Most simulation games involve starting your business in a safe environment and giving you a customer base whose interests almost never change. Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon throws that safety out the window, forcing you to adapt to constantly changing customer tastes to avoid losing your business.
Set to release on July 21, 2022 on PC, we got a chance to go hands-on with this Aussie-made title prior to its release to bring you a preview of what to expect. Made by a 2-person team who go by the handle ‘Upper Class Walrus‘, this passion project has been in development for 5 years.
Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon begins with a nameless prisoner that you are able to customise. You find yourself as a last minute entry in a reality TV show called “Prisoneers”, where you and five other inmates are running businesses to compete for the top position. Winning means you get some time off of your sentence, while losing means having to wait until the next season for a chance of glory.
Your business is about making sodas, which has never won the show before. After you get set up and create your first batch of sodas for sale, you are thrown into the deep end. You now have to watch frequently changing market trends to know which flavours will make you money, while dealing with competitors and their sabotage attempts.
One of the biggest appeals of Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon is that it rarely stays static. There’s always something to do and flavour combinations to experiment with. The beginning of the game can feel like an overwhelming barrage of tasks, as you are doing everything you can to avoid losing money and learn the game. But once you settle into a rhythm, the beverage empire creation will begin to feel second nature.
You will constantly be experimenting with new flavour combinations in the form of Flavor Cubes. Not all Flavor Cubes are available to you, and you have to buy/find them in order to adapt to the market. Popular flavours will change every few days, requiring you to update all of your machines to avoid losing money.
Even as you build a foundation for yourself, you are quickly faced with the prospect of competing against the other contestants. If you win a challenge against a contestant, you will take their business location and gain a new place to expand your empire. That brings a new set of challenges as you deal with multiple business fronts.
Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon is perfect for players who enjoy a constantly changing business environment. You will be able to automate some menial tasks, but that just frees you up to take care of more complex issues. You will be looking at market trends, doing research to find optimal flavour combinations, and experimenting with different add-ons to increase your revenue.
It’s a simulation game that will push your business knowledge, but it does come with its fair share of quirks. You can buy robots to automate some tasks, but there were times whilst I played that the robots were unresponsive even at full charge. Sometimes this meant having to close and restart the game just to get them moving again. You can track which flavour combinations you have already tested, but the game expects you to keep a mental track of what flavours worked instead of giving you reminders. With that said, everything is obviously subject to change and these quirks may well be ironed out upon the game’s release.
Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon has a solid simulation foundation, and it is easy to get sucked into its bubbly gameplay loop. You may never live as a real-world prisoner competing in a prison TV show, so why not let Soda Story – Brewing Tycoon create that world for you?