Alright, so I'll fully admit I was likely a little more excited than I should have been about the (then) upcoming Dragons' Den game when we first posted about it last week. It's one of my favorite guilty pleasures that I watch on TV, as I've always had an odd interest both in wacky inventions and business ideas as well as everything that takes place behind the scenes when people try to raise money for those inventions and ideas. The Wikipedia article has an exhaustive listing on the history of the show, but it originated in Japan and was popularized in English-speaking countries by the UK version originally broadcast on BBC Two (then eventually BBC America).
The show involves inventors and businessmen entering the "Dragons' Den" and presenting their business idea to a panel of investors, or, "dragons." These entrepreneurs come with a financial goal which must be reached for them to get the money, and the meat of the show involves the dragons duking it out, both with each other as well as the entrepreneurs when it comes to just how much of the business they're getting for that amount of money. In my opinion, this is all wildly interesting as each of the dragons come from a different business background, and potentially have the knowledge and connections to turn a small startup into a multi-million dollar hit.
But how well does a show centralized around intriguing business interactions translate to an iPhone game? Not well at all, to say the least. I'm sure my expectations were far too high, but I was hoping for some kind of depth to the game. Instead, all you're able to do is choose one of the five dragons to play as (which seems to make no difference) at which point you're given three pitches. These business proposals consist of two to three sentences. From there, you're forced to decide whether or not you want to invest, along with how much money you're tossing in (if at all) for how much of a percentage of the business... ...and that's it.
The AI controlled dragons make their offers, and you find out whether the business was a gold mine, a hit, or a flop. Repeat two more times, and the game is over. Whoever made the most money wins. It's annoyingly simple, and the logic that the game's AI uses is weird. Hear a pitch that you're sure will be a gold mine? Well, giving the full investment while wanting a smaller percentage of the business still somehow can result in the entrepreneurs going with another dragon. There's local pass and play multiplayer, but even that doesn't somehow make the core gameplay fun.
The best part of this whole game, is that no dragon would ever invest in it. Also, if your primary region is the US App Store, you can't even download this game if you wanted to. Dragons' Den is only available in select European markets.
International App Store Link: Dragons' Den™ The Official Game, $2.99