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Coffee Tycoon Review
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of NEWSdial.com

Rating: 1.5/10

There's the best of the best tycoon games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, then there's the worst of the worst like Health and Fitness Club Tycoon and now Coffee Tycoon.

How Coffee Tycoon ever made it into retail stores is beyond me. Next to Health and Fitness Club Tycoon, Coffee Tycoon is the worst "tycoon" game ever created. The game requires zero thought and zero strategy. All you need to know is how to click a button called "Start Day" and one called "End Day". That's how you play!

Coffee Tycoon is guided by stupid "random events" that help you or hurt you (mostly hurt you). When you click "Start Day," annoying and outright stupid comments appear that affect your business even though you had nothing to do with the events.

Here is a sampling:

"Local poets and philosophers debate the symbolism of the coffee bean for eight hours" (gain customers)

"A local coffee shop owner retires. The store looks great so you buy him out" (additional store)

"Some communities ban coffee drinking" (loss of customers)

"A shipment of paper cups have your name spelled wrong" (loss of money)

"New company jet hurts profits" (loss of money)

"Your executives demand more gold faucets in the bathroom" (loss of income)

And you will see these same comments hundreds of times throughout the game.

Here's how bad the game is. When you start the game you have one store. Once you have $500, you can buy another. But during the game, stores are automatically added or subtracted from you due to events beyond your direct control. After playing the game for 15 minutes, you may find you own 29 stores, even though you didn't buy any!

At the start of the game, you select what city you want your store to be in. I selected "Los Angeles". I guess the game makers haven't been to Los Angeles, because the game was showing it snowing outside while the guests inside the store were dressed for summer. And that about summarizes the game - no thought is given to anything. A two year old child could climb onto your chair and bang around the keyboard and click the mouse and create a coffee empire even though he has no idea what he is doing.

The only "control" you have over the game is to change the percentage of staff you have "workers | management | executives" and to select menu items or supposed "upgrades" for your store (none that are shown visually in your store, which is always stale). That's it! You can't control anything else. You can't hire workers, fire workers, manage your budget, design your store, control spending, monitor profits, etc. There's virtually no interactivity, making this one of the most boring tycoon games ever created.

I could create a list of a million things that are frustrating about this game, but here's the short list:

1) A customer may display an unhappy face, but the game won't tell you why the customer is unhappy.

2) You have no control over your budget.

3) There's not only no micromanagement in this game, but there's also no management.

4) You have no control over how many stores you gain or lose.

5) The music is the same through the entire game. In fact, during the random comments, one of them says "Bad music choices in store turnoff customers". hehe. That would be the fault of the game maker, who must be an oracle. The music did turn me off... especially since it repeated hundreds of times throughout my game.

6) There are bad grammatical errors in the tutorial and text of the game!

7) You get messages about rival, but can't view your rival or see how you compare to him.

8) While there are supposed upgrades in the game, they don't deliver the effect they promise (for example, if upgrading your coffee machine promises a certain amount of more money per day, you won't see that actually happen).

9) "Coffee Facts" display during the game, which in and of itself is OK. However, during the course of a game, you will see the same facts redisplay over and over and over again. How many times do I really need to know that it takes 42 coffee beans to make an espresso? So far I've seen that message more than 50 times and sometimes it will display more than once on the same turn!

Pros:
» Simplistic user interface.
» Game disc can be used as a coffee coaster.
» It comes with an uninstaller and you'll want to use it fairly soon after installing the game.

Cons:
» No printed manual.
» The manual on the CD is laughable.
» Terrible tutorial to introduce you to the game.
» No cause and effect for your actions. Just basically click Start Day and End Day until you "win" the game or get so bored that you want to go watch your cat dig in its litter box.
» No ability to design your stores.
» No real interactivity.
» No ability to manage your money. It comes and goes due to random events.
» Too many negative events; not enough positive ones. You get events like "employees embezzle funds" and "executives demand gold facets in bathroom" so often that you would think your chain is run by only incompetent people!

One final note. This game was created by Jamopolis Interactive. If this game is indicative of other games they produce, then turn and run... fast... whenever you see their name on a box. I'll save you some effort by naming other games the company has created so that you can avoid them at all costs: Name That Tune, National Lampoon's University Tycoon, Age of Castles.

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