Dream Park offers a somewhat deeper experience than other freemium theme parks on the App Store
Managing your own theme park is fun. Some park enthusiasts might even call it a dream come true. Heck – that’s probably why they decided to call this game Dream Park. And that’s a fair assessment too, because for the most part, Beeline’s latest freemium release plays like a dream. For the most part.
Taking its cues from PC classics like Theme Park, as well as social successes like Happy Theme Park (and flops like Rollercoaster Kingdom), Dream Park puts players in the role of park manager as they build and maintain their own amusement park, chalked full of happy customers and fun rides.
As you’ve no doubt come to expect from the world of freemium simulations, the bulk of the gameplay comes from selecting rides and concessions, building them, and then returning to collect the funds they’ve earned. You’ll then turn those funds around and re-invest them in more buildings, unlocking new rides and concessions along the way. As far as the base game goes, Dream Park does very little to break new ground.
Look a little deeper though, and you’ll find that Dream Park gives you a slightly deeper level of control than most other freemium social games are able to muster. Rides and concessions can all have their prices set individually. Charge too little and you’ll have a giant crowd, but a tiny profit. Charge too much and you might turn your carousel into a ghost town. Dream Park is all about finding that perfect balance between customer satisfaction and profit.
When it comes to concessions, you’ll also be able to upgrade your stands to offer a larger selection of items – and then you’ll get to pick which items they stock. Your hot dog cart, for example, starts out by stocking cheap hot dogs. After awhile though, you can unlock the tastier (and pricier) all-beef hot dogs. And after that, footlongs. Since each comes with its own price tag for the customers, it’s in your best interests to keep striving to unlock more and more food options for each and every concession.
Of course, food and fun aren’t the only things park patrons are interested in. They need places to put those hot dog wrappers, and somewhere to make potty after a long day of lemonades and ice cream. Garbage cans and washrooms end up playing an important role in customer happiness – you’ll want to make sure these are set up sporadically throughout the park, covering enough area that they’re easily accessible for your guests at a moment’s notice.
Players who save up enough in-game cash (or simply make an in-app purchase to earn their dough) can purchase a “theme” for the park, like the volcanic “Fireball Mountain” or the fairy tale “Enchanted Castle.” Buying one of these will open up a host of other rides that are specific to that theme, though unlocking a theme doesn’t come cheap.
Yet for all of the customizability that Dream Park offers, it still suffers from freemium gaming’s single biggest flaw – once you’re a few levels in, there’s very little to actually do. Sure you can check on your park a few times each day to collect earnings, and maybe set up a new washroom or two, but once you blast through the first five or so levels the amount of time you can spend in any one sitting grinds to a halt. Most of your time will be spent saving up for a new ride – and “waiting” just isn’t a fun part of any game.
Dream Park ends up being a slightly deeper alternative to most other freemium games on the App Store, but at the same time, it doesn’t overcome one of the genre’s greatest obstacles. If you’re looking for a charming theme park game that you can check in on a few seconds at a time each day, Dream Park delivers everything you’re after. If you were hoping for something a little meatier though, this ride may not be worth lining up for.