Are you longing for a theme park simulator that’s as strategic as it is exciting? Bandai Namco’s and Limbic Entertainment’s Park Beyond is an upcoming theme park simulator management that will stimulate your strategic and creative spirit. Ride along as we discuss our first impressions of the game.
Park Beyond builds upon the basics of a theme park simulator. You are tasked with building your very own amusement park (well, it’s not actually yours), where you’ll construct various amusement rides, food and drink stalls, restaurants, and souvenir shops along with other facilities and service buildings.
Your objectives primarily revolve around continuously improving and maintaining your theme park and all its facilities to gain more visitors and maintain their happiness, which will bring you profits that you can then use to reinvest in your park.
Park Beyond features a Campaign and a Sandbox mode.
The game’s campaign mode features the main story and progressively introduces you to its fundamental mechanics. It will eventually introduce you to the various customization and features that you’ll be able to unlock as you progress through the story. It has an easy-to-understand tutorial and remains uncomplicated within the first hour or so.
In sandbox mode, well, you can do whatever you want! It’s up to you to choose the map to build your theme park on, how much capital you have at the beginning, and the level of difficulty. In this mode, you’ll already have access to most structures and the Modular building feature that will take customization possibilities one step further.
The level of management potential in Park Beyond is amazing. The game doesn’t feel too difficult, but it can progressively become much more challenging depending on your goals and objectives.
Understandably, the information available to players can be quite overwhelming at the beginning. You’ll have access to multiple layers of information that are all reasonably relevant to the accomplishment of your goals.
As a theme park management game, you’ll need to keep track of basic management data, such as profits, losses, number of visitors, and their corresponding happiness levels.
But more than these, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for other more specific information and changing trends. For example, there are different kinds of groups of people that visit your park—adults, families, and teens. And these groups have different preferences when it comes to the types of rides and food.
The game also features changing trends or fads that you can take advantage of to potentially boost your park’s profits and park appeal. You can also see how people feel about your park via the top opinion feature, which can help you decide if anything in your park needs improvement.
Aside from your direct involvement with controlling the contents of the theme park, you will also be involved in meetings with various stakeholders and officers of the park and face different issues regarding its management.
You’ll often have to choose among different directions for the park (such as themes and target audience) and either stand your ground or let the other characters influence how you run the place. You’ll face different conflicts involving the park’s performance and potential challenges as well.
Your Creativity Is the Limit
What sets Park Beyond apart from other games in the genre is its logic and gravity-defying concept of “impossification.” It’s a term coined by the developers themselves, and the game’s fantastic theme revolves around this idea.
To put it simply, impossification lets you defy the laws of physics by allowing you to implement various contraptions and construct structures within your rides for a much more exciting and exhilarating experience for the visitors.
The game features extensive customization options not only in your main rides but even in auxiliary facilities and structures as well.
Some of these customizations are simply for aesthetic purposes, providing players with a more immersive and personalized experience of the game. But many of them are also relevant to achieving your goals and completing different objectives.
Controls and User Interface Still Have Room for Improvement
Despite my generally positive experience with the game, the clunky controls and unrefined user interface during the tutorial made my playthrough unnecessarily inconvenient at times and stages in the game. Fortunately, the user interface becomes much better once you get past the tutorial.
But unfortunately, the clunky controls remain the same. Although there’s an excellent level of freedom when it comes to controlling the camera and the construction process, the game sometimes does not respond correctly.
Moreover, some actions feel quite unintuitive, such as the inputs required to change track directions and how path placement automatically alters itself based on uneven terrain without a clear indication of the ground’s unevenness.
One of Park Beyond’s strongest suits is its stunning visuals. The game’s 3D graphics and animation are far from polished, but its vibrant and lively environment makes it very easy on the eyes.
The game features exciting visuals and animations that effectively capture the wonderful world of theme parks and the exhilarating experience of rollercoaster rides.
Nothing in the game is short of colorful, and it features a good level of attention to detail. The people visiting your theme park aren’t faceless and just reduced to numbers.
You can zoom in on visitors and encounter countless unique characters and relationships. You’ll see families or friends with their own fashion styles and kids and adults acting excited and eating different meals.
But the game’s visual isn’t perfect. Behind the smooth camera panning and control, there are a few visual bugs. These include unwanted zoom-outs and messy zoom-ins to the ground (sometimes even under). None of the visual bugs I encountered so far had been game-breaking, but they were annoying, nonetheless.
Park Beyond’s fantastic visuals and feature-filled gameplay make it a potential standout in the theme park simulator management genre. It does an excellent job of catching players’ eyes with its colorful and lively world while also posing at least a decent level of challenge as a management game.
Moreover, the game’s own twists to the genre’s core mechanics, such as its “impossify” feature along with its extensive customization options, make it potentially one of the best theme park simulators to date.
If you’re a fan of theme park simulators, then this is definitely a game to watch out for.
What did you think of our Park Beyond preview? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This preview is based on the PC version of Park Beyond. The key was provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment.