What if you had it in your power to rid the world of disease, to improve the lives of millions, to ease suffering and cure the sick… and earn a tidy profit? As the head of your own Pharmaceutical Conglomerate you have this power resting in your hands. Will you use it for good?
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (13 reviews) - 61% of the 13 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (629 reviews) - 78% of the 629 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 27, 2015

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Recent updates View all (16)

July 26

v1.07.03 Patch

Hey all, just another small patch with a few more bug fixes. Details below.

Changelog
  • Fixed bug introduced in the last patch where cures could not be permanently "cured".
  • Improved hover over tooltip for the graph on the cures tab in M&M DLC.
  • Fixed bug where Genius perk did not affect the ETA on research items with no researchers assigned (did not affect gameplay).
  • Fixed bug where AI would incorrectly use player upgrade levels for Pill Maker, Syringe, Creamer and Sachet.

3 comments Read more

July 12

v1.07.02 Patch

Changelog
  • Tweaked ingredient price fluctuation and capped at extreme values to
    prevent erratic behaviour.
  • Fixed bug where ingredients prices would saturate quicker at lower basic demand values, which is the opposite to desired behaviour.
  • Fixed bug where tick number would stop increasing in very long games (500 years+!)
  • Added alphabetical sort to the active effects column on the company tab.
  • Fixed a typo in event text.

6 comments Read more

Reviews

“Like all good management sims, Big Pharma has quietly turned me into a monster.”
Kotaku

“It's superb, absolutely superb.”
Nerd Cubed

“It’s f****** great.. This is a really good game”
Sips

About This Game

What if you had it in your power to rid the world of disease, to improve the lives of millions, to ease suffering and cure the sick… and earn a tidy profit?

As the head of your own Pharmaceutical Conglomerate you have this power resting in your hands. Will you use it for good? Being totally altruistic may not be the best business plan. The uncomfortable truth (is there an ointment for that?) is that some remedies are more profitable than others and illness is good for business.

Welcome to the world of Big Pharma!

From humble beginnings


with a few rusty reconditioned machines, you can progress from knocking out cheap generic treatments for minor ailments, to discovering new active ingredients and hi-tech machines to help refine the next generation of world-changing drugs.

But watch out,


you’re not alone out there. Rival corporations that want to put you out of business have their own set of competing cures and treatments.

Then there’s the dynamically shifting marketplace which means that your fancy cold and flu medicine from last winter might not sell so well now it’s the height of summer. Where did I put my anti-wrinkle sun cream?

Big Pharma


is part business sim, part logistics puzzle. It’s one thing to work away in the lab perfecting new formulas, but converting the ‘sciency stuff’ into cold hard cash means bringing an engineering and business mind to the problem.

Factory space is expensive, and those fancy new agglomerators and centrifuges don’t always slot nicely together.

Features:

  • 35 business-busting challenges spread out across 7 unique scenarios
  • Custom game mode
  • Freebuild mode
  • Modding support

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP, 7, 8, 10
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 600 series or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: any
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows XP, 7, 8, 10
    • Processor: 2GHz Quad Core
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 700 series or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: any
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.6.8, 32/64-bit
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 600 series or better
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: any
    Recommended:
    • OS: Latest Mac OS X
    • Processor: 2GHz Quad Core
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 700 series or better
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: any
    Minimum:
    • OS: E.g. Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 600 series or better
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
    • Additional Notes: Requires the following packages to be installed: libc6:i386, libasound2:i386, libasound2-data:i386, libasound2-plugins:i386 and dependencies.
    Recommended:
    • OS: E.g. Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17
    • Processor: 2GHz Quad Core
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 700 series or better
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
    • Additional Notes: Requires the following packages to be installed: libc6:i386, libasound2:i386, libasound2-data:i386, libasound2-plugins:i386 and dependencies.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Mixed (13 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (629 reviews)
Recently Posted
Сурт Игнир Магнис
14.5 hrs
Posted: August 23
This game is based on logic puzzles, but it also contains an intuitive tech tree, there is a market you should investigate from time to time, money administration is also quite important.

