reviews

Theme Park Simulator – (Nintendo Switch Review) – A Game or an Art Project?

Theme Park Simulator is exactly what it says on the tin. Developed by Best Ride Simulators and released by Indie game publishing company Badland Publishing. This game began its ascendancy to popularity as a mobile phone game, later extending it’s ventures onto PC, and now finally fixing it’s gaze onto a stubborn Switch audience. 

The game is laid out almost like 11 seperate mini-games. You don’t venture around the theme park. but instead you go from ride to ride via the main menu, a level select as it were. 

“So what rides exactly does this ‘prestigious’ theme park include!”, I hear you cry. Well, allow me to breakdown each individual ride before coming to my conclusion on what I think. 

Ferris Wheel 

The first ride I’ll venture onto is the Ferris Wheel. When I think of a Ferris Wheel. I think of bearing the slow journey up to the top, to be rewarded with extraordinary views of the surrounding areas. Unfortunately for this game. anything outside the direct area of the rides vicinity, Is nothing more than a blurred render of thick woodland. 

My initial thoughts on glancing through the poorly done surrounding areas, although a small gripe, Is that of laziness. It feels to me like It has been ripped directly from the Android version of the game and spewed back out onto another format. But then I disembark the ride and remember the main focus of what the game is trying to deliver. The stunning design and model rendering of the rides themselves. And they truely are stunning. From the passenger cars to the mechanisms within that make the ride run. They are all done to a remarkable standard. 

Bumper Cars 

The bumper cars for me reignites my complaint about the game feeling too much like a direct Mobile game rip. The game here could utilise the features that the switch offers that a mobile phone could not. But instead you are left using your Switch like a Tablet and driving using the on screen buttons. 

Inverter 

This ride for me was the first ride that I truly found myself enjoying. The sway controls that this ride included was really fun to use. You have to rock the Inverter one way, then when it couldn’t go up any further, you’d have to counteract it by pushing it back the other way. And you’d repeat this motion until you had the passengers hurtling around the full 360 degrees. 

Tagada 

This ride is sold by the creators as being “Dizzying as hell”. The concept of the ride is it rotates at speeds decided by the player, before the hydraulics lift up areas of the ride. Again for me, the beauty of this ride is more to be admired off the ride looking on, than on the ride looking off. With the models attention to detail being truely remarkable. Though for someone overlooking such beauty, the ride itself is fairly underwhealming. 

Amor Express 

This Amor Express ride for me was the least enjoyable out of all of the rides, your journey on the passenger view is up and down and around in circles. The only thing that seperates this ride from the other rides is that you can put an opaque hood over the cars.(big whoop…) 

Wild Mouse 

What is a fair ground without a Wild Mouse ride? Well this one is no different! This is one of two roller coasters this game presents. Again there isn’t really much you can do with this ride. Turn lights on/off, load cars up and send them on their way. But bonus points for nostalgia! 

Twister 

The twister doesn’t really offer much to do other than raise the angle and speed of the ride. The Techno Jump ride is quite similar but offers so much more entertainment value. 

Tokaido 

Tokaido is the second roller coaster this game offers, and it’s rather disappointing. It’s less of a roller coaster you’d find at a theme park and more of a ride you’d find at a local fair pitched up in a local field.  

Viking Ship 

‘Viking Ship’ for me is a tamer version of ‘Inverter’. it has the same momentum mechanics, but the height at which the ship can reach is limited in each direction. Again this ride is aesthetically gorgeous. But the ride lacks any real excitement. 

Techno Jump 

This is probably the only ride I preferred looking at from the perspective of a thrillseeker on the ride than I did panning around it from the outside. The ride controls for this one are very entertaining. Not only can you change the speed and lift the cars, but there are a huge variety of patterns in which you can have the cars raised. 

Kamikaze 

Last but most certainly not least is the Kamikaze, one cabin goes clockwise whilst the adjacent one goes counter-clockwise. Although the only thing you can adjust on this ride is the speed, you can change the velocity in order to make the passengers hang upside down as well as just admire the beautiful ride design throughout. 

Summary 

My initial thoughts on this game were directed solely at the gameplay, and I must admit It all felt a bit underwhealming. You let people on the ride, you send it on its way, you let people off. Rinse and repeat. Having a quick runthrough of all the rides I was left thinking. “Is that it?” 

But then I took a step back and went back through them with a different mindset, Instead of focusing on the mechanics of the rides, I panned myself around the map and admired the attention to detail on every single ride. And it was stunning. 

If you go into this game looking for a Roller Coaster Tycoon or Planet coaster you are going to be bitterly dissapointed. There is no ride building, park creation and if you want to actually enjoy the rides I’d say theres better simulators out there to do that with more thrilling rides. 

But what you get here is less of a video game, and more of a beautiful art project. I found myself panning the cameras through the rides designs, getting under them and trying to work out how such rides operate. And this game offers the ability to do that, all the way down to the warning sign stuck to the rides fuse box! 

Would I recommend buying this game to someone looking for hours of playability, probably not. Would I recommend this game to someone looking for something similar to Roller Coaster Tycoon or Planet Coaster. Again, probably not. Would I recommend this game to someone who is an admirer of fantastic art work and design, absolutely! 

Unfortunately the stunning modelling of the rides doesnt add much in terms of playability. You soon find yourself running out of things to do, and with the game offering no new unlocks or form of progression. The sandbox soon turns dull. For that reason I can only give this title a 5/10, and that score is heavily amplified due to the incredible modelling and ride design. 

Your Questions Answered – 

Is Theme Park Simulator Multiplayer? 

No, there is no multiplayer on Theme Park Simulator. 

Is Theme park simulator playable on TV? 

Theme park simulator does work when hooked up to the TV, but due to the controls being on the touchscreen, the joycon is limited to only being able to pan about the ride. To play the game, It is required to be taken off the dock. 

Is Theme Park Simulator Similar to Roller Coaster Tycoon/PlanetCoaster? 

Not at all. Theme Park Simulator is 11 premade rides that you get to experience at your own pace, but customisation is limited to changing ride colours. 

Does Theme park simulator have any paywalls beyond the games initial price? 

At the point of this reviews creation, there is currently no further DLC available or announced.

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