tl;dr -> I made a blockbuster movie in the vein of The Avengers, turned it into a successful series, milked it for several sequels, then eventually turned it into a successful TV series when the ratings started to fall. 11/10, would play again due to realism.
I got Showtime! in a bundle, and was interested in the concept - I had really enjoyed playing Game Dev Tycoon, and any other management simulator-style games. I was very satisfied with this title.
If you are interested in a movie studio simulator and do not mind a lack of animations (gameplay is all text-based), then you will most likely enjoy this game. For some mindless, casual playthroughs, this is the game for you.
The aesthetics are decent - since the game is entirely text-based, you will encounter numerous menus and backgrounds. When you make a movie, you have the option of selecting an ad poster from a small pool of premade templates, however, you can also load any other image you have saved on your computer. You can customize the lettering on the poster a bit, like manipulating the font and color. There is no music, so I play my own. The sounds when you click things are okay, but can get repetitive fairly quickly (I turned all audio off after about 2 hours).
You will use the mouse to click on different buttons and menus, and the tutorial is very helpful at showing you everything you can do in the game. The learning curve is mostly minimal to (maybe) moderate, depending on your experience with management simulators. You can adjust the difficulty accordingly by changing how much money you start with and/or what year you start in (more modern years give access to the latest cinema technology).
Gameplay consists of you making movies and conducting research to give you access to the latest technology. When you make your first movie, you will have the option of customizing the scripts you'd like to use (or, you can buy scripts offered by hopeful prospects). You may change the themes you'd like in your movie, and this part is very interesting, because it will affect the target demographic, and is also sensitive to the time period you are currently in. For example, lots of adult themes and profanity will most likely give you a 18+ (or higher) rating, and lots of violence will be very, very controversial if done in the early 1950's.
You will need to fill your movie with actors, actresses, supporters, directors, and producers. You can hire accordingly, or you can sign contracts with people if you want them to be exclusively yours (for a time). The contracts will expire after x movies have been made with the individual, or after x years (whichever comes first) - higher values will cost you more money. If you are careful and experiment, you will realize that signing contracts is much more cost-efficient in the long run, but ONLY if you are intending to repeatedly use the individual(s).
As your movie is being made, you can invest your networth in things like better sound stages, more advanced technology (you will have to keep up as new technologies arise with time, or lose market share to your competition), and better working conditions.
The game plays a lot like Game Dev Tycoon, where you can select from a large number of movie genres (as well as sub-genres if you desire). From here, you will have to do a bit of matchmaking, as different individuals are more proficient at certain genres, and certain themes are better fit (for example, you won't necessarily want a lot of violence in a family film). Balancing these different elements will help you get better ratings, which lead to more viewers, and also more revenue.
Pretty frequently, you will be invited to attend various award shows, however, you do not have to attend (it can be a waste of time if you know with certainty that you won't be nominated). Getting awards bolsters your studio rating, and higher studio ratings allow you to hit a larger target market.
Although your playthrough can get very repetitive very quickly, it is still worth giving this game a try if you are the least bit interested in movie studio management. The gameplay is very casual and not at all demanding, so it plays well for a time-filler, or as a break from your more intense games.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews