MHG Review: Big Pharma

Big Pharma

Big Pharma is the latest in a line of management sims to make their way to consoles. In particularly the Nintendo Switch in this case. But how does this one fare in its move to consoles?

In the case of Cities Skylines there was a change made in how the game controlled. This helped the transition work, making sure to use a controllers strengths versus that of a keyboard and mouse.

Where a game like that starts to suffer is with the ever increasing size of the world you build. The more there is, the more the game starts to stutter for instance. It is forgivable to a degree but can become noticeable.

Other games such as Big Pharma aren’t city builders and condense the management to a single idea. In this case it is basing things around the US Pharmaceutical market.

Or Big Pharma as it is also known. Hence the title of the game.

Now I can approach this in one of two ways. Either let things slide, or be nit-picky over the small things. Because there are some major issues with Big Pharma, however the game is very good overall.

So let me get the negatives out of the way first. Starting with something that isn’t unique to Big Pharma but is a blight on modern games. With no thought as to how they will be consumed. Tiny text!

The joy of playing a game like Big Pharma on the Switch is being able to do so anywhere. I personally don’t like being limited to the TV and play mostly in handheld, both and home and on the road.

The issue is, the text is so tiny it becomes a struggle to read, having to strain my eyes to read what is there. Along with another issue whereby information moves along too fast. When coupled with the small text, it makes it awkward (being kind) to keep up with the pertinent information.

Which brings me to the next major issue. The tutorials! It seems like these haven’t been updated since the original PC release with names of machines and even drugs not matching up. You’ll see one name in the tutorial text, but another in the game itself. This is incredibly annoying to say the least and could cause some to put the game down before they even get going.

The tutorial naming is something that can easily be patch fixed, but the tiny text I dare say is something we’ll need to live with. The same with the tutorial on the whole, which needs to be a little more hand-holding and guide the user through.

That’s the negatives out of the way, so onto the positives, of which there are many.

For a game that has tons of information and sub mechanics involved, Big Pharma does a wonderful job of keeping everything compartmentalised. Sections for building and creating, others for researching drugs, cures and technologies are all present and easy to navigate. I’ve played other games in the genre that just becomes confusing mess, this is not one of them.

Each section is easy to navigate and understand, which is good, because you’ll spend time in each. You need to make sure you are researching and developing the whole time to keep progressing. So the simple layouts here are very, very welcome.

Another issue that has been known to plague management sims on console is precision when building. I found that particularly annoying in Team17’s Automachef. A game that did a lot fo things really well, but did suffer from lots of misplacing of components, which in turn became too frustrating. Big Pharma on the other hand feels really precise at all times, making me very very much in control.

In fact the controls overall feel great, with the only minor issue I found was the need to back out of one thing with the B button, before access the next thing. But I feel that is my own incompetence, rather than that of the game.

This is one very feature rich title too. Once past tutorial, which you can skip, but I advice you not to unless you have played the PC version. You will find a ton of scenarios you’ll need to complete. Each of these has a different clear condition and has a range of difficulties.

Once you beat the more basic ones, Big Pharma ups the ante by adding in some modifiers such as starting you with a massive loan you’ll also need to overcome.

You can then if done with all that, set up a custom game of just have free rein to create whatever you wish in Free Build.

All of this add up to a fantastic package that is great value with all the content on offer. It even includes the Marketing & Malpractice DLC should you want some extra challenges.

It is unfortunate there are issues with tiny text and some quality control when it comes to the language used within the game, but overall this is a quality port of the PC game and worth picking up if you are a fan of the management sim genre.

Liked it? Take a second to support Mental Health Gaming on Patreon!