Business Tycoon Online Full Review
By MMOHut's Erhan Altay
Business Tycoon Online is a browser based business sim developed and published by the Chinese company Dovo Game. The game entered closed beta testing on January 18, 2010 but was immediately available to the general public with no need for special keys or invitations. While BTO is a text based game, it makes good use of images to put together an attractive interface. But what makes the game most appealing is its unique theme and gameplay. While players will still have to deal with slow paced progression and spend plenty of time performing menial tasks, the whole business atmosphere is a refreshing take on an otherwise tired genre.
The Perks of Business Ownership
Business Tycoon Online makes it a breeze for new players to get started. Account registration only requires an email address and a password. Email verification is not required nor even asked for. Your new account will work with all future Devo Game releases as well though the only other one currently listed is Superstar Online. After logging in and launching the game, players will be asked to enter their desired username and chose from four available industries. Each industry has a different selection of stores and businesses grouped with it. Hotels and restaurants fall under the Catering Industry while the Entertainment industry covers clubs, arcades and casinos. Each industry also provides business owners with a special bonus, for example Sales Industry entrepreneurs have a +5% production and raw material supply rate increase. For more details on the four industries, please see the Overview tab. The final step before getting started with Business Tycoon Online is choosing from one of the ten lovely secretaries. Each is described by a different adjective such as ‘sweet’ or ‘dedicated’ and have a unique list of hobbies along with a short intro. Most of these ladies are provocatively dressed and seem to advertise their physical assets more than their business skills. Being the clever businessman I am, I went with the hot blond named Anne wearing a black mini skirt and a similarly revealing black top.
Like with all new business ventures, the first step in BTO is raising capital. Fortunately, players have the backing of an angel investor named Michael who, for a small percentage of ownership in the business, provides players with a healthy cash sum of 50k TCN which serves as the primary currency in Business Tycoon Online. A premium currency called gold and ‘gratis gold’ are also part of the game and can often be used to purchase powerful items or more useful (and faster) upgrades. Besides cash, the angel investor also provides new players with quests. The first few quests ask new players to open their first store, hire an employee, stock their store with goods, and so on. These quests double as the game’s tutorial and are well worth doing. Not only do they explain the game’s basics, but also provide rewards upon completion. These rewards include TCN, gold, and even ability points which can be used to increase three stats: Strategy, Wisdom, and Leadership.
Welcome to Liberty City
BTO is based in Liberty City (not to be confused with the city from Grand Theft Auto 3) and almost all activities players perform will take place there. There are some foreign locations players can visit with their friends on tour but these vacations are quite expensive though they do grant experience and attribute points. Liberty City it self is broken down into six zones which include the Central Zone, Industrial Zone, Downtown Zone, Residential Zone, Commercial Zone, and Tourism Zone. Besides these areas which are displayed prominetly when the ‘City’ tab is selected, players can use the right sidebar to navigate to several other locations. The mayor’s building displays the currency mayor and tax rate, the car dealership has many vehicles for sale including bikes, motorcycles, private planes, and yes even cars. Vehicles reduce the recharge time and duration of routines, making your character more efficient. One of the more important locations in Liberty City for new players is the Welfare Center which provides daily packages for beginners. Additionally, players receive several items just for being logged in for 5 or 10 minutes which helps things progress much faster.
Week Days are Work Days
As with most browser games of this nature, Business Tycoon Online was developed to be played in short bursts throughout the day. Opening new stores, hiring additional employees, upgrading those stores and employees and keep your stores well stocked are all tasks that must be continuously repeated. How long each takes to complete and their cool down vary so its best to keep the game running on a separate tab. Besides managing the business end of things, players will have to perform routine tasks such as reading the newspaper or reaching out to the local media to increase their sales. There are four media outlets including TV, radio, newspapers, and internet though each has the same two options. Players can even assign tasks to their secretary such as serving coffee or fetching newspaper. Your secretary’s tasks generally increase the rewards associated with performing routine tasks. The light brown background color and interface give the game a nice feel and there’s much more complexity in BTO than most strategy games that pop up. Fortunately, it is organized rather well and the game does a good job easing players into it. There are only two major problems with the game and the first is only cosmetic.
In Engrish Please
Since this is a Chinese game, it won’t come as much of a surprise to most veteran gamers that the English translations are a bit off. ‘Engrish’ may be only a minor annoyance to foreign players but native English speakers will find some of text confusing, or more likely, hilarious. The poor translations are twice as troublesome in Business Tycoon Online as other browser games because of the professional / business like atmosphere it tries to establish. The game seems to forget gender when it comes to employees, females will have male names and be referred to as ‘he’ and word usage throughout is just plain jumbled. Players who have experience with browser MMOs won’t have much trouble bypassing most of the writing but Business Tycoon Online doesn’t make it easy for new comers. Unlike Evony, there is a lot to handle in BTO so easier to understand text should definitely be a priority. Luckily, this is a problem that can easily be fixed with future updates, the other major problem is a bit more difficult to handle.
Wealth Has its Rewards
As a free to play game, Business Tycoon Online allows anyone, anywhere to jump right in and enjoy the game. Predictably, this is not an act of charity but a well rehearsed business model. New players start with VIP access already granted for a limited time but after several days of play will find themselves having to purchase a VIP card with gold to maintain the benefits they enjoyed. VIP access grants a 25% revenue bonus, allows players to start guilds, and mass purchase goods. Many other items such as powerful vehicles and special contracts (which allow the hiring of talented employees) are also priced in gold. While most required tasks such as training employees cost TCN, a premium option is generally available which is faster and more potent. Players start with a respectable sum of gold, about 1000, and are free to experiment with these premium goods and services but may become reliant on them. When the freebies stop, player will have to start dishing out real cash to stay competitive. Speaking of competitive, browser games are known for their open PvP elements and Business Tycoon Online is no exception. Rather than hiring soldiers to defend or raid as in Travian, players in BTO can launch pricing plans which lower their opponents revenue or hire guards to protect their own stores from similar attacks. Besides the odd grammar and slight balance issues with premium items, BTO is a great browser game well worth checking out for fans of the genre who have grown tired with the same old offering being continuously repackaged.
Final Verdict: Good
Business Tycoon Online is a breath of fresh air for the browser based sim genre. BTO allows players to run their own business and control many different facets of their trade. Whether its hiring and managing employees, opening new stores and factories, or trying to get a seat in the local government, Business Tycoon Online makes for a compelling browser gaming experience.
Pros: +Unique concept & gameplay. +Plenty of quests to provide direction & rewards. +Manage stores, factories, media relations, and perform many other tasks.
Cons: -Text & image based interface may not appeal to some gamers. -Poor English translations, odd word usage.