It’s been a while since someone attempted to make a proper simulation game focused on running your own automobile manufacturing company. In the recent past I’ve downloaded old abandonware games such as Detroit and Motor City, both produced in the mid-nineties, to scratch my itch for car manufacturing games. Unfortunately, both of these games had some issues, and without going into detail about what these issues were, they meant that these games never hit their full potential. Subsequently there have been attempts to make similar games, but these were so bad that I won’t even bother to mention them.
Enter GearCity, a game inspired by these old classics, but from what I’ve seen so far it seems on track to avoid the mistakes the developers of Motor City and Detroit made. I’m going to show my hand early, and tell you that I absolutely love this game. I’ve often done searches online to try and find new games that might be like Detroit and Motor City, but couldn’t find anything worthwhile. Not only did the developers of GearCity give me exactly what I was looking for, but it is so similar to what I was hoping to find that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were actually able to read my mind.
What is GearCity?
Have you ever watched a car program and wondered what it would be like to design and sell your own cars? Perhaps you fantasized about founding a small company somewhere in the UK that specializes in building lightweight sports-cars. Or maybe you are more interested in building an efficient but low cost hatchback to sell to the masses. GearCity allows you to do all of that, and so much more.
You start off by picking a starting year, a name for your company, and a logo for your cars. You can pick your starting year with the option to start as early as the year 1900, and play all the way up to 2020. The era you are currently playing in effects everything in the game, from labor prices to demand for specific types of vehicles. On the world map, you get to pick which city you would like to start in, which will automatically set you up with a factory and dealer network in your city of choice. Once you get into the game, you can start by developing a chassis, engine, and gearbox for your first car. This is where the game really shines for me, because each of these components allows you loads of customization options, and your options only continues to expand as time goes on. If you don’t like this sort of complexity, such as choosing the exact dimensions of your engine, or the RPM where it produces its peak power output, don’t worry. The game allows you to choose less advanced methods of developing components, but for the purists among you, you can still opt to tweak everything yourself.
Once you have developed some components, you can proceed to design your first car, assuming that you didn’t bankrupt yourself by say – trying to develop an engine that is far too advanced, time consuming, and expensive for your starting budget. Even if you start in the year 1900, there is a lot of choice in terms of which types of vehicles you can build, and naturally the options continue to expand as you start moving into the modern era.
Having designed a car that is ready for production, there is still a lot more to do: Start production in your local factory, and distribute cars to your local dealer network; Market your vehicles in newspapers, on billboards, at events, and more; Enter your cars in race series; Sell specific components such as gearboxes to other manufacturers for extra cash; Invest money on the stock market; Expand your dealer network and production to other cities, and other continents; The list goes on.
And the best part – GearCity is dirt cheap. The game costs 15 USD (assuming you don’t buy it on a Steam sale), which is an absolute bargain as far as I’m concerned. So what’s the catch? Well, the game is still in early access, and there are some issues to address. Overall GearCity needs some refining, the interface needs some work, and in some areas the game needs more content, but that is what early access is for. There is nothing game breaking, and the issues there are will all likely be sorted out in due time. GearCity is definitely aimed at a niche market, and I should warn you that there are no high speed chases, fancy graphics, or anything like that. The game is a business simulation through and through, and by far the best in terms of simulating the workings of the automotive industry.
If you are itching to play a complex and well thought out business simulation that will allow you to not only design cars, but build an automotive company, this is the only one worth playing at the moment. As I said at the beginning of this review, I’ve been searching for a game like this for a long time, and I’m glad that this idea was put into practice by developers who know what they are doing.