When a game enters Early Access, players are hesitant to discover whether it is getting a cheap bug test or if they are helping to polish a diamond in the rough. Good Company falls in the latter category, offering a challenging, fun, and mostly refined experience.
Good Company is a management simulation game that puts the player to work as founder, and eventual CEO, of a manufacturing empire. The campaign takes place across a variety of levels of increasing difficulty with optional challenge levels adding further variation. Completion of more complex milestones requires considerable critical thinking to progress the campaign. Some milestones left me stuck, but fortunately only the first challenge needs to be completed to open up the next level which helps keep up the pacing of the game.
Gameplay consists of managing employees, research, and resources to improve profits and products. With so many interconnecting elements, the pressure is high because the player has to restart the level as soon as the company goes into debt. As the game progresses, managing the steep difficulty curve becomes the biggest time sink. Updating the logistics of a scenario to reflect the latest demands of the market forces the player to test out just how well they can apply the skills they have learned thus far. In addition to the campaign is a freeplay mode which provides a much more relaxed experience by offering up a blank slate at the mercy of the player’s imagination.
The point-and-click character movement works surprisingly well even in warehouses cramped with workbenches. The only time I encountered issues with pathing was when I would click and hold the mouse which prevented the clever AI from fulfilling its purpose.
The soft art style and cutesy elevator music do a wonderful job of conveying the whimsical feel of the game. Character creation provides a range of options to design a character that is highly personalised and stylish. The player can also select the type of robot assistant they would like to follow them throughout the game. My only hope during Early Access is that the assistant will be greater incorporated into the experience to offer some functionality.
Challenge levels that accompany the campaign are a highlight of Good Company, offering a different kind of puzzle than the standard levels. In the main levels, the game guides the player on what tools they can use to succeed in the changing scenario whereas challenge levels offer a single objective with the game only interrupting to make things more difficult. This type of game mode feels much more self-paced and provides the opportunity to actually consider how to refine solutions to the problem to acquire the best outcome.
Developer Chasing Carrots has outlined a lengthy roadmap for Good Company during the game’s time in Early Access. Any suggested improvements I could offer already have a place in the ongoing development process such as giving employees skills which will make them better suited to specialised tasks. The introduction of work zones will also help create an even more polished game with a clear process to assist in refining in game production lines.
Good Company is a perfect title for an Early Access release. The current standard of the game is already high and now, with player input, Chasing Carrots will have an opportunity to develop a game that best suits its audience. With plenty of updates lined up, Good Company is a management game worth keeping an eye out for.