This game succesfully mixes all those aspect in one. Maybe it's not the best game you can buy, but at least for me it's absolutely OK.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
crowbarm81
7.1 hrs
Posted: August 17
Maybe my expectations were too high. Didn't find the gameplay very intriguing. I was hoping for more freedom, less repetition.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jesus of Nazareth
2.9 hrs
Posted: August 14
Not particularly engaging or interesting. You have a few set points in the wall which input ingredients, which you then must do various things to (strengething, weaking, mixing) to make various cures. I like it, but it's not a long-lasting game and the business side of it is rather lame.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Resolute
16.2 hrs
Posted: August 11
Brilliant! The gameplay is super fun and butter smooth. I really enjoy the visuals and audio. Thematically, curing diseases is ultra-compelling. I definately recommend playing this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Where Did I Put My Pork Sword?
89.6 hrs
Posted: August 8
Big Pharma is a combination of tycoon sim, Tetris, and puzzle game.

The tycoon sim part is basic; you try to make sure your profits are higher than your expenses, you take out a loan if you're low on cash, you supply more of the drugs that are high in demand, and so on. The simple business management aspect suits the game well.

The Tetris part comes from the unique shape of the machines you place in your factory lines and the limited space in which you have to use. In the early game your available space is small, in the late game your factory lines are complex and long, and in both cases maximizing the use of space for optimal output is important.

The puzzle part is the meatiest: drug ingredients have components (with negative or positive effects) which can be removed, upgraded, or swapped around using one of your machines. These all have active ranges that vary, and it takes a bit of mental arithmetic to find the sweet spots to create the drug of your choice.

When creating drugs, all three parts of the game come into play, making Big Pharma a game with depth and replayability. The campaign missions start you off in an empty factory, which makes gameplay fairly repetitive (though getting randomly generated ingredients and starting ingredients mitigates this somewhat). If you don't mind starting from the beginning for every campaign mission and you're a fan of business sims and casual puzzle games, this could be a good fit.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ψ Psi-Lapse
0.8 hrs
Posted: August 8
I don't know how you'd pin this, so let's just call it what it is: stressfully fun

Its got something of a puzzle in the mix, where you gotta create drugs with certain effects, but those effects can only be made known with certain machines, and its really easy to mix up what machine does which.

Its graphically what you'd expect, music is good, tutorial is a bit hamfisted but it gets the job done. I do wish the machines were'nt so odd to drop onto the lab floor. LIke, some of them are 's' shaped, where the input is on the opposite side of the output, and its also sideways, so you gotta spend more time working around an oddly shaped machine in order to run it through the exact same oddly-shaped machine, and its never quite fun to do so.

However, seeing everything come together makes all that effort worth it to great effect.
A great game to get on sale, and when you're bored.

8/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
splungey
1.7 hrs
Posted: August 2
From the description the game ought to scratch my tycoon/sim game itch thoroughly, with some interesting spatial puzzles and potentially moral dilemmas thrown in - but unfortunately the reality was a dry, uninspiring game with no real direction. The humour of classics like Theme Hospital is ditched in favour of a quasi-realism that doesn't really hit the mark, whilst a complete lack of story or characters ensures the game has as little heart as the big pharma companies it emulates.

Heh, maybe that was the point.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
A. Smith
0.6 hrs
Posted: July 30
I couldnt really get into this game for some reason.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
WFP_Ghosty
4.0 hrs
Posted: July 26
This game is pretty fun. I haven't played much of it but plan to play more of it. Now I will say this, I'm not very good with learning game mechanics and how to function and this game is confusing at times, but it is pretty fun once you know some of the basics. It would also be highly recommended that before you play a campaign in this game, you might want to head over to the tutorials (big mistake I made) All in all I think this game is very decent for what it is, I only have one problem and that is the price is high for the game, now if your really big in Tycooning games, the price should be fine, but I find it a tad bit overpriced, but that might be my cheap self getting in to it. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do recommend it but I recommend you stick around for a sale and it's a little bit more towards its actual value
Helpful? Yes No Funny
giplet
10.8 hrs
Posted: July 14
I had high hopes for this game, and it was fun the first few hours, but it very quickly becomes repetitive. I like the setup when you need to meet a goal and then move on to the next challenge, but in this game you just end up researching the same things over and over again. Every challenge plays out in the exact same way with very small variations.

