This week, I was able to get my hands on the wonderful Coffee Shop Tycoon currently in Early Access on Steam. I know this game has been out for a while now but it wasn’t until recently that I heard about it. And, I was surprised to discover that the developers are still updating the game. I am always sceptical of Early Access games as often you find the creators stop developing it after a few months. But, I am pleasantly optimistic about this one. A simple management game but one that works so well I just had to share it with you all.
As you may imagine, there isn’t really much of a story with this type of game. You are a coffee connoisseur who wants to build an empire around it. Well, at least that was how I was playing it. Either way you start out your campaign with a reasonable sum of money and a very small little shop. I suppose that there may be more “story” if the developers continue to add to it. But, quite honestly, it really doesn’t need one. Ultimately the goal is to make a lot of money and be the best damn coffee seller in the world.
This is where Coffee Chop Tycoon really shines. What looks to be quite an innocuous tycoon game, much like any other out there, it isn’t. It is fun and quirky and honestly you could end up playing this game for hours. Which is exactly what I did until I ran out of features. You start with a measly $40,000 (trust me it’s not a lot) and with this you need to buy all your coffee making equipment and staff. Then it is a matter of keeping on top of all the important things. This isn’t another sit and wait for things to happen game, at least not early on it isn’t. You have to make sure you have enough coffee beans in order to make coffee. So, you need to keep an eye on your stock. You also need to keep and eye on its freshness because if it isn’t fresh your reputation starts to suffer.
The goal is to gain enough reputation, and money, to expand into other businesses. I messed this up slightly by not opening up the second shop when I was supposed to. Instead, I invested all my money into the first shop. To keep on top of your reputation, you need to keep your customers happy by providing them with all the services they need. And, no that doesn’t just mean coffee. You’ll need to invest in food goods as well and, when you reach a high enough level, resaerch into music, Wifi and even rewards systems.
My only criticism right now is that this game is still incomplete. Once you reach level 8 you can’t get any further (as of when this post is published). It would be nice to see what else they will add to the game including more drinks for the menu and some more areas to unlock. But, so far, so good!
Graphics & Sound
As you may expect from a tycoon game, the graphics are pretty simplistic. I personally, really like the art style, it has a nice charm to it. It certainly feels like an indie game, and I mean that in a good way. They new that their focus was the gameplay and they stuck to that. Just because the graphics are simple doesn’t mean they can’t be high quality. I think they got a nice balance with it. And, after all, it is a tycoon game, so it isn’t like the graphics need to be next gen or anything. It works for what it is.
The sound is quite atmospheric too. I mean, it’s a coffee shop so of course there are the sound effects you expect to hear. The grinding of the coffee beans is beautiful music to my ears. And of course, there is that satisfying “ker-ching” as the till rounds up all that money. Ah, what bliss.
The controls are pretty straight forward. It’s a management game, so you only really need your mouse to play. The menus are simple to find and navigate which is nice when you need to quickly buy a new batch of beans or cookies. You can fast forward time to hurry up the process of making profit. On the other end of things, you can also pause time for those moments when things are getting a little out of hand. I like how easy it is to figure out the controls for Coffee Shop Tycoon and once you have got the basics down, you’ll be a pro in no time.
At this point in time, the game is fairly easy. There isn’t much of a learning curve unfortunately. I expect that, in time, they will add harder levels and more management options that require a more tactical brain in the future. But right now, it is too easy to get everything. I’m trying not to be too disheartened by this as I know this game is still being developed. My hope is that later down the line we will get to see some real tycoon game conundrums pop up that make you work harder. Just please don’t let me down dev because I love your game so much!
Once again, this one is hard to measure at this stage. I could see Coffee Shop Tycoon potentially having a lot of replay value but that entirely depends on what the developer add to the game. I don’t want to judge this one just yet because of that reason. It wouldn’t be fair.