Carwash Tycoon

With the likes of Sim City 2000, Theme Hospital, Civilzation II and Transport Tycoon, the PSone was pretty well off for God games. The PlayStation 2, however, hasn’t been quite so fortunate, with only Theme Park World, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis and the little-known Metropolismania. Thanks to Aqua Pacific – the 97th most profitable developer in the world, according to their website – we can add another two to that list: this automobile washing sim and Chemist Tycoon. We’ve chosen to review the former, because cars are cool and drugs are bad. Mkay?

Carwash Tycoon screenshotActually, calling this a God game is pushing it somewhat – business management would be a fairer description. As the owner of a carwash franchise, it’s your job to hire and fire staff, direct customers into the wash bays, splash out on advertising and make sure you’ve got enough cash to pay wages and rent. The game is split up into a number of tasks, with the first five or so thinly disguised tutorials introducing the various elements into the mix. After that you’re let loose to do as you please with the aim of turning a steady profit.

Like unicycing, it’s all about finding the right balance. Van drivers won’t pay more than a couple of quid for a wash, so won’t pull up if your prices are too high. Posh car owners on the other hand won’t visit if your prices are too cheap, clearly thinking that you get what you pay for. New drivers are happy to pay in between the two, and then you’ve got the staff and location to worry about. Do you have a large workforce of cheap but slow staff or a smaller team of quick – but slightly more expensive – workers? If you set up shop in the town centre you’ll find plenty of passing trade, but there can be traffic jams at times that will stop your customers from being able to drive off straight away.

If you fancy getting your hands dirty, you can wash cars yourself by rubbing the cursor over them until they shine. It’s a nice idea, but gets a bit laborious after a while. There’s certainly not as much to get to grips with as there is in, say, Sim City 3000, but it’s still a tidy little game that may keep you amused for longer than you’d expect. Indeed, trying to get a constant flow of customers is oddly compelling.

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