Park Beyond’s opening is gloriously silly, as you begin with an introduction to the roller coaster system by building a ride to get you out of an emergency exit, through courtyards, buildings, and to a park entrance – via a cannon. And accompanied by NPCs who are so obnoxiously gay that they come all the way back to being likeable again. It reminded me of being at a pantomime – I just had to buy, even for the terrible villain who wants to build parking lots (gasps), instead of theme parks.
Park Beyond sets itself apart from other theme park games with the ‘impossification’ mechanic, making the rides (and to a lesser extent the stores and staff) go ‘beyond’ the usual , becoming bigger and dumber than real life. So your ride mods, in addition to loops and inversions, include cannons, jump ramps, bumper boat transformations, and hard-hitting springs. You’ll get building goals for including modules like these – or reaching certain heights or speeds – and when you’re building for a park, instead of running through your own neighborhood, those goals act as “hooks” that define the target audience. and statistics for your journeys. There are puzzles here, and even more when you decide to impose a lap, which unlocks an optional third, even more outrageous hook – to go to a top speed of 140 km/h, for example, or include three launches of cannon.
The coasters’ potential silliness is enhanced by Park Beyond’s control scheme, which is much more about space than precision. Each new piece of track is placed by dropping its end node, so wide curves or steep slopes rise in one motion, where trying to fine-tune something specific requires trial and error without the help of finer tools. It’s very vibe-based, and for what Park Beyond offers, for the most part, I loved it. This works great for slapping a cannon in the middle of a ride, but less so for trying to build a steep drop that doesn’t knock everyone to the bottom to death.
Conversely, flat rides require no engineering and are just delightful visuals that only become more absurdly colorful health and safety nightmares once made impossible. Flat kraken backgrounds transform into vast animatronics that chase riders from a reservoir of water, and an already perilous slingshot ride becomes one that throws guests straight into the sky. It is charming and showy and gives each journey a strong and thematic identity.
Park Beyond’s presentation promises absurdity, then the management element weirdly throttles it – and know that I say this as someone who loves games that are all about pushing the numbers. After such a whimsical introduction, it was a slow realization of how the game’s systems interfered with what Park Beyond promised. It wasn’t until I reached the middle of the tutorial campaign that I had enough control to realize exactly what was going on.
There aren’t many variables to track: profit, fun, wonder, and cleanliness. Your park should be profitable – three months of negative revenue means it’s game over, even if you’re not in debt. A combination of fun (which comes from visitors doing fun rides they enjoy) and cleanliness creates your park’s attractiveness level, which unlocks new stores, rides, and roller coaster modules. Awe (which comes from visitors taking amazing rides) is the currency used to tax things. These aren’t complex, but the way the game interacts with them seems designed to prevent snowballing – which seems like an odd choice in a game that’s so overtly goofy.
The first clue was when I built an absolute roller coaster show. It was the most amazing, fun and, yes, most profitable ride in the park. I built it near the entrance, with many conveniences nearby, and waited for my guests to be thrilled. They were not! They didn’t go there, or even think about it.
As there is a “guest rejection” system, where you get negative feedback on rides and shops, the fact that no one thinks about the ride at all left me unable to realize what the problem was until this that I explore the sandbox mode, which inexplicably has more tutorials :: customers will visit the rides they “like” before visiting the rides they “love”. I can only assume this is to prevent exactly what I did – players building popular coasters to rack up good early game stats – but I can’t understand why this is a thing that Park Beyond wants to discourage.
Instead of my potential showstopper, then, guests drove to the nearest ride they just “liked”, which was much further away – and on their journey through the park they got hungry or thirsty. . It would make them unbearably unhappy and they would leave. No matter how ubiquitous my food and drink outlets were, everyone left before they even thought of the showstopper.
Then there is helplessness. A fun detail about campaign missions is that you can choose optional objectives within them, so in one of them I chose to force as many rides as possible. This is where I discovered that each impossification becomes more expensive the more you do it. An improved flat ride will give a small wonder boost – dozens a day – but the threshold for being able to impose another ride will increase by the thousands. Huge stores can give you a small multiplier (1.05!) of fun or wonder, and that’s only temporary.
The effect of this is that the two most appealing things to do in Park Beyond – building rambunctious coasters and doing cartoonishly enhanced flat rides – are constantly countered by the rest of the game. not snowballing, but my parks have generally gotten worse over time. Planning around odd customer priorities is a manageable frustration with 3-4 rides, but as parks grow, it’s impossible to predict which previously popular rides will suddenly be overlooked. Two paths to a catastrophic spiral appear: either its nearby amenities aren’t visited either, and I have hungry, dehydrated guests leaving the park early, or chance decides that my most profitable ride is now a land of ‘male.
Park Beyond’s propensity to turn more and more towards destruction is compounded by the fact that right now the game is riddled with bugs. The already opaque management tools also communicate poorly with the rest of the game, telling me that Luxury Toilet 3 is losing money, but, when interacted with, takes me to Soda Shop 4. Paths – the bane of many park games – are incredibly difficult, so every time visitors get stuck at a crossroads, they become terrible vortexes of unmet needs and abandoned waste, which furthermore there is no way to direct staff to.
More than once I have found myself in debt because a ride stopped processing guests leaving a full queue and burning maintenance costs but not taking any ticket fees. To keep the promise of absurdity, however, the dumbest reason I ended up spiraling into debt was because of my toilet. Specifically, each time you place a new one, it resets the charge for each toilet in the park. In this specific park, apparently, loo profits were the only thing keeping the lights on.
In a game where you can convert space simulators into actual rocket launchers and create totally non-fatal train wrecks in your coasters for fun, I didn’t expect to mention toilet saving – twice . On the face of it, Park Beyond is very enthusiastic about its more silly and rambunctious elements, and so am I. But I ended up building shiny coasters that nobody rode, in parks that went bankrupt, because he inexplicably insists that you take his savings very, very seriously – while holding back both the tools you would need and the rest of the fun with it.
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