“Welcome to the Heisenberg brewery. We produce a fine selection of pale ales, lagers, American wheats, IPAs, Irish Red Ales – all this and more from the microbrewery inside my garage.
“The microbrewery I’ve setup on my phone may not be much to look at, but my team of brewers have had winning entries in the Sunmerfest Lager Competition and the SE Regional Brewfest. We’ve really made an impact on the local brewing scene.
“Now, please excuse me, I’ve got some rats to squish.”
Fiz: The Brewery Management Game – the result of a Kickstarter campaign – was created by Sean Sanders and Kelly O’Donnell, who make-up indie devs Bit By Bit Studios. Now available for purchase on Android (played) and iOS its pedigree will be familiar for those who sunk hours into playing something like Kariosoft’s Game Dev Story back in 2010. Bit By Bit boasts twenty hours of playtime for Fiz.
In the game, you’re put in charge of your own home-grown brewery, a group of fellow enthusiasts (a.k.a. friends) with a pool of varied skills that can all help or hinder your brewing process. The skills and processes involved are more generalised than similar titles, which is a shame as it always feels like there’s less for you to manage.
The challenge of brewing items that will sell well or win in competitions is the main draw of the title. But even if you’re raking in the cash (which is difficult to achieve quickly), progression feels like a secondary concern or something that takes many in-game years. In fact the time-versus-progression situation is greatly imbalanced, such that it doesn’t reflect the real world success of actual microbreweries that have quickly gained success over less than five years.
I’m fifteen years in as I come to write this review and it feels like very little has happened and despite good cash flow there’s no sign of when we will leave my garage. Meanwhile, a pool of blacked out über brewers could eventually become available, I’ve snagged a lumberjack already, but I may need to pull off the impossible to make them available. New brewers become available as you win certain events or reach higher levels of brewing quality. Though it is a nice touch that you can carry out marketplace research in order to ensure your brews get to where they will be most appreciated.
In game interactions produce some superbly scripted moments. In these greatly interspersed times that you get to converse with someone the conversations are funny and reminiscent of a touch of Monty Python with a dash of Arrested Development. There’s also something hilarious about stomping on rats to get extra cash and bits of recipes to long lost beverages.
Fiz won’t break the bank, doesn’t have any microtransactions, and is definitely interesting if you ever went on a brewery tour and thought more about the processes of making beer than of the free booze at the end. The only real downside is that it’s difficult to get a feeling of accomplishment from your in-game actions.
Fiz: Brewery Management Game from Bit By Bit Studios is out now and available on Android and iOS. We bought our own copy of the game.