REVIEW: Bitcoin Tycoon

Though popular culture (and the jokes it spawns) doesn’t always translate well to videogame form when it’s the ‘whole game’, Bitcoin Tycoon ($1.00) had me at ‘breeding alpacas’. That says more about me than it does in making it a thrilling feature in a videogame, but I digress. Yes, the screenshots are true. The game is a SimCity-lite, allowing you to build your own metropolis, to be financed entirely by using the trendy, scam-happy digital currency known as Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Tycoon - Screen

It all starts with a hot dog stand, but the building mechanics are incredibly-simple, letting you place (but not edit or remove, bizarrely) different structures wherever there is a open space. The map is decent-sized, and so long as you are not trying to lay down Alpaca farms directly on top of each other, you can cram quite a few buildings / objects in one area. From your humble beginnings, a town will slowly begin to emerge.

Pieces run the gamut of your typical city builder, including restaurants (people need to eat), hydroelectric dams (people need power), advertising billboards (people need to buy things), and sketchy government buildings (people need to be spied on). Of course, each piece comes with a custom description of its properties, often skewering the Bitcoin currency, pop culture icons (the Winklevoss twins?), and political realities for jokes, and it does a fine job at that.

Unfortunately, for a SimCity-type, there is dreadfully little in the way of strategy or challenge. Although structures rise in price and materials the more you place, you don’t have any of the everyday concerns that running a real city entails. No public opinion to bow down to, no traffic jams to unclog (although a Tesla dealership is available), no server issues and / or always-online requirements (my small jab at EA), and no natural disasters to rain on your Bitcoin parade.

Bitcoin Tycoon - Screen2

Bottom line, you simply build however you please, and then build some more. Even without paying attention to which structures do what and how they affect the economy (certain objects require a set amount of electricity or people), you’ll be reasonably on your way to building the more expensive pieces in under twenty minutes. Under an hour, and you’ll likely build the final piece, a monument to the founder of Bitcoin.

After that, well, you’ve got nothing. You could always continue construction, but with no progress being saved or extras to concern yourself with, Bitcoin Tycoon is a largely-empty experience. Once you’ve had a ‘lulz’ or two at the one-liners, and maybe surrounded the Winklevosses with ill-tempered alpacas (…I may have a problem), it’s purely superficial from then on. The game is totally worth its weight in fake currency, but real money? Maybe not so much.

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This review is also featured on Indiepitome

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24 thoughts on “REVIEW: Bitcoin Tycoon”

  1. Argh, what happened to the page? That black header + sidebar with the white content frame looks a bit weird. 😀
    Btw is there a new trend going on right now? There’s three new games on the marketplace where you have to move tiles on a grid.

    PS Just googled it. Three’s and 2048? Is that what all the cool people play now? So we can expect more popping up on the marketplace within the next days then…

    1. Yep, that’s the time-waster of the moment. I did get briefly into Threes (2048 came after, but it’s the same idea), and believe it or not, it can be quite addicting sliding numbers to pair them up. 2048 is free online (http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/) and on mobile phones in some variation or another, so try it at your own peril….

      As for the site, yeah, I pulled the trigger on a new theme. I spent about three hours last night trying out different kinds, and this theme was the only one I immediately fell in love with. One of the few that allowed me to keep all the sidebars and footer stuff where I liked them, too. The menu stuff had to change, as did the header (couldn’t do all-white, as I had, unless I buy a separate upgrade package, which I may still do).

      It does have a nice look, I think, and the featured images are larger, which I also dig. It makes the old posts look a little funky, but I’ll try to go back and fix what I can. There’s a nifty slider I can use on the main page for featured posts, too, so I may turn that on later tonight.

      Nothing’s permanent yet, so I’ll keep tinkering with things. 🙂

    2. I like the new look but it was a shocker when first coming here.

      Magnetic by Nature is finally out. The first one was called Magnetic by Nature The Awakening. I was watching vids on this new one and they said they were making the controls easier. Not sure how they could do that as it was fairly easy on the original.

    3. @ImTheMetalLord: Same here. The controls were pretty good, I thought. There was a little bit of lag in the original build, and I was talking with… well, tweeting with, another reviewer today who ran into some lag and framerate issues in this new game.

      Might be an easy fix, though I am definitely looking forward to jumping back in. I was afraid this ‘full’ version would be for PC guys only, so nice to see XBLIG get another quality platformer (assuming it all goes well).

    4. @ImTheMetalLord: I may take back what I said. I downloaded the new Magnetic by Nature game, and… it seems to be the exact same game as Awakening. Did you download the trial or play it yet? Unless I’m doing something wrong, this new version on XBLIG is not the version they’re showing for OUYA and Steam. No updated visuals, and it’s the same levels, so far as I can tell, minus the post-level screen of showing your time and how many lives it took.

