With last year’s YouTubers Life, Spanish studio U-Play Online transformed content creation into a kind of arcade strategy game, where your objective was to grow your subscriber count across a variety of different disciplines – from gaming through to cooking. Esports Life Tycoon is a similar sort of experience, marrying the inter-personal relationships of The Sims with management simulation aspects. It’s a weird blend, but oddly addictive.
You’ll start out by creating a coach, and then you’ll need to assemble a squad of MOBA maestros to take from rags to riches. Throughout, you’ll be analysing your opponents, trading for better players, negotiating sponsorships, and attempting to keep your head above water while you’re pulled in a billion different directions. Your goal is to work your way up the leagues, all without p*ssing your players off, accounting for wrist injuries (really!), and managing relationships with opponents.
Ultimately, it all amounts to a lot of busy-work, but once again the developer has managed to find a gameplay format that may not particularly resemble real-life team management, but keeps you on your toes at all times. You can upgrade your apartment, bring in psychologists to improve morale, and even coach your team as they compete. It’s all relatively simplistic, but there’s always something you need to do, and thus it’s hard to put down.
In terms of presentation, the package leaves a lot to be desired, but this is all about assembling the ultimate team and watching your bank balance bulge – the visuals are secondary to the ever-increasing numbers. Controls could be better optimised, and it’s perhaps a little too easy – but a separate challenge mode, where you’re put into increasingly tough situations, adds some much-needed difficulty to the standard sandbox option.