Blockbuster Inc. review

by on June 4, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

June 6, 2024


Blockbuster Inc. is very much a game of two sides. On one side it’s a movie making sim that aims – quite unabashedly – to be a spiritual successor to 2005’s The Movies. You’ll build sets, hire actors, directors and other staff members, and actually direct movies. On the other side it’s a business management and building sim that borrows elements from The Sims and the Two-Point series. And it’s really quite good.

For a start, there’s something very compelling about the way you build your own studio from humble beginnings. You have a vacant lot with nothing but an audacious studio sign above the gates, and a few hundred thousand dollars in the bank as capital. There’s a tutorial to guide you through the basics, and then you’re on your own. You can choose to exist in any decade from the 1920s through tot the 2010s, each with different levels of technology and film theory to unlock and use by spending Reputation Points. Starting the game in the 2010s gave me around 500 million RP right off the bat, more than enough to unlock every single research node, of which there are around 160.

Blockbuster Inc.

Regardless, I chose to dive into the 1950s almost at random, and immediately set about building offices for producers, writers, and researchers. You need a toilet, canteen, and a maintenance room, and then you have to hire the staff to fill each position, paying them a salary and managing their moods, just like in The Sims. They’ll bicker, squabble, fall in love; they need to eat, relax, see the doctor from time to time, and the more you provide the better they’ll behave. Classrooms let them expand their minds, while a lounge gives them a place to blow off some steam.

Since you’ll be choosing their working schedule, you can opt to exert considerable pressure on them to get a project finished (a medium-sized movie takes around four in-game days to complete), or take it easy, spending more money for, ultimately, happier staff. There’s something uplifting about having no money whatsoever to pay people as you wait for a movie to release, and then giving everyone a pay rise and building them a lounge when you finally make some bank.

That said, making money isn’t that easy. Even a stinker will earn some cash, but to make enough to buy the best gear, and install things like a stunt-training facility and on-site doctor’s office, or to move your studio to a larger, more prestigious lot, takes some real work. You’re not just keeping them happy by meeting their needs, you see: you’ll need to react to their shifting personalities, too. A director who gets lambasted by the media might become sullen or withdrawn and refuse to go to classes or even turn up for work, while an actor who gets nominated for one of the yearly awards might get too big for their boots and start demanding a higher salary or better facilities. Hell, they might up and work for another studio.

Blockbuster Inc.

What makes it all worse, of course, is that it’s not really their work; it’s yours. Sets can be constructed and saved in a database for use across all save games and lots. You pick a theme such as Western, Pirate, Cyberpunk (not in the 1950s, maybe), and outfit it with props. Then you enter creator mode and put together a movie.

This is incredibly involved, too. Not only must you pick the themes, genre, maturity rating, and target audience, but you’ll need to assign actors, producers, writers, sound engineers, visual artists, and a director. After that you have to choose the set and direct each scene, dressing actors in costumes and directing their actions, adding special effects, organising the camera, panning, zooming, cutting from face to face. You can then add sound effects later – and even export the finished product right to your hard drive.

But it demands a level of patience and artistic talent that I simply don’t possess to make a “good” movie. Scenes are disjointed and actors will simply repeat the same movements over and over – unless you get right in and start editing, chopping, cutting, and curating the finished product. I have had a perfect 0 review, and it’s crushing for you and all the artists involved. You can get by for a while on middling review scores, but it’s not good enough for the big leagues.

Blockbuster Inc.

And this is where Blockbuster Inc. both soars above and falls short of titles like The Sims or Two Point Hospital. Because you have to put so much into it to get anything good back out. Yes, it’s a pretty relaxed game overall, but creating something that earns you decent reviews and allows you to really progress the careers of everyone involved takes some serious investment of time and creativity.

In between making movies and expanding your studio, you’ll have to deal with the nitty gritty of day-to-day life: gossip from other studios; your writers creating controversial storylines, or your actors saying inflammatory things during interviews. Sometimes an actor might decide to fight a director over an artistic choice, or your staff will come to you for help, advice, and support – which you can always choose to give, or turn them away. Whether you nurture your staff or work them into the ground for success is entirely up to you, though either choice has consequences.

If there’s an element that feels like it lacks a little something, it’s the building. Laying walls and placing furniture is easy, and there are even premade rooms you can just drop in wherever you need to, but the options for wall and floor coverings, or decorations are fairly sparse. There are more Christmas-themed decorations than any other kind for some bizarre reason. Likewise, decorating your lot is reduced to placing flowers, lampposts, a statue and a scattering of fountains.

Blockbuster Inc.

But these are fairly minor complaints. Blockbuster Inc. is a great management sim, and the movie-making element is implemented superbly. Aspiring creators will get a kick out of putting together hit movies, while fans of management games will get lost playing god with work schedules, juggling finances, and stroking the egos of the next new star.

From award-winning directors to the person who serves burgers in the studio canteen, everyone is an essential cog and can be pruned and nurtured to become the best, just as your studio can grow and grow, moving to larger lots on the Sims-like city map. Blockbuster Inc. requires a lot from you, but has the potential to give even more back if you invest the time to master the art of the masterpiece.


Lots of layers
Solid management gameplay
Making a movie is fun


There's a lot to juggle
Limited build items
Making a movie is hard

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Blockbuster Inc. requires a lot from you, but has the potential to give even more back if you invest the time to master the art of the masterpiece.