      It’s got a new sub-title ‘Mini’, but I am at a loss on this one. I sent a DM to the Dev on Twitter to try and clarify it.

      UPDATE: Apparently, it’s an old version of Awakening that was pushed out for release on accident.

    5. OH so it isn’t the new one? Confused since I just got off work from a crazy night.

    6. Crazy week all around. You gotta love those! (…I don’t.)

      Nope, it was an old version that failed peer review, and though Tripleslash tried to get the game taken off the queue, it apparently still wound up being published almost a year later. They’re going to contact MS again and see if they can remove it this time.

      Dummy me, I didn’t look at the marketplace listing, I just assumed it was the new version (despite it not being released on PC or anywhere else yet) and went to download it tonight. Boot it up, and the menu looks the same, as do the tutorial levels. Talk about deja vu, eh? 🙂

  2. Oh and wassup with these ads? The adds themselves well OK I understand the need for them but the placement is really annoying to me. There is a good way and a bad way for add placement and Word Press has found the bad way of doing them.

    1. The end of post stuff I’m fine with, but the main page one looks funky with the theme I use. I’m looking to change up the theme anyways, so the site may be getting a new look soon. 🙂

      EDIT: I should have said, I’m trying the ads on a trial basis, to see if it helps offset some of the costs of running the site. Don’t think it’ll make me rich and powerful, but if it pays for the domain names and a few bigger indie games, then it might be worth it to keep around.

    2. Yay.
      Saansilt like new mobile optimized site.
      I’m fine with ads, and at least you don’t use page jackers. Those on mobile bring you the app page of any app on the store. Its annoying. But you don ‘t have those. So tis all good.

    3. @Saansilt: Don’t thank me yet! I have no control over what’s shown or the types of ads they choose to use, so that kind of stuff can happen anytime. I’m going to keep an eye on it, for now, and I may turn it off if it turns out it’s not worth the ‘selling out’. 😦

      As for the new theme, I like it! I might try some new colors or page settings, but I like the look of this one on the web. It’s also got new designs for tablets and mobile phones (which you saw), so overall, it’s a pretty nifty-looking theme. Even looks vaguely-professional.

  3. You nailed it as usual on this review. Before long I was like “OK bored with it” It started out really promising but got really boring really fast. Not saying it’s a bad game just saying it needs something else.

    1. I second that. It’s alright at the beginning, but 30-40 minutes in it starts to feel a bit bland and the game is basically running on autopilot.
      Maybe we are spoiled and expect too much from a $1 game nowadays…

    2. Agree on the spoiled but it’s not our fault. There are plenty of games for a buck that we can get so much from and if you consider the sales there is AAA games you can get for 5 bucks. So in order to compete for my praise you have to produce above average.

    3. Sure it’s not our fault. There’s plenty of games out there where you get much more for 69p / $1 (or whatever your local currency is). But that’s what I meant when I said that we might be a bit spoiled, because we expect it to be the norm.
      But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Why should I? There’s so many great games for a quid / buck on the indie channel. Sometimes you have to dig deep, but they are there.
      And I’m really glad that we’ve got sites like theXBLIG, sites which still concentrate on indie games for the 360, while others already jumped ship.

      Don’t know when MS will pull the plug but man, I’m gonna miss XBLIG’s!

    4. I think the ‘autopilot’ part is pretty much it. I liked that you can just sit back and collect cash, but eventually, you’re looking around town, like ‘What, no fires? No earthquakes, no monsters crushing the buildings and going on a rampage through the Industrial district?’ This game is like the ‘relaxing stroll’ of videogame city-builders. Not bad, but certainly not something you can come back to again and again and have it still feel fresh.

      It’s definitely not about being spoiled, either. Sometimes I catch myself complaining about the tiny things, but you guys are right— with both indies and AAA stuff constantly on sale, you’ve really got to compete on some levels. No XBLIG is gonna replace Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed (probably, anyway), but it’s got to be fun for a reasonable amount of time to justify a purchase. You’ve got to keep developers honest, otherwise we get nothing but clones and sequels, which is what people started gravitating towards Indies for; to get away from the mundane.

      As a side note, what’s with the ‘No Save’ thing? I’ve noticed that in a couple of games now. Granted, you don’t have to build forever to reach a previous point, but what if you want to keep constructing the city you’ve started? Should at least be an option to save progress.

  4. Maybe you’d like to build a city out of Bitcoin? If so, first one to respond to this comment wins a copy of the game, courtesy of OneBravePixel (Note: If you’re one of the Winklevosses, you are prohibited from entering).

    1. Yeah, there’s a bunch of ’em. I just went with the SimCity comparison to generalize. Humor-wise, it’s probably closer to the Tropico games. First one to use the mighty Bitcoin, though, maybe. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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