Why be a movie star when you can make them instead? Moviehouse lets players live out their dreams of making the next blockbuster hit, all the way from the writing phase to sending it out to cinemas to gather attention. It can make for a fun experience too, though a lack of longevity and some repetitive mechanics mean it might not stand out too much amongst similar management sims.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Moviehouse lets you live out your dreams of being a bigwig in the movie making business, with players expected to hire the writers, producers, and actors required to put together their own blockbusters, all whilst keeping up with modern trends and ensuring audiences are watching your efforts on the big screen. Should be easy, right?
The game does a good job of teaching you the ins-and-outs early on, with the isometric viewpoint of your studio allowing you to manage your staff and get the ball rolling across the different steps of production. The crew you hire will ultimately determine whether or not your movie will be a box office hit, with their varying skillsets determining how high of a quality you’ll achieve in the film-making process. Of course, the more valuable of an asset they are to your team, the more you’ll have to pay to hire them, with finance management also playing a pivotal role in determining the success of your studio.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have your own influence on the process though. For one, you’ll be able to decide the name of your movie, the genre, setting, and so forth when writing the script, whilst you’ll also be in charge of hiring the actors for each role. Whilst the staff you hired will contribute to the quality of the final product, there’s still plenty of freedom for the player to essentially make the movie of their dreams. Whether coming up with your own blockbuster franchise or continuing a dormant series (I’ve carried on the legacy of Lethal Weapon with more success than the Always Sunny gang), it’s these moments of personalisation that add the most enjoyment to the Moviehouse experience.
“Seeing your film be a blockbuster hit with audiences and critics? It’s super satisfying, as is raking in all the cash that makes your studio a success.”
There is a bit of waiting to be done in between though, with the player having to wait for the script to be written, the production to take place, and so forth. In a similar vein to titles like Game Dev Tycoon, you’ll also see the stats of the movie whilst waiting, meaning you’ll have a rough idea of its quality. Naturally, these will increase the longer you play the game thanks to the fact you’ll have better staff to use, more varied options in pre-production, and so forth, but you should expect a few duds during your early attempts at making that break out hit.
And when your movie is finally finished? You can release it in a festival to see if the critics like it and, more importantly, if it’ll get a theatrical release. This is where you’ll start to pull in some cash to keep your studio running, whilst you’ll also get an idea of how well it performs with audiences across various demographics. There’ll be various things that affect this, whether that’s with how well your genre and setting match, if the script was any good, or if your actors did a good job, with the player then able to take this feedback on board before moving onto the next production. With more and more options unlocking as you progress though, there’s a satisfying gameplay loop in place where you’ll always have something new to tinker around with when moving between movies.
Making movies, researching more genres, improving your crew’s skillset, and expanding your filming options makes up the bulk of progression as you play, and for the first few hours it makes for a good time. Sure, there’s a little bit of a learning curve in place that makes it beneficial to start over here and there when you start to gel with the mechanics, but it feels good seeing your movies slowly become more successful and your production options more elaborate. However, it didn’t take long for boredom to start to kick in a little. I found I was doing a lot of the same things over and over again, and whilst trends were changing in the movie industry, actually adapting to follow them didn’t change up the gameplay enough to keep me invested. Whilst interesting ideas are introduced such as purchasing shares in other studios or upgrading your studio, they never really made the experience any more exciting – they just expanded upon the same things you had already been doing.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It can be a little bit tricky to keep on top of everything that’s going on too, especially when you expand your crew and have to deal with multiple projects at the same time. Whilst that is part of the process and challenge, the clumsy UI often made it tricky to switch between them or assign roles to different members of your team. Furthermore, it didn’t always make it perfectly clear when something was ready to move onto the next phase of the production, whilst the abundance of notifications on show can make it difficult to track what you need to do next. Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t help but to find the presentation a little awkward.
That’s not to say that Moviehouse doesn’t have its rewarding moments though. Seeing your film be a blockbuster hit with audiences and critics? It’s super satisfying, as is raking in all the cash that makes your studio a success. It was fun to tinker around with genres to see what works too, with the game embracing an almost puzzle-like element where you’ve got to figure out the most effective combinations. And come on… we all want to be movie producers, right? Moviehouse certainly manages to nail that satisfying vibe of the business, but it’s a shame it doesn’t always translate to a rewarding gameplay experience.
Moviehouse certainly nails the vibe of running your own movie studio, but the gameplay loop can get repetitive quite quickly. It’s not that anything is bad at all, but rather you do a lot of the same things over and over again with not much extra to do in between. Sure, some new ideas are introduced to spice things up as you play, but they don’t really make the process any more exciting.
I don’t think the game is bad at all and those early hours playing were a lot of fun as I slowly figured out what worked (and nothing beat getting that massive blockbuster success). Moviehouse just didn’t do enough to keep me invested for long, with the management gameplay lacking the depth and creativity for my movie making career to be an ongoing one.
Developer: Odyssey Studios
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)