Is Bookstore Dream a tycoon contender, or gameplay nightmare?
Weekly releases on the Nintendo 3DS eShop are a hit or miss affair. Some weeks consist of a jumble of non-hits, while other weeks there might be a killer line-up of releases. As a big fan of simulation/tycoon type games I was excited to hear that Bookstore Dream was set to release on the eShop in September, despite the fact that, yes, it is a bookstore simulation. Surprisingly, this genre of games has become quite popular, especially in the form of free-to-play Facebook games (Facebook being a curse word in my vocabulary) but anyone who has been playing games since the 90's might already be familiar with the classics like RollerCoaster Tycoon or Theme Hospital, one of my absolute favorites.
For those unfamiliar, Bookstore Dream is a game which is puts you in the role of a bookstore owner. As store owner, it's up to you to set up and update your store layout and stock, earn enough fame through sales to draw in bigger book publishers, manage store advertising (though TV ads, book signings, and more), manage staff, and progress though goals by tackling various tasks.
While heading in the right direction, the game lacks the care and attention needed to get there. One example is the "opening tutorial", which is available at the start of the game and accessible throughout, and is composed of 21 short pages of text. No in-game walkthrough, video, or images accompany the text. Ordinarily this would be passable, as we are talking about a DSiWare game, but when you take into account the awkward learning curve that is created because of the game's clunky layout, it makes getting started with Bookstore Dream a bit frustrating.
Once you get past the learning curve and get in to the swing of things, you'll encounter the next road block: no time management. Most store simulators include the option to speed up time, but not Bookstore Dream. While the days in the game pass relatively quickly, it becomes a bit tedious to have to wait several days to amass a sizable amount of money to work with, especially when there's not much to do in the mean time.
It's not all doom and gloom in this Bookstore Dream. While there are certainly a few things which make this game less than enjoyable, underneath it all is indeed a simple bookstore sim. Very no-frills, yet complicated in its own way. As a budget title, the content goes hand in hand with the price.