GearCity Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

GearCity  Preview


While we, gamers, have access to a vast amount of ‘tycoon’ games available, there aren’t many that would simulate the ownership of a proper car company. In the last couple of months, several upcoming titles that deal with the given subject caught my attention. One of them – GearCity. GearCity is the first car-tycoon game to be released on Steam and as such will probably garner considerable attention. Naturally, since it’s currently an Early Access title, it’s hard to say what will come of it in the end, but playing the early version has given me some insight into the game’s premise.

The game starts with an overwhelming amount of things thrown at you. Well, not directly, but you’re just pitched into the game’s nicely rendered 60s/70s office without any real tutorial. I should note that the devs have created helpful guides and appropriate videos to back this part of the game up, but not having a real, implemented tutorial means that a number of people will be lost in the maze of settings and options GearCity offers. Now, what I expected (and wanted) from this game was to give me the tools to design vehicles, engines and similar things, while the metagame would give me a light economical simulator to get lost in. As it currently stands, GearCity does the exact opposite. The game is all about the economy of the car industry, while allowing some basic vehicle designing elements for good measure.

For what it’s worth, it’s a good economical sim, though. It tracks all kinds of parameters and nudges the AI to react accordingly. In return, you get an experience that’s actually pretty close to how things would happen in real life. Naturally, this means that you too will have to keep track of all numbers the game might present to you from time to time. If you have substantial experience with similar games, you will probably feel more at home than an average gamer would, since GearCity takes its complexity seriously. Now, take into account the severe lack of tutorials the game happily shows and you’ll know you’ve got a tough nut to crack.

When it comes to graphically showing something, the game doesn’t really shine. While the office you’ll spend considerable time in is nicely drawn, with changing animations and stuff, just about everything else is lackluster. Of course, there’s plenty of time to work on those things, but still. The UI is obviously inspired by art deco, and looks fine all the while being fairly responsive and relatively helpful. However, it can bug out in the car editors, leaving you with unintelligible text in place of options you’re supposed to click on. As for the editors themselves, they leave a lot to be desired. Building engines, frames and such means dealing with choices that are rudimentary at best. Not to mention that it’s a gamble whether or not the end product has the statistics you wanted it to have. Moving onto the car designer, things are a little bit better, but underwhelming nonetheless. When manipulating vehicle chassis, you’ll have a choice of multiple pre-made frames you will simply be modifying. Naturally, there’s a bunch of sliders involved, but whatever you do, it’s always easy to see what base they come from. Still, it’s easy to create a relatively interesting chassis without too much hassle. What will annoy you, though, is the obnoxious system that deals with sticking things such as wheels, doorknobs and headlights to the future car. While offering but a couple of boring options, its most ubiquitous feature is the terrible manipulation of these „attachments“. You’ll be hard pressed to create a car that looks driveable. Of course, this is an Early Access title and the bugs/faults the game currently has will probably get dealt with, eventually.

Finally, it’s difficult to see GearCity changing its economical focus onto something more „interesting“, so to say. While I’m sure every aspect of the game will be upgraded and improved upon, it’s also probably going to remain a fairly difficult and complicated game that will satisfy only a certain niche. Still, if you love cars and car industry, I suggest looking into GearCity and seeing what comes of it.