The idea is brilliant, but the execution is so-so.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
89.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Big Pharma is a combination of tycoon sim, Tetris, and puzzle game.

The tycoon sim part is basic; you try to make sure your profits are higher than your expenses, you take out a loan if you're low on cash, you supply more of the drugs that are high in demand, and so on. The simple business management aspect suits the game well.

The Tetris part comes from the unique shape of the machines you place in your factory lines and the limited space in which you have to use. In the early game your available space is small, in the late game your factory lines are complex and long, and in both cases maximizing the use of space for optimal output is important.

The puzzle part is the meatiest: drug ingredients have components (with negative or positive effects) which can be removed, upgraded, or swapped around using one of your machines. These all have active ranges that vary, and it takes a bit of mental arithmetic to find the sweet spots to create the drug of your choice.

When creating drugs, all three parts of the game come into play, making Big Pharma a game with depth and replayability. The campaign missions start you off in an empty factory, which makes gameplay fairly repetitive (though getting randomly generated ingredients and starting ingredients mitigates this somewhat). If you don't mind starting from the beginning for every campaign mission and you're a fan of business sims and casual puzzle games, this could be a good fit.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
This game is pretty fun. I haven't played much of it but plan to play more of it. Now I will say this, I'm not very good with learning game mechanics and how to function and this game is confusing at times, but it is pretty fun once you know some of the basics. It would also be highly recommended that before you play a campaign in this game, you might want to head over to the tutorials (big mistake I made) All in all I think this game is very decent for what it is, I only have one problem and that is the price is high for the game, now if your really big in Tycooning games, the price should be fine, but I find it a tad bit overpriced, but that might be my cheap self getting in to it. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do recommend it but I recommend you stick around for a sale and it's a little bit more towards its actual value
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
I don't know how you'd pin this, so let's just call it what it is: stressfully fun

Its got something of a puzzle in the mix, where you gotta create drugs with certain effects, but those effects can only be made known with certain machines, and its really easy to mix up what machine does which.

Its graphically what you'd expect, music is good, tutorial is a bit hamfisted but it gets the job done. I do wish the machines were'nt so odd to drop onto the lab floor. LIke, some of them are 's' shaped, where the input is on the opposite side of the output, and its also sideways, so you gotta spend more time working around an oddly shaped machine in order to run it through the exact same oddly-shaped machine, and its never quite fun to do so.

However, seeing everything come together makes all that effort worth it to great effect.
A great game to get on sale, and when you're bored.

8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 11
Brilliant! The gameplay is super fun and butter smooth. I really enjoy the visuals and audio. Thematically, curing diseases is ultra-compelling. I definately recommend playing this game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
425 of 461 people (92%) found this review helpful
290 people found this review funny
Recommended
23.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 13, 2015
Came within 5% of the top-most goal for a level, and failed for lack of time. Went back several saves and looked at everything. Was my choice of drug wrong? Were my production lines a square or two inefficient, preventing me from utilizing another delivery portal? Was I spending too much on Bolivian Tree Frog Saliva? Did I not get the researchers working on new machines fast enough?

And then it hit me: my best-selling drug, for erectile dysfunction, beautifully crafted to avoid side effects and have an A cure rating... was devastating the market... for itself. I simply couldn't pull enough profit out of the economy if I cured people.

Tried again. Made sure to give the sufferers a side-effect free drug which worked... some of the time... enough to get their hopes up... but not enough to stop buying next month's installment.

10/10 would abandon business ethics again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
224 of 267 people (84%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2015
I am a big fan of logistic-puzzle games and thought that this might take the gameplay of Spacechem or Factorio in exciting new directions. Unfortunately, the logistics puzzles and business simulation don't really play off of each other well, and the game quickly becomes tedious.

The two halves of the game don't play well together. The logistics lines are a little bland and mostly come down to twiddling the concentration of a drug up, then down, then up again to evolve its attributes and get them to the right concentration. This might be more fun if you could go whole-hog laying out a complicated production line, but the business side of things ensure that's generally unprofitable. Everything operates at just a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, so there's no thrill of big, powerful throughput like you get with a massive Factorio setup or a speedy Spacechem reaction.

