The smartest thing about Big Pharma is that it knows it is a game. This pharmaceutical business game is about putting the gameplay first. The best part is building a production line with conveyor belts and more. The substances that you are mixing together move along one tile per day on your production line, jiggering the concentration level that determines what they do. Some of the properties will be good, such as stopping coughing, while others may give you constipation. The truth is it’s not easy. Each substance can have up to four different properties, and sometimes you will have to mix two substances to get advanced effects. Simply accept the fact that if someone wants to get rid of a cough, they will have to deal with constipation. The actual free market will be able to sort it out for you.
Once you have managed to complete the tutorials and you begin playing, the first thing that you will notice will be that Big Pharma does not have a manual. This strategy is more of a wing-it type of game, and it is hard to figure out at first unless you are constantly googling and redoing the tutorial.
The theme is quite cute, with all those pretty little flasks, pills, and bowls of stuff sliding along the conveyor belts. There are little animated people wearing safety hats that stand at the consoles. There are explorers in helmets that set out to discover new items with amazing properties. It is goofy at first, but as you advance, the theme becomes more thoughtful. The challenges become harder, and the competitors begin applying pressure, supplying the markets with their own drugs, and more. There are espionage and patents, which leads to a whole new level of gaming. There are plenty of scenarios that you can complete, such as finding the cure for cancer, HIV, and even Alzheimer’s, as well as making drugs that have no side effects.
As the products make their way down the production line, they are changing into new substances with new names and properties, and you will be dealing with the manufacturing costs. Most importantly, you will have to use your limited factory space.
There is plenty of action when it comes down to Big Pharma: you will have to deal with the side effect tiles of various ingredients to fit with another one and moving pieces around your factory. There are many different ways to go along this business sim, because diseases come and go, and you may be curing a disease faster than people can catch it, which causes your profit to go down.
You may need to sketch out your plans before you put them into play, but that is up to you. This isn’t about science or quality of life. It is all about the money.