Drugs are a taboo topic that, when discussed through an artistic medium, usually tend to be portrayed as something sinister or crude. Widely known franchises such as Grand Theft Auto or Fallout incorporate drug use, contributing to their bad reputation in games. Weedcraft Inc is a management simulation game that avoids the negative side of the subject and instead presents an engaged argument, albeit through a quirky narrative.
The aim of the game is to build a business empire where weed is the product. When the game begins, growing and selling weed is illegal, which involves managing police interest. To increase profits, beating the competition is essential. Managing these systems can be done through a number of means, including bribing or befriending these characters. To expand the business, employees can be hired to perform tasks such as gathering information on other characters or selling product.
In the early stages, Weedcraft Inc does a fine job of introducing the various elements that require management to increase success. Despite this gradual introduction, newcomers to the genre will feel a little out of their depth trying to manage the complicated systems and create a high profit turnover. Investing time in micromanaging systems is intentionally tedious but valuable to expand the weed empire.
An incredible amount of research has been done to present a thoughtful, well-rounded look at the American perspective of marijuana legislation and its implications on people and business. This insight is presented through a narrative that allows players to change the law and witness the repercussions. Regardless of personal opinion on legalising weed, Weedcraft Inc is a must play to gain a broader understanding of the subject, without forcing a particular point of view on the player.
The polished visuals really make Weedcraft Inc stand out. The visuals boast some clever touches, such as the muted tones of the game world highlighting the bright hues of the cannabis plants, thus showing off their importance. A comic book art style was the perfect choice to make the game feel mature without being too serious. To further emphasise the relaxed tone, the soundtrack is stylish with a chilled out, stoner vibe that perfectly suits a game about drugs. Naturally, Weedcraft Inc also features achievements for things such as playing the game for 4 hours and 20 minutes, all of which add to the tongue-in-cheek humour that underpins the game.
As someone new to the management sim genre, more guidance would have been welcomed in the form of a tutorial for more advanced systems of the game. For example, when fast-forwarding time to increase profits, I would be interrupted by a police event. After bribing the officer to resolve the event, the game would pause no less than a minute later to go through the exact same process. These events were being triggered by my own mismanagement; however, the continual interruption offered little chance to correct my failings, which caused a painful amount of frustration.
Playing Weedcraft Inc is ironically addictive. Something is always available to improve, and those with competitive personalities will find that the urge to beat the competition or create better strands of weed is irresistible. Weedcraft Inc demands the players attention, which creates a sense of ownership over the business empire being created and hooks the player in to play for “just ten more minutes.” Despite the occasional feelings of tedium, the overall experience is an inventive illustration of this ever-growing economy. The nicely polished systems offer a challenge for new and experienced players of the management sim genre. With inviting visuals and an engaging story, Weedcraft Inc creates a unique tone compared to other management sims, ultimately hooking you in for another hit.
Reviewed on PC.