Blooming Business: Casino is bankrolled by a cute, swanky style
Vegas is intimately familiar to SoCal residents, who (pre-pandemic) made the 4ish hour journey to the strip on a semi-regular basis. The last time I went was two years ago to this very weekend in 2019, where we dined at the swanky Mott 32, enjoyed a Cirque du Soleil show, and received some pampering at the elegant hotel spa. Although we saw plenty of people trying their luck at craps, cards, and casino slots, I’ve learned that its best to stay away from gambling unless you know what you’re doing and are prepared to lose — after all, the house is there to make money, which means taking yours.
Those wishing to know what it’s like to experience the other side of the house can do so with the newest, cutest casino simulator, Blooming Business: Casino. Currently in development by French team Homo Ludens, Blooming Business: Casino absolutely nails that mid-century modern feel to remind players of Vegas in its glory days. Challenging players to “manage your staff, guests, and unique VIPs so everyone is happy and the cash keeps flowing,” Blooming Business: Casino keeps a singular goal in mind: can you ensure that the house always wins?
Blooming Business: Casino opens up with an almost empty building full of promise and potential — it’s up to you to start partitioning off rooms and getting that cash flowing. Starting off small is best — slotting in some slots sections and ensuring the booze at the bar poureth over — and decorating the place as best you can will attract the local mining community to spend their hard earned coin at your establishment. Don’t forget to hire staff! Custodians, security, cashiers, bartenders, and croupiers keep your casino running, so hiring good people and ensuring their needs are met will make for a well-oiled machine.
As you hit guided goals in Blooming Business: Casino, you’ll unlock more decoration items in the store. Different themes will dramatically change the atmosphere of the place — do you want a neoclassical feel, like the Palazzo or Bellagio? Or a Tiki-bar kind of vibe that you’d find near the Mirage at the Dolphin Bar? Whatever you choose, just remember not to skimp on the details; after all, the themed experiences may not mean much to the locals, but the tourists will be more likely to spend at a new and novel establishment.
As time goes on, random events will occur that will force you to choose from a set of options that have consequences, either immediate or down the line. These random events feel very true to the setting — some money goes missing and you need to figure out how to deal with it, or some high-roller comes in and the staff are paying extra attention to them in hopes of tips to the detriment of other customers. How you handle these events is up to you, but know that none of the options will leave you with a true net positive.
In general, it’s hard for me personally to feel positively about gambling because of the damage it can do, but it was certainly more palatable in Blooming Business: Casino due to the aesthetics. The art style is extremely cute, and the vibe was one clearly rooted in Vegas’ heyday of the 1960s, so that bad taste in my mouth that I usually have over gambling wasn’t there. The dev team really leaned into the swanky mid-century modern vibes that is seriously underutilized in gaming, so the setting-appropriate blast from the past was genuinely appreciated.
Although Blooming Business: Casino’s concept is delightful, the execution needs work. Starting right at the beginning, the UI is troublesome. I was told to hire a new employee, so I went right to the employee tab to attempt to do so; as it would turn out, you have to click on an empty locker to hire someone new, which I find odd. I believe both options should result in the ability to hire, as one might be easier to access in the moment than the other.
More UI problems include extremely unintuitive menus, camera issues that act like the menu is still there when you’ve closed it, and difficulty accessing the exact menu you need in the moment. From what I can discern, there’s also no ability to pause while you’re building rooms, which caused an unnecessary sense of urgency. Employees and patrons alike can’t find the restrooms even if you’ve built them in multiple areas — it’s like they wait until their bladder is about to burst before using one. Stocking the bar is left up to the bartenders, who only restock when the bar is completely empty, leaving the bar unattended. I can’t hire more employees to cover for each other while they’re on break, leaving tables empty and thus missing out on grabbing cash from customers. You’d think couches would fit two customers, but one customer takes up the entire couch — it’s best to just buy chairs if you want to seat a ton of people. And I did notice some localization issues in terms of European to US numerals (4,5% instead of 4.5%, for example).
I quickly got to a point where I couldn’t add much more to my casino without compromising beauty points or overall patron comfort — within the first hour, I was already wondering what I was doing wrong. I then noticed I could purchase a flight of stairs, which, after deleting rooms to make space for, I promptly resold since they appeared to be decoration only. It was only after the patrons and employees stopped moving (did the game crash?) that I noticed I could toggle between floors, the game silently telling me the ample room I desperately needed was upstairs.
Blooming Business: Casino shows a lot of promise, but I think it assumes players know an awful lot about a game they’ve never played right upfront. So much could be better explained in the tutorial — like the fact that more floors are available — and I hope that the full version goes into much more detail about the actual mechanics of their saccharine swanky game. With that being said, the dev team has been very proactive in gathering player feedback and seems to be acting on those surveys and suggestions, so if Blooming Business: Casino is even remotely interesting to you, don’t hesitate to take a seat at one of its tables. The house will sort itself out soon.
Be sure to check out Blooming Business: Casino’s demo on Steam today!