#7 Came out of nowhere to be a great take on the Bullfrog management Sim genre; with it and Prison Architect, proving that there are still plenty of ways to create interesting design with it.
Big Pharma by Twice Circled is similar to Prison Architect in some areas: Both games abstract concepts and industries that we normally don’t see, with Big Pharma being the pharmaceutical industry. What makes Big Pharma a stronger take on the genre in my opinion compared to Prison Architect is the fact that Big Pharma’s design offers a lot more flexibility in how games can play out.
With each play, the ingredients and their potential side-effects are randomly shuffled which affects both your strategy for a play and how that impacts the layout of your machinery. Speaking of machinery, for people like me who loves to optimize and fine tune elements, setting up your entire production chain from beginning to end was a great time. The level of control that you have on both the production chain and the potential ways to create cures is my favorite part of Big Pharma, and helps to provide you with different strategies despite having the same basic structure each play.
My only complaint with Big Pharma, which again reminds me of Prison Architect, is that there aren’t too many end-game mechanics. Unlike Prison Architect, Big Pharma is mostly focused on scenario play and not sandbox, which does limit its replayability. For the first major release on Steam by Twice Circled, Big Pharma is an impressive game and hopefully the start of more management styled games from the studio. For more on Big Pharma, here is the podcast where I talked with Tim Wicksteed from Twice Circled.
Coming up next, our final game before we hit the top 5, #6 is proof of one genre’s viability in today’s market.