Shanghai Office Simulator is a card battle game with anime aesthetics and a “light” visual novel.
You are 22 and working in an office. Your supervisor practically terrorizes you. Through all that stress at work, demons awake in your mind. To take care of tasks, you have to beat them in card battles. Every event and battle costs you energy. If your energy reaches zero, a year is over. The game ends after you reach your 60th birthday.
Aside from that, you can check your phone to contact friends and family members. You can do activities for money to gain happiness. If your happiness is lower than your stress, your character gets weaker in battles.
The card battles are similar to Slay the Spire. In SOS there are combos. Doing a combo of 3 cards gives you a bonus (like another special attack for example). Through events, you also unlock perks. Every few turns in a battle, a random perk gets activated.
This sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Sadly, there aren’t many cards in the game right now. The shop site on Steam says there are 60 cards right now. After one hour I didn’t see more than 6 cards. 2 of them are the basic “attack” and “defend” cards. This makes the battles boring. It’s not challenging in any way and there is almost no tactic since there are almost no cards.
What about the story then? It’s like a visual novel after all.
I can’t say much about that. The aesthetics are very nice and I can imagine the story to be kind of entertaining – IF the translation gets better. Right now, I can’t get immersed in it since there are always sentences you can’t really understand.
What makes all of this even worse is the tutorial. The tutorial is not finished it seems. Some things don’t get explained properly and other things get a tooltip notification if you hover over them but this doesn’t help much if you can’t properly understand what they want to explain to you.
For example, you lose energy after battles. One time I lost 5 energy, another time I lost 11 and then 9. Why? This doesn’t get explained.
Another example is your phone. Nowhere does it say to you, that you can do activities with your friends, gain happiness and more. I randomly clicked on my money to open my phone and saw the menu. Funny thing is, a bit before that I clicked on my money and nothing happened. This indicated that the option got unlocked throughout the story – they just did not tell me about it.
But that’s not all. Even now I don’t fully get how everything on my phone works. There is a point saying “0/3 interactive base” on every character’s menu. Hovering over that opens a tooltip which says something like “If you don’t do it, you lose 1000 happiness”. They expected me to find it out for myself.
Don’t get me wrong. The game is not cheaply made. It was just made in Chinese and poorly translated into English. It SEEMS interesting and enjoyable but just isn’t right now. The good thing is: It’s in early access.
So they hopefully will work on it more, fix the translation, make the card battles more tactical, add more cards, and add a proper tutorial. The Devs seem like they care, so I am optimistic about that.
At the moment I can’t recommend the game. I did not have fun playing it. All of that wouldn’t matter if at least the card battles were exciting and challenging. But they are not right now. You should wait for more updates before buying it.
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