Business Tycoon Online (BTO) is a web-based game produced by developer Dovogame. Business Tycoon Online is a corporate simulation game with surprising depth and a very steep learning curve. Business Tycoon Online is not a game hosted on the Facebook games service, but Dovogame uses a Facebook game page as a front end to log players onto its own hosted server.
In Business Tycoon Online you begin as the owner of a small corporation. The goal of the game is to grow the size of your business empire and make loads of money in the process. Within this general framework is a dizzying array of menus leading to dozens of integrated gameplay mechanics.
The depth of options available in Business Tycoon Online make it quite confusing for new players. While there is a decent tutorial that guides players to a sustainable, profitable first store, the number of menus and sub-menus is an impediment to fun gameplay. For example, to open a newly-built store, you must first find the store within your corporate empire. To do this, you click “Business” on the top menu, then “Stores” in the right hand menu, then the name of your store in the middle menu. Three more clicks allow you to purchase inventory. Six more clicks enables you to hire an employee. Further clicks await as you decide on marketing, hours of operation, store cleanliness, and multiple other features.
Some players may appreciate the degree of micro-management necessary to succeed in Business Tycoon Online, but most will be quickly overwhelmed by the number of decisions (and mouseclicks) which accompany each maneuver in the game. The Business Tycoon Online message boards are filled with guides for new players and questions about obscure game mechanics. Experienced players who have memorized the precise sequence necessary to make each game decision will undoubtedly benefit from the complexity, but new players will find it tedious to navigate three menus at each decision point.
Business Tycoon Online has some odd features which are likely remnants of an incomplete job of localizing the game for an American audience. Every player is given a “Secretary” who can be assigned specific game tasks such as “Fetching the Newspaper” or “Preparing Car”. Initially, all of the Business Tycoon Online secretaries were female and all resembled a variation on an adolescent male fantasy. The game documentation notes that you will ” expand your business into a Global Empire, with the support of a hot secretary”.
The documentation consists of a long series of individual topics. After drilling down through multiple menus in the documentation, you can learn that partnering with a business in the sales industry will raise your revenue by 2%. Unfortunately, that topic does not teach you how to partner with another business, how to identify an industry, or where to find revenue generated from a specific business.
Business Tycoon Online will attract players through its depth and raw amount of micromanagement. Ironically, experienced players who spend the dozens of hours necessary to learn the intricacies of Business Tycoon Online will have a strong incentive to keep playing. New players will quickly drop out due to boredom and confusion. Business Tycoon Online will not be for everyone, but a solid base of hardcore players will welcome the few brave souls who dare to learn its tedious, menu-driven rules.