Weedcraft Inc. is a tycoon game about growing and selling Marijuana. However, upon playing it for myself, I was surprised upon at quite how thoughtful it is, steering clear of a lot of the “Ha, weed is in this game” elements that you might expect from it.
The game is, ultimately, inspired by the decriminalisation of marijuana in states across the US. Across the pond is where Weedcraft is set, and in my hands-on playthrough I took control of a pair of brothers, who were getting together to flog cannabis after the death of their father.
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Polish Studio Vile Monarch has paired up with a writer in the US to try and tell these stories, with the game functioning as a sort of Weed Tycoon.
Players grow strains of marijuana by clipping and watering them, and fiddling with the lighting, heat and humidity to try and get the highest quality weed possible. Then you take it to market, adjusting the price and strains on offer to get the biggest share of the areas.
But it goes deeper than that. To keep the police away, you can open up a tea-room or other legitimate business above your growing space, bribe them, or even just be super-polite whenever you meet them. Later, you can try to influence senators and legislation, or try to blackmail your competitors.
At the start though, you’re controlling two brothers in Detroit, and three growing pots in their dark and dingy basement.
The slow slide from micromanagement to a more macro level overview was pleasing, and I overran my one hour playslot as I got deeper and deeper into my own personal version of Breaking Bad.
But things are well-explained and you’re able to automate the annoying parts at just about the time you get sick of dealing with them, going from clipping and growing weed in your basement to having a collection of employees picking, packing and bagging it for you.
Hell, you can even get someone to flog it for you at your patch, letting you focus on your grand expansion strategy.
It’s hard to say at this point whether Vile Monarch has managed to nail down something to keep the late game as compulsive as the early game, and whether this promise of a series of vignettes around the legal and societal issues of growing and selling weed will hold water the whole way through.
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But it was a very impressive first demo, and there’s plenty here for people to be interested in, whether you’re interested in the game’s take on these issues, or just here for a blast at a mechanically sound tycoon title.
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