great idea and fairly original. In this current unbalanced guise however, it won't appeal to many players past the opening hours.