Mama Would Be So Proud
Despite feeling utterly unfinished, I can’t help but hear Drug Dealer Simulator (DDS) pulling me back in – almost against my will – every time I turn the game off. It’s not that DDS does anything especially impressive. The graphics are subpar, the controls can be clunky, a lack of a tutorial leads to frustration, and the endgame has left much to be desired. Yet, still, in spite of all of these issues, DDS manages to get the monkey on your back and be a ton of fun – just don’t expect to feel like Tony Montana when it’s all said and done.
DDS doesn’t offer you much in the way of a narrative, but for the sake of giving yourself some context in moving forward, you start as a low life dealer with dreams of movie stars and Yayo as far as the eye can see. You have a contact named Eddie, who supplies your initial orders of the Devil’s Lettuce and pure Whiffle Dust. After meeting with Eddie, you’re set off into the world to gain clientele, get people hooked on the good stuff, hopefully, turn their pain and suffering into profit by having them to work for you, and then spending that blood, sweat, and tears on better drugs and sweet furniture. Hey, no one said slangin’ and bangin’ was easy work. But if you can take the heat, you’ll get nice and comfortable in this kitchen.
Something can be said about a game that feels lackluster in many areas; however, still manages to be fun. And that’s what you can say about DDS, because, at the end of the day, the simple process of picking up your supply, heading home, mixing the product, taking orders, and delivering to your clients is just plain old-fashioned hijinks and tomfoolery. A laptop in your apartment serves as your hub in which you interact with clients, employees, and employers, as well as being able to access your bank account. If you launder enough money into your account, you can eventually purchase upgrades and furniture for your apartment, as well as entirely new locations. It helps to own as much property as you can, as that will not only add to your overall respect, in turn leading to more clients and more money but help with avoiding the police.
The War on Drugs
The cops aren’t too fond of the new potrepreneur on the block, and they’ll do everything they can to put you behind bars. I never thought I’d be playing a game about dealing crack cocaine and black tar heroin, while simultaneously getting Metal Gear Solid vibes, but here I am. The police will chase you down and tase you if they get suspicious of your activities (which is usually just existing), but as long as you wait until their backs are to you, you won’t have any issues. At night, police hours kick in, and the cops become more vigilant, but to be honest, I didn’t notice a difference in their behavior. Regardless, the exhilaration of making off with a massive haul and outrunning the cops at night proved to be fun throughout my entire playthrough.
Like a Dave Chappelle film, though, I can’t help but feel that DDS is half baked. From the get-go, it seems as if it’s in early access, with issues and bugs appearing around nearly every corner. I almost felt as if I was playing ‘glitch whack-a-mole,’ meaning that I would solve a problem or work past a bug, only to find another pop up immediately.
A major issue I had going in is that there is a severe lack of a tutorial throughout the game. You’re given the very basics of what to do and then are left to figure things out for yourself. It led to moments where, for example, I would spend ten minutes trying to figure out how to package a product properly. I know this sounds like something that would be straightforward, but it really isn’t. You need to scroll through menus, place bags on tables, move the product into jars, then package it separately, and none of this is made clear. Combine this with bugs like your map not working through your cellphone, and the honeymoon starts to wear off, leaving you to realize the life of seedy underworld drug dealing isn’t entirely what it’s cracked up to be.
I’m also concerned with what feels like a neglected endgame. Without spoiling too much, everything feels incessantly inconsequential by the time you’re ready to lay claim to the title of a kingpin. Like a lot of the simulation type games that I’ve played in the past, the journey itself seems to be the heart of the experience, with the endgame being nothing more than the sum of its parts, for better and for worse. Everything coming together in perfect harmony, as intended, with the player expertly managing all their resources and providing themselves with a steady flow of never-ending cash. But while you’ve become a master of the game, you’ve also exhausted its resources. And that very much feels like DDS. There isn’t a lavish, Scarface lifestyle waiting for you at the end of the game. Just more drugs.
I was pleasantly surprised by Drug Dealer Simulator. What I thought was going to be a joke of a game turned out to be something I had a lot of fun with. The game desperately needs to be patched, as even taking a two-minute scroll through the DDS Subreddit will show just how many issues people are having, and a fleshed-out tutorial and endgame need to be added for the package to truly shine. But, give it a chance, and you could find yourself addicted.
***PC key provided by the publisher***
- Fun Gameplay Loop
- Licensed Music
- Feels Unfinished
- Lack of Tutorial
- Lackluster Endgame