It’s all about the drugs
Big Pharma on Nintendo Switch is a management sim about the pharmaceutical industry, initially released December 2019 by developer Twice Circle and publisher Klabater. As the overlord, you have to take the company from a small start-up, all the way up to cornering the prescription drug market.
I originally started playing this game right before the current pandemic situation and, after dipping in and out several times, wasn’t sure how best to appropriately review the game. Now that we are further along in our journey, and hopefully towards its end, I wanted to return and share my experience.
Taking the best from the classics
Big Pharma is played from an isometric viewpoint, for the main sections of the game, akin to the classics in the genre Theme Hospital and, even the more recent spiritual successor, Two Point Hospital. Your goal is to effectively set up a manufacturing unit while having to manage everything from floor space to production and everything else in-between. When I was offered the code for review, I instantly thought Big Pharma would play in the vein of the aforementioned Theme Hospital but in reality, it is more along the lines of Sim City. Well, just without the fun of destroying the city and rebuilding it for no apparent reason, we all did that right? Because of this, I found it relatively hard to get into.
The level of detail in each decision is granular, down to weighing up the side effects of each key drug component and the possible outcome of cutting corners. As you progress, each production upgrade required costs money, just like in the real world, so you need to manage resources and ensure all of the budget costs can be met… by one means or another.
During my time with Big Pharma, I opted for handheld mode initially and in short bursts while travelling to work. My honest advice is don’t, this is the sort of game that requires time and doesn’t lend itself very well to a small screen of the Nintendo Switch. Now I am not saying that it is a bad game, it’s a very competently made title but ultimately it’s long-winded and because of the intricate detail and reliance on menus warrants a big screen to make the most of the experience.
If you are a fan of management sims, this very much plays along similar lines and think you will enjoy it more than I did. Due to its nature, everything takes a long time to come to fruition. I have tried several different approached to my play but all require that extra level of detail.
Big Pharma is extremely hard to offer a final score on due to what is going on in the current climate which is compounded by my struggle to play the game for long periods of time. The plus points are that the game is very well made and performs well, but I struggled to find anything that holds my interest long enough to enjoy it. While this could have been great the other offerings in this genre outshine Big Pharma in every aspect.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xobx, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 05/12/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Positech Games / Twice Circled
Publisher: Klabater S.A.
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop