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Park Beyond Preview – Thrills, Spills, And Ringing Tills

The world is your theme park

Who doesn’t love going to theme parks or the local show each year and just being a big kid? But what if you wanted to be the architect of these playgrounds – to be the one that designs the rides that have people screaming with joy? Well, that’s where Park Beyond from Limbic Entertainment comes in. Park Beyond has tapped into these fun times and games like Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon to bring a wild spin on the theme park management genre. I had access to a preview build of the game, giving me a look at the campaign’s first couple of missions and what players can expect when it releases on June 16.

Park Beyond’s campaign is all about climbing the ranks of a theme park company by making the most whacky and fun theme parks out there, while also raking in the cash to make the board happy (shoutouts to capitalism). My first task was to take a rundown theme park and turn its fortunes around, which is easier said than done. Essentially starting from scratch, I had a small budget to work with and in the beginning I only had access to a limited number of rides and shops. But I was up for the challenge.

From the outset it’s clear that Park Beyond’s main mechanics are intuitive to use thanks to an easy UI that will feel familiar to anyone who has played building simulators in the past. Simply choose the object you want to place into the world from the menu on the left side of the screen and place it where you’d like it. The only reason the game won’t let you place an item is if it intersects with another object or if the area you’re trying to build on isn’t accessible. Once you’ve put a bunch of attractions down you’ll need to ensure there’s a pathway so people can access them.

But while rides like the good old Pirate Ship and the Crazy Kraken are good fun (I mean, they’re no Alpine Express), a theme park’s star attraction is always going to be its rollercoaster and Park Beyond gives you the tools to build the wildest and most imaginative rollercoasters you can think of piece by piece. Thanks to the game’s intuitive building mechanics, laying track is as easy as picking what sort of track you’re going to be using (normal track or chain lift) and the game will automatically attach it to your build. You can rotate and elevate your tracks by using button prompts (I do wonder how these will translate to controllers), as well as insert track pieces including loops and corkscrews. You’ll need to give your ride hooks, which can be things like how high and fast it goes, to increase its amazement rating (the better the rating, the happier the customer).

Where things get a little crazy is when you unlock the ability to Impossify your rides, which allows you to crank a ride’s wildness up to 11 by making crazy additions, such as having a canon fire your ride from one part to another, that will hopefully wow punters into wanting to come back time and time again. I’ll be honest, I spent far too long designing and then redesigning my rollercoasters, wanting to make the best ride I could make, and every time I thought I was satisfied I’d want to make it go a little bit faster or add another loop – it’s far more addictive than I expected it to be.

Park Beyond is far more hands-on than I was expecting, with players able to customise almost everything. Not only can you do simple things like set park and ride entrance fees, but you can also set food and drink prices, as well as choose what items are on the menu at each shop. The more items a food or drinks shop offers the slower the service – and the slower the service, the less satisfied customers will be.

But it’s not just how the customers are going to spend their money that you need to worry about, you’ll also need to ensure that they have basic amenities to use, such as rubbish bins and toilets (I mean you never know when that theme park doner kebab is going to come back to bite you), as well staff to actually run and maintain the joint.

The game gives you insights into pretty much every aspect of your park – what customers think about it and how it’s performing financially. There’s a lot of data that players can analyse to improve their park. Maybe customers aren’t happy with the cost of coffee, or maybe there’s a ride that lacks amazement. It’s all there for you to use to your advantage if you want to. Essentially, if your customers are happy and spending money, you’re doing a good job.

If you had told me that some of the most fun I’ve had playing games in 2023 would be with Park Beyond, I would have said you’re off with the fairies. But here we are, and I can genuinely say that when June 16 rolls around I can’t wait to return to the world of Park Beyond.

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Previewed on PC // Preview code supplied by publisher

Click here for information on WellPlayed’s review policy

Park Beyond launches on June 16 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.

Written By Zach Jackson

Despite a childhood playing survival horrors, point and clicks and beat ’em ups, these days Zach tries to convince people that Homefront: The Revolution is a good game while pining for a sequel to The Order: 1886 and a live-action Treasure Planet film. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan. Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts

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