The business level isn't that interesting, either. Your profit is dependent on the efficiency and margin of your manufacturing lines. Sometimes competitors will interfere by saturating your drug's market, which reduces your profits. Often, a competitor will beeline patent technology just to force you to replace your best drug every other year. That's just annoying. It's also your chief source of waiting, as you twiddle your thumbs waiting for the next ingredient or technology to unlock.

The GUI is also a bit of a chore. You'll frequently be flipping back and forth between the "Ingredients" and "Cures" tabs to try to figure out what steps you need to evolve your drugs, which ingredients provide the desired attributes, and finally what concentration you'll sell it at, and whether competitors are saturating the market.

There are some clever things. Sometimes you will sell a drug with a bad side-effect profile just because it's not profitable to sell a more refined form of the drug. Or maybe your drug will be too effective and demand will go down, or maybe your one drug's side effects will drive sales for another drug. These are all twiddly little fringe cases, and they're not cause enough to keep me playing.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
137 of 153 people (90%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 30, 2015
This game was a little bit of a surprise.. I don't usually get much into tycoon type games, though I have fond memories of Theme Hospital from a few years back, and I guess Rollercoaster Tycoon, so my experience isn't great to compare this to others in the genre. That being said, I find this game a great deal of fun.

There are two core elements to the game; a Logistical puzzle, and, a decent strategic/business simulator. I'll cover these separately.

The first part is what you mostly see in the pretty screenshots - you need to construct assembly lines that transform raw biological substances (insect parts, plants, etc) into finished pharmaceuticals. There are a good number of different medicines you can manufacture and each one has vastly different requirements. You need to purchase a variety of machines to transform the product as it moves along the belt from the 'in window' to the exit. Some machines strengthen effects and some dilute them. Other machines are used to combine two ingredients, to analyze a finished drug, to modify or rearrange effects, and to package the final product. All of these machines have different 'in' and 'out' slots that will need to be matched up via conveyor belts in the correct order. At first this can be a little daunting and frustrating, especially when you attempt to 'upgrade' a drug to a more powerful version, and some trial and error is required. That said, it's great fun once you learn the basics, and quite rewarding when you smooth everything out.

The second part of the game is the business sim. This is probably standard fare for these types of games, but again I'm not experienced enough to provide a good comparison. In order to succeed you'll need to carefully manage your expenses - buildings and expansions, machines, drug ingredients, research, and exploration all require money, and while you can take out loans, this will quickly sink you if you don't have steady cashflow coming in. There are competitors who are trying to make a profit as well, and deciding which drugs will provide the best returns can be a challenge. You must invest time and money into research in order to unlock better machines and make your existing ones more efficient. You also must send explorers out to discover new substances that can be transformed or combined into new types of drugs. Random events can have impact on supply and demand as well, so it pays to keep an eye on news popups.

There is a good tutorial, which introduces you to game concepts as you play so you don't get overwhelmed. After that, a series of 'missions' of advancing difficulties keeps the game fresh. I can't speak to the replayability of the game as I'm nowhere near completing the core missions yet, but I believe there Is a sandbox mode once you've mastered all the basics. The missions themselves can take from 15 minutes to a couple hours, depending on the difficulty and how focused you are.

Big Pharma's art style can be described as cartoony and colorful. It really reminded me of a less silly version of theme hospital, but aside from the graphics (and upbeat music) there aren't may other similarities between these two games. One nice feature is the ability to 'paint' your factory - with various primary hues and patterns. This could be useful to customize different product lines or processes on each line, or just pretty things up to your own tastes.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys casual business sims and puzzles. Big Pharma succeeds well at both, and I found it well worth the price of 24.99, though I was fortunate enough to get it on sale.

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133 of 156 people (85%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
18.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 31, 2015
As a registered pharmacist, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to speak to this game. While it's not like actual pharmaceutical research and development, it does capture the essence of drug development (evaporation, distilling, different excipients) and does it while keeping things interesting.

