Mobile gaming has taken off over the past couple of years. With big name titles like Dead Space and Mass Effect playable on your phones, the sky is the limit. However, while these games are great (and battery hogs), mobile games are all about their pick up and play nature. Throw in a little addictive gameplay and you have the perfect mobile game. To me, Kairosoft has all that and then some.
Now I'll admit it. Kairosoft doesn't make my favorite Android games. Those spots are reserved currently for Cut the Rope, Where's My Water?, and Bad Piggies. However, while I love those games, there is no game I played longer and for more hours at a time than the Kairosoft titles I own. I'll also admit that I never paid full price for a single one of them, but I have getting more and more tempted to pay the $5 they typically charge and pick up some of the ones I am missing.
I currently own Game Dev Story, Pocket League Story, Dungeon Village, and Beastie Bay (free game). I got each one of these games for 10 to 50 cents. After playing each one of them, they are easily worth the ~$5 asking price. I don't know how many total hours I have spent on each game, but it has to be upwards of 20-40 hours a piece.
What makes a Kairosoft game so good? First off, you can try each game before you buy it by installing the Lite version for free. Kairosoft is smart because they give you just enough of the game to get you addicted so you just have to buy the full game. The funny thing is, I tried Game Dev Story Lite and I really didn't like it at all. I didn't see the point in the game and I just wasn't interested in it... or so I thought. Fast forward to one of Google's many sales and I picked up the game for 10 cents based on its reputation alone. Let's just say I don't know what I was thinking with the Lite version because I played through the game twice and even made a console in the game. Heck the first night, I played the game for 4 hours straight. I will probably be playing through it again soon to try to be a "nice manager" and not fire anyone. The game really is as good as people say.
The graphics in the games are cartoonie in nature and all have a similar style. Also, I love the fact that a bunch of the same characters are a staple in each game, including Kairobot, a monkey, King Ackbar, and a masked wrestler. The character names are funny takes on famous real life people, such as Stephen Jobson and Walt Sidney.
I would dissect each game that I own and tell you about each one, but to be honest all of the games are basically the same thing but with a different overlays and different scenarios. Game Dev Story is about game development, Pocket League Story is about running your own soccer team, Dungeon Village is about running your own town full of warriors, and Beastie Bay is a free basic Pokemon-like RPG. All of these games have a highly addictive nature. You will find it nearly impossible to play these games for just 10-20 minutes at a time and that's a good thing. They all suffer from that "I just need to do a couple more things before I am done" kind of gameplay. I remember while playing Game Dev Story, I would always say, "ok this is the last game I am going to develop for tonight". Seven newly developed games later, I realized I couldn't put the game down. No matter how tired I was, I had to continue making new fake games for fake customers as if the success of my fake company depended on it... because it did.
The games do have an end, but once the game is over, you can keep playing indefinitely. It just doesn't add to your final score anymore. The design of the games is perfect and even though all the quests in say Dungeon Village were similar, it didn't stop me from sending my warriors on them for hours on end. You don't even control the soccer players in Pocket League Story, but you can't help but stare wildly at them while they run around on their own. Excited when they score a goal on their own, because you trained them so hard to be the best... and sad when they let up a goal, as if you let them down as a coach.
If you own a mobile phone, you owe it to yourself to give the Lite versions a try. Find an occupation you enjoy (game developer, soccer coach, grand prix racer, etc) and try out a game. If you like one, you'll probably like them all.