Big Pharma (Xbox One) Review

By Lilly Kirchner 30.03.2020

Review for Big Pharma on Xbox One

Big Pharma is not a new game per se. Developed by Twice Circled, and published by Positech Games, it was first released for the PC in 2015. The port for the Xbox One, however, is a more recent December 2019 release. Twice Circled is a relatively small developer that also brought people the joy of Megaquarium. As such, the company focuses on simulation and strategy games… like the following.

Big Pharma allows the you to build your own pharmaceutical factory. Players have the chance to research and invent new medication that can be sold by building production lines. Different machines are available, and can influence different ingredients to harbour different effects. One has to organise how to use the space effectively, while still providing the right number of machines to produce the intended medication. That can be quite a challenge, a little bit like a puzzle.

Screenshot for Big Pharma on Xbox One

To achieve a certain medication, you to pay close attention to the ingredients, how they can be altered and how they can be mixed together. This can get very complicated but definitely makes for a fun challenge. The controls are nicely laid out and prompts are always given so players don't forget which button does what. One downside is the small text. As mentioned earlier, players have to pay close attention to each ingredient, but the descriptions are very small when playing on a TV that is a little further away than a PC screen usually is.

Another issue is the way information about single ingredients is displayed. While everything is available, the window seems to be too small, so developers decided to have different types of information appear one after the other, so by the time the player manages to find the piece of information they were looking for, the screen skips to the next page, which is mildly infuriating.
While the game generally offers a great challenge for puzzle lovers, the tutorial in itself can best be described as a puzzle.

Screenshot for Big Pharma on Xbox One

Appreciated are the difficulty options and tutorial options, which are completely optional, however the small text (again) and complicated instructions take the fun out of the experience. In the meantime, it has to be kept in mind that the title as a whole is rather complicated, and the tutorial is definitely necessary for new players. However, it is a long line of text instead of interactive. A few images are given to guide players in the right direction, but that is not really enough. It would have been nice to see a more guided tutorial, in which the game takes control of the player, performs the necessary actions on screen, and then asks the player to repeat them. Perhaps this could take away some of the confusion.

Screenshot for Big Pharma on Xbox One

The game is very colourful and laid out on a simple grid. This means, there is not a lot of freedom for players to be creative, but that is not necessary anyway. A definitive downside, however, is the fixed camera at an isometric angle. Not being able to turn the camera, players may run into problems when trying to connect some machines with conveyor belts, as they are unable to see what exactly is on the other side of the machine. While machines can be turned, it would have been nice to also see a mirroring option, since sometimes the layout requires the player to use up more space than if the machine was simply mirrored.

The soundtrack for the game is limited, but non-invasive if not a little bit funky. Since it is a background noise, it doesn't get too repetitive while playing, which is nice. It is nothing special in itself, but still adds to the experience so that the game isn't completely quiet.

Screenshot for Big Pharma on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


While the idea of Big Pharma is interesting, and could have the potential to engage some players in many hours of gameplay, the implementation causes this to be not enjoyable. Text that is so small that it is hard to read, alongside with information disappearing and reappearing, are somewhat annoying, so much so that some may decide to give up before even exploring the title's full potential. That along with confusing tutorial instructions, make for a disappointing gameplay overall.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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