s Reviewed on PC

PROFITANIA DELUXE

Reviewed By: Tim Emmerich, Shepherd's Staff
STAFF REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Lavamind

Genre: Simulation
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (good)
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5
   (none)

Profitania! Deluxe title
"Profitania Deluxe" is the third and final trilogy installment from LavaMind. While sometimes advertised as an Educational title or a business simulation, this is definitely an entertainment title as well! Yes, it is educational as you learn about supply and demand, having your own manufacturing facility, and general business concepts. But it was definitely designed to be fun! Imagine a game similar to Monopoly (TM) but much more zanier with no restrictions to a board. You can play up to 6 human players on the same computer, alternating turns (called “hotseat”). The computer will play any factories not manned so that there is always six manufacturing sites in competition. Don't worry, you can adjust how “good of a player” the computer is for each competitor. Everyone is in a race to achieve 1 million gems (local currency) to be recognized as Profitania's Industrialist Extraordinaire.

The land of Profitania is actually underground. Powered by magma pools, this subterranean civilization is experiencing a strong and growing economy allowing manufacturers to ramp up their product lines! You will be in charge of one of these newly-constructed factories! Don't plan on being surrounded by people that look like you. Profitania boasts a very diverse collection of alien beings, some better equipped to handle the temperatures of the truly being "down under."

Map of Profitania
One fun elements of gameplay is the opportunity to explore Profitania. While this can just be informative, some places can actually benefit you or your factory. Choose wisely as you only get one choice per turn. Speaking of turns, “Profitania Deluxe” is turn-based. That means, you get all the time you want to do your turn, then you click on “end turn.” The exception is the commodity exchange which operates in "real-time". Don't worry, you can adjust how much time you have in the exchange. Being turn-based, you “older” kids don't have to worry about the “young kids” kicking your tail because it is not a “twitch” game. In fact, if you are good at math and business sense, you may (finally) have the upper hand! Also, each game turn represents a week in game time.

The general course of gameplay includes the following (note that most things are not required to be sequential). For the industrialist to be productive, his factory needs materials to work with. The source for these are the commodity exchange. Here is the “real-time” aspects of this game as the prices, quantity, and quality of the commodities fluctuates as you are trying to buy the ones you need. This may scare you at first, but once you get used to it, it is quite fun.

Which raw materials do you need? Well, that depends on your factory knowledge or recipes of what products you can build. Herein lies the usefulness of the R&D Department. As head of your factory, you can dictate what the scientists are working on! Choose wisely, you don't want to research something that several other factories know how to make since they probably already have products on the market. So, try to stay on the bleeding-edge of innovation, bear in mind the more complex a product, the longer it will take to research it. Also, there are levels to product development. You won't be able to research a level 3 product until you have researched a couple at level 2. You will be able to see a product description, what materials are required to produce it, estimated market price, product size that it will take up in the warehouse, and factory resources involved in producing it. It is safe to say that a factory that does not invest in research will have a difficult time winning the game.

A Yogul Factory Once you have obtained the raw materials, you can instruct your factory on what products to produce. Thankfully, you don't have to memorize the recipes! It will list all the possible products you can make from the commodities you purchased. Also, there is an estimated profit per unit for each product. This is extremely helpful although not a guarantee, that will be determined by the marketplace. More details are given that factor into the estimated profit including the supply and demand, product cost and quality. Its size will determine how much factory space it takes up. A couple of other details are visible from the factory view. The first is your factory resources. There are several factors that determine this, but it is the measure of how much your factory can churn out each turn. Each product has a specification for how much resources it takes to make one unit. The second detail is warehouse space available next week (next week since this week's production will need to be stored there). As the game progresses, you will have opportunities to expand your factory or warehouse.

You can look at your warehouse and storage areas. The storage area is where you store the commodities you purchase this week before they are used in your factory for the upcoming production. Obviously, if you expand your storage space, you could buy more commodities. Here, the economy of scale can pay off if you get a really good deal on a high-quality commodity and have the money to buy it and the place to store it. Also, this could be a good way to prevent other factories from producing a particular product (by buying as much of one of the valued ingredients).

