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Park Beyond Review

Park Beyond Review

 Park Beyond is a theme park management simulator developed by Limbic Entertainment and published by Bandai Namco, which supposedly lets you create the theme part of your dreams. I’ve been to at least one theme park, and on the only rollercoaster I’ve ever been on, I ducked my head down and waited for it to be over. I’m pretty sure my mum still has the photo of it, along with my brother’s deadpan face and my dad’s sheer glee. So, I should be totally qualified to review a game like this.

park beyond announcement

While the Sandbox Mode is a tempting option to dive right into the game, the campaign is a great place to start and learn the ropes. I’d say that the mode does its job in teaching you how to run your park in an efficient and profitable manner and has some fun scenarios to play through… at least during the first half. The second half has a serious difficulty spike, giving you very limited space and a strict time limit, which was not fun in the slightest. The characters you meet throughout are pretty fun to interact with, though, with some pretty good voice acting. Some dialogue options during the campaign unlock certain parts and themes for the level, so it might be worth replaying some of them to experiment and see what you can do differently if you want to get the max rating.

The graphics are pretty nice, even with lowered settings. The colours are vibrant, the customers are full of life, and it’s all fun to look at once you take a step back and admire your own work. However, the intro FMV to the campaign was choppy. It’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, and the in-game cutscenes were much more smooth, but it was notable.

The controls are pretty solid, both on gamepad and on keyboard, but I did prefer using the keyboard controls. Building rollercoasters feels natural and allows a lot of control over how you go about creating the biggest thrills (by firing cars out of cannons) or the calmest rides. However, creating your own shops is more frustrating than it should be. Prefab shops are fine, just place them around the park and let them do the work, but creating your own custom shops using modules and decor can be an aggravating experience, with snapping objects to each other right where you want them to be more difficult than it should be. You’re better off with prefabs.

park beyond screenshot mission1 3 feature

How much you can do with your park is determined by how much money you’re making and how much Fun people are having. Money is self-explanatory, but Fun functions more like experience points needed to level up your park to unlock more things to play with and allow more visitors to come. While this encourages making the best rides and shops you can afford, there were moments when I had nothing else to do but wait for my park to level up.

Progression is actually a little weird. Instead of needing to research new themes, shops, and rides — which is common in management games — you’ll instead be unlocking them through packs as you improve your park. There are themes to the packs you get, from some focusing on rides that generate more money to actual themed decor like zombies. This is fine, as it forces you to make choices about what your park needs at the moment, but I would rather have a research tree.

The most prominent feature in Park Beyond is “impossification”. Rollercoasters and flat rides will generate a resource called Amazement, which is spent to upgrade other rides, shops, staff, and equipment. It’s more than just making more money; it changes flat rides to be more thrilling, unlocks more stuff to modify your coasters, the staff work and move faster, and shops sell items that generate more Fun and Amazement. It's a great system that not only enhances your park’s overall efficiency and profitability, but it also adds insane visual spectacles all around that don’t get tiring to watch.

park beyond gameplay trailer xbox

Now, for your park to actually work, though, you’ll need to balance the books and ensure that you aren’t haemorrhaging money from strapping rockets to your rides. While you do need to worry about prices and the types of people attending your park, there’s very little need to micromanage, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your tastes. Staff need little more than a building to rest in and shops never need to restock. There's more of a focus on the creative side of the game rather than the business side, and I would prefer if there was a balance between the two.

Onto technical performance, and it is… not that amazing. At the time of review and writing, there was a huge problem with the game that really held back my enjoyment: bugs — both visual to gameplay ones. For example, one of my coasters didn't work because the car wouldn't move and not because it was broken down. From what I read from other players, the full release is significantly buggier than its beta build, which is weird. I’ve personally had a few crashes, and I had to agree to the terms and services and change my settings twice. I also found the load times to be a little longer than I would like, often taking a few minutes to load levels and cutscenes. At the very least, the game runs at a smooth framerate.

Please wait for patches if you want to pick this up, and if you don't already have Planet Coaster, consider picking that one up instead. It's currently cheaper and provides so much more customisation and control over how you design your dream theme park. Still, if you want to get a game that doesn’t really focus on the business side of theme park management and you just want to make the craziest, most visually spectacular rides, Park Beyond is recommended.

Park Beyond is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

6.50/10 6½

Park Beyond (Reviewed on Windows)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

Park Beyond is a spectacle to behold with some great ideas, but the glitter and lights don’t quite hide the shaky foundations that desperately need some repairs.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

Taking all of the AAA games

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