The minute-to-minute small puzzles of configuring everything in a small space, managing price, pushing for the next-best-thing (or not, if it's more profitable to flood the market with cheap, side-effect heavy medications), and monitoring the competition are all pleasingly done. You're allowed to set your own pace and customize your challenge through a wide variety of options, missions, and randomization of ingredients. The UI and graphics all fit well into this process.

Thumbs up for this one, one of the better management/puzzle games released recently!

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228 of 303 people (75%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2015
Having played this game in (pre-Steam) alpha and beta for over 150 hours I can say ... it's amazing!

So, what is it about?

- Create a perfect, smooth running production cycle
- Are you going for a cheap medication, try to appeal the mass-market, make a quick buck?
- Do you want to perfection it, research side-effects, minimize them and improve?
- Beat your competition by patenting the big cures? Maybe YOU are the guy curing Ebola, getting rich and famous?
- Research new ingredients, new cures, new machines, new developments, new production methods
- Send your scouts and scientists on month-long missions to find that rare beetle somewhere in the Arctic ice or learn how to use that new technology you need to unlock a fourth or fifth level of an ingredient.
- Expand, start with new ingredients, new cures, do it all over again!

It's a sandbox game and feels a lot more like Transport Tycoon or Infinifactory than Theme Hospital, you have your input (a plant, an insect, any kind of biological source), you refine it, mix it, filter it, strengthen or weaken specific effects, create a smooth running cycle with dozens of machines or steps in between, then export it as a medication in various forms. Pills or syringes? All your choice. Then you get rid of the side-effects, mix in other incredients, improve, get your A+ cure out and feel proud!

Play with or without competition, maybe you just like to make it look good and not fight with other companies? Your call!

If you like games like Infinifactory / SpaceChem or Transport Tycoon you will love this game.
If you expect a simulation where small changes can affect the outcome on the long run you will love this game.
If you expect the humor of curing patients like you did in Theme Hospital, this game might appeal, but wont fill that need.

Overall it's a big recommendation if you like slow moving steady games, it'll often take hours to set things up well-running, and it's all about patience.
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472 of 669 people (71%) found this review helpful
28 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
13.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2015
So I've been playing since the early access non-steam beta came out and I've put about 30 hours into this game before this release and I honestly have to say while I like the idea it has some really bad core problems that all stem from it's use of luck.

Basically this is a puzzle game with a enormous amount of randomness thrown into it and those are two things that rarely work well together. The game is more or less about completing scenario's with tiers of set goals and two months ago I made a rather long post on /r/bigpharmagame that explained why it's not done very good well overall.

The short version is basically everything you need is random. The amount of space you start to build in is random, the drug effects you start with are random, the effects on those drugs are random, the order you unlock new drugs is random, the products your competitors will make are random. The only non-random things are how much money you start with and your overall goal for the scenario. Which leads to many many MANY unwinnable situations, e.g; It's possible to play a scenario were you have to produce certain medicines within a certain time period and random chance will put the drug you need so far down the research list that there's no possible way to even get to it let alone produce anything with it before the time expires.

To put it into something that most people would understand; pretend your playing StarCraft 2 but the amount of SCV's you started with was random, so was the amount of vespene geysers, mineral patches and how much was in them. With me so far? So YOU might start with 2 SCV's, 4 vespene geysers and 3 mineral patches, while your opponent starts with 10 SCV's, 2 vespene geysers and 20 mineral patches. Now ontop of that also make all the unit costs and research a random number as well. Do you see why this is bad now?

It's basically a requirement to restart a scenario over and over again til you get the space and favorable drugs you need if you plan on getting anything but the bronze completion. Even if you get a favorable start, you still might need to end up restarting anyway because you may have had 2 of the drugs you needed for the 3 pills you had to produce but sadly #3 is the very last one your explorers can find.

Overall it's what killed the game for me. If there was set drugs with set effects with set starting positions on the board then I wouldn't have had nearly any of the complaints I did. But overall you spend more time restarting then actually playing the game unless your content to bust your ♥♥♥ for bronze the whole way through, riding the waves of luck.
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