Running a factory requires monitoring of your personnel, public relations and maintenance. You can quickly see these details at the Operations Department. Also, you can see what your company reputation is. Why you don't have a direct control over your reputation, you do have input regarding the factors involved in that. If you sell poor quality products, your reputation will go down. If you are arrested for any seedy behavior, it is highly probable that your reputation will take a nose dive. For the other areas, you have direct control as you set the budget. The maintenance of your factory is important for it to run smoothly, so set it appropriately. Having a well-funded public relations department can help your reputation stay high. And lastly, a happy worker is a productive worker, so keep them happy! Some options to that end include providing benefits such as profit sharing, health benefits, housing subsidy and paid vacations. Before you get stingy, realize that workers that are on strike leave a factory producing nothing!

You start the game with a set amount of gems (local currency). Since it usually requires spending money to earn money, you may need a loan from time to time (like to expand your factory). For any loan, you are at the mercy of Crazy Wolly. He has a monopoly in Profitania. Thankfully, he isn't too outrageous on his interest rate! Do pay him off though.

What simulation game would be complete without insurance!? Ms. Fiasco of Fiasco Insurance is always ready to extend you weekly coverage for fire, theft, cave-ins, and more. It is wise to pay close attention to the Evening News and the Weekly News Updates as these can sometimes forewarn of impending disasters.

Profitania is controlling its growth through the issuance of expansion permits. The Illustrious Op will offer these through an auction. So, the highest bidder wins. You will have to spend a lot of gems in order to get a permit. That is the cost of doing business. Once you have a permit, you can hire Crinkle Construction to make your expansion plans a reality. In Crinkle's bid, you will find out how long it will take him (unless he runs into problems) and the price estimate. Why you will be complaining about the price of everything involved, you will be whistling to the bank when your factory has more capacity and the profit margin on your latest researched product is quite juicy.

The one item that you wished a simulation would leave out is the tax man. Profitania has the Illustrious Revenue Service (I.R.S.) that imposes a percentage based on your profits. Thankfully, you can set it up to autopay the taxes and not worry about it again. However, there are some ways to avoid taxes altogether, but you need to be lucky. When you are caught, heavy fines will be assigned to you (on top of the taxes you owe).

Tugger At the beginning of each turn, you will be able to sell your products to the marketplace. Here is where the fruits of your labor pay off (or you get bitten by a fruit fly if there was a dramatic shift in market price or your products had unacceptably poor quality).

As you execute your turn, you will probably receive mail. There is no requirement to read your mail, but it may be hard to resist. A party invitation, an invite to royalty or just a prankster's trick are some of the incoming mail possibilities. You are given a choice whether to comply with the request or not.

As mentioned previously, you will see an evening update. These come at the end of your turn. While these snippets may just provide ambience, they can also provide insight into upcoming weather patterns (allowing you to prebuy some insurance). Similarly, at the beginning of your turn, the weekly news update can highlight any significant news, potential disasters, or weather shifts.

There is a variety of people, most are exotic and alien to humans. With variety of people comes a variety of religions. The Nupre Mati Temple is the largest temple in Profitania. Visitors to the temple can sometimes get a blessing (or a curse). Some Christians may find this offensive although it is another way of presenting a “Community Chest” card. The benefit derived from a blessing is real resulting in better luck (read better adjustments to the random number generator) for your factory.

In summary, “Profitania Deluxe” is a fun, family-oriented business simulation that is easy to learn. The animation graphics are well done. This is a non-violent game that most Christians will enjoy. Be sure to get several players together to make it more enjoyable.

The only violent elements are mostly passive in nature. For instance, your factory may be the victim of vandalism. Some good moral dilemmas are presented from time to time. Do you commit industrial espionage on your competitor in hopes of obtaining the recipe for a product? Or buy 100 units of Coxic Pipes from a known shady character? So, instead of being offensive, it may be a good lesson in consequences (when the cops arrest you and your public reputation plummets).

Year of Release—1999



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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