Preview: Blooming Business: Casino

2023-05-02 by George P

Betting in the Animal Kingdom

Blooming Business: Casino is an upcoming tycoon-like business management game that promises not only a unique vision for the genre but also a complete story that develops in parallel to the gameplay. Shuffle the decks, grease the roulette, count the chips, and get ready to open your doors to raccoons, deer, koalas, rabbits, mice, hedgehogs, and many other anthropomorphic animals from all walks of life. Set in the 1950s, Blooming Business aims to encapsulate the post-war Las Vegas atmosphere and all its fancy trinkets, from cars, clothes, furniture, extravagant decorations, and more. The game then combines the themes of the era with a very well-executed hyper-stylized low-poly art style that utilizes doodle-like handdrawn elements for its textures. In my playthrough, the visual presentation was certainly one of the elements that I appreciated the most, not because it was breath-taking or particularly unique, but because it worked perfectly within the game’s vision. It is an art direction that is pretty and quirky, and matches Blooming Business’ vibrant style.

. Most importantly, the visual presentation is clean, smooth, and well-coordinated color-wise. The art style is carefully designed to be both beautiful in terms of aesthetics and functional in terms of gameplay, a balance that makes the overall experience feel smooth, orderly, and highly enjoyable. This pleasant minimalism that we can identify in Blooming Business’ visual presentation extends into its gameplay vision. The game does an excellent job at introducing the player to its essential concepts initially and then maintains an excellent flow of pace which ensures that the experience never gets boring on one side or overwhelming on the other. While easy to learn, the game is by no means simplistic. Slowly but steadily, Blooming Business manages to develop a significant level of depth and complexity by combing fresh ideas and unique mechanics with more traditional systems that fans of the genre will be familiar with.

Full House

The gameplay loop of Blooming Business starts off in a very predictable manner, very close to the standard genre formula that one would expect. You are initially provided with a designated space and a limited amount of funds to develop the first version of your casino. You will design the layout, set up amenities, hire staff members, stock inventories, decorate spaces, and eventually you will open the doors to the wide outside world. Quickly after the grand opening, players will realize the many ways Blooming Business is able to successfully differentiate itself from its counterparts within the genre.

. Unlike zoos, theme parks, factories, restaurants, or many of the other types of establishments that fans of the tycoon genre would have managed before, the casino that you will operate in Blooming Business revolve around chance, the unpredictable nature of gambling, and 1950s Las Vegas. When clients enter your casino, they will use their money to purchase chips which they will then use to play a variety of games of chance hoping to get lucky. These can range from simple slots to more advanced card games, all of which are fully simulated processes, making the environment of Blooming Business feel alive. And unlike other business simulators where you only have to pay attention to your standard finances, in this game understanding and monitoring the “chip economy” within the microcosm of your casino will be an additional vital component to your success

Beyond the unique and engaging casino-based elements of the game, one of the most interesting and clever features of Blooming Business is the concept of “Client Families”. The visitors that you will welcome in your casino are not just generic carbon copies of each other; instead, each and every client belongs to either a general group or a faction. Families are the system the game uses to subdivide its client NPCs into distinct groups all with their own traits, needs, income ranges, preferences, and abilities. Individual NPCs within families are then procedurally generated around the parameters of their group and are fully simulated; an aspect that helps further increase the game’s liveliness by making every client represent a unique individual.

. A major extension to the client families system is the feature of VIPs. As the name suggests, VIPs are the crème de la crème of your clients and their visits are accompanied by heaps of money and plenty of trouble. From eccentric celebrities to ruthless mafia leaders and vigilant detectives, VIPs are equipped with special traits and one-of-a-kind abilities that alter the flow of the game and provide challenges that can lead to either riches or disasters. What’s especially interesting about the Families and VIP systems is the way they are designed to complement the game’s difficulty by introducing complexity around prioritizing competing demands. With limited space and resources, you will have to balance the various needs of different characters and client groups by evaluating potential choices and prioritizing accordingly. The game is designed around the idea that most of the time you will be unable to please everyone, and this simple gameplay foundation is enough to produce a level of difficulty and complexity that feels in-depth, fair, and engaging.

The Jackpot Promise

The groups, factions, and VIPs mentioned previously, all with their own traits and interests, are curiously enough far more than just gameplay elements as their presence is woven into a story. Blooming Business promises a fully-fledged narrative that develops alongside your management efforts as you find yourself cornered between the cutthroat mob and the watchful eyes of the law. Unfortunately, the early version of Blooming Business that I had the opportunity to play was fairly limited so I could not properly explore the developer’s promise of narrative twist. With that said, the hints of story that I did get the chance to experience seemed engaging and aligned with the choice-based management side of the game. Similarly to the story, there are numerous gameplay features that were absent from the game’s pre-release version. However, the few levels that I did have the chance to play seemed highly promising and were more than enough to keep me optimistic about the game’s future.

Blooming Business is filled with clever design choices, unique ideas, a great management interface, smooth and clean gameplay, a pretty and fitting visual presentation, and a truly wide variety of objects. Most importantly, this is a game with a clear identity and a well-thoughtout plan; which leads me to believe that any future additions that we will discover in the full product will be aligned with the game’s already existing design vision and will enhance the overall experience. Blooming Business: Casino is without a doubt a very ambitious project from a small but passionate and talented team. While there is no way to fully know what the end result of this endeavor will look like, in the Las Vegas spirit, I bet that Blooming Business is going to be a high-quality, distinct, and vivid addition to the business simulator genre.