A simple management game where you work as a bouncer and pay your debt. Will you succeed or fail miserably at the hands of the mafia?
Genre: Simulation, Management
Developer: Helmi Games
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Release date: 3 Nov, 2020
Bouncer Story tells a story of you, a bouncer, who suddenly amassed a lot of debts in a single day from gambling. The thing is, you’re in debt to the mafia, and there’s no telling of what they will do if you can’t pay the debt in time. You’ll have to use your wits to earn a lot of money while paying for rent, debt, and skill points to survive the harsh job as a bouncer.
This game uses pixelated graphics. Both characters and backgrounds are made with a lot of details while the menu looks simple and easy to understand. Lightings are also added to the background, giving off the night city vibe to the game.
Although the game boasts of multiple endings, there isn’t much to the story. People will come from time to time while you work and talk about a lot of things, whether it’s nostalgia or a murder case. There are usually two opposing choices that you can choose, which might or might not affect the ending. I’m not sure whether it’s because I got one of the bad endings, but I found the ending to be lacking.
It’s not that hard to learn how to play the game. Although there is a manual that you can read after you open the game, the game also offers a tutorial after you start a new game. The game’s objective is simple: you must decide who can go inside the bar that you’re working on.
The control is a bit strange at first since you need to swipe left and right most of the time, even if it’s just a simple talk. It doesn’t take long before I got used to the control although I still think that it needs to be optimized for PC since the game was released some time ago for mobile devices.
Allowing People to the Bar
Although it might sound simple at first, it’ll take more than accepting everyone to make a lot of money. You must balance male and female consumers to increase the bar’s mood so that they will give tips when they left. Since it’s a bar, so you also can’t allow underaged and drunk people to get inside. Different bars have a different age limit and an inspector will check the bar from time to time to fine you if you let these people in.
The game will also give you more things to check as you progress the game. There is a ban list that is quite hard to remember, especially if you are given a lot of names. There isn’t much penalty for letting these people going to the bar either that I stopped taking care of them.
The fake IDs, however, are different. Although it’s easy to compare people’s faces with their IDs, you still need to check their names and age. Non-native speakers might have a problem knowing whether “Elijah” is a male or female name. The game also seems to automatically determine people above a certain age limit as using a fake ID later on, giving you more work to do.
Sometimes, drunk people will attack you if you don’t let them in. There’s nothing you can do at the fight although you won’t be able to retrieve your daily salary if you run out of health after the battle. This becomes a common occurrence at the beginning of the game before you upgraded your strength stat.
Closing the bar is also no easy feat. You have a certain time limit to open the bar and you will get a penalty if you still have people in the bar by the time you’re supposed to close. However, the game never mentions that you must press the “Close” button to ask people to leave; I thought I needed to let people exit naturally, which takes a long time to finish. Making sure you have a balanced amount of male and female consumers to squeeze some extra money before you close also becomes a challenge since you’re short on time.
There are some activities you can do after you finished your shift. This is where you must carefully think about where to spend your money, especially since you need to increase your skill points to gather money more efficiently and pay some portion of your debt regularly. Checking the news is also important since you need to know which bar will be crowded on that day, which in turn will give you more income.
You also can gamble some money in a blackjack minigame. However, I couldn’t seem to win the minigame at all after winning a few times. I’m not sure whether the game lets me lose on purpose or not but if it did, it’s a clever addition to teach people not to gamble.
Difficulty and Length
The game has 3 difficulties, with the hardest difficulty being locked at the start. I played at normal difficulty, the hardest difficulty minus the locked one, and finished the game in ~5h. Although the game can be finished after you paid your debt, you still can continue the game to get more of the story and unlock other endings.
I was planning to max everything that the game has to offer before I’m done with the game, but the game decided to end the game after a certain time has passed and gave me a bad ending. I’m not sure whether you can continue the game or not if you get a different ending, but I had to start the game from the beginning. I ended up losing interest in playing the game afterward since I didn’t want to replay the game again from scratch and experienced the same thing.
Although the game might be slow and repetitive at first, I couldn’t stop playing the game after playing for a few hours. More people will come to the bar after you worked several times, making it more difficult to check everyone thoroughly. It soon becomes a fast-paced game where you have to check everyone quickly and efficiently.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Although I still think that the game to be best played on mobile, it proves to be enjoyable even if you play it on PC. The game is simple enough to spend a few hours in while the multiple endings will boost the replayability to some length. If you like a simple resource management game and have a few hours to spare, you will definitely want to play this game.