More awkwardness than actual adventure
When you think back to the greatest theme park simulation video games ever made, there’s always been something to fit each style of play. Bullfrog’s original Theme Park, for example, allowed more casual players to build a simple park, clack together some neat roller coasters, and pull in the punters. Meanwhile RollerCoaster Tycoon was a more complex beast, giving the hardcore players something to drool over.
Adventure Park attempts to straddle that line between hardcore and casual, offering up theme park building gameplay that is easy to get into, yet providing tools that can be used to potentially get really deep into the action. Unfortunately the game doesn’t manage this all too well, leaving an unfocused experience that feels poorly structured at times.
You are the proud owner of a massive chunk of land, where an old theme park used to reside. Utilizing the existing paths and track pieces that have been left behind, you’re tasked with building a great, bustling park full of attractions, hot dog stands, and worlds to discover – while taking in plenty of cash, of course.
It’s fairly easy to get started with Adventure Park. A tutorial teaches you how to place shops, rides, bins, staff et al, and you’ll jump straight in pretty quickly. A mission system guides you through the game, giving you tasks to complete and generally pointing you towards the oodles of content that you’ll find lurking in the menus.
Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things, you can then jump into the Freeplay mode and create your own park however you like it. Having a park that is filled to the brim with punters is a great sight to see, and can feel quite rewarding. Roller coasters swing through the sky; Ferris wheels spin continuously; and rubbish piles up on your paths – unless you have sufficient cleaners to mop it all up.
What Adventure Park attempts to do is make a theme park game for everyone. There are enough customization options such that an experienced player can really get to grips with making a park their own, while more casual players who just want to get a theme park up and running can do so, thanks to the fairly simple menu system, and drag and drop properties.
But the game stumbles regularly with this balancing act, coming across as fiddly more often than not. Building a roller coaster, for example, is a fair simple ordeal – you click and hold to raise and lower track, and single click to place it down, meaning you can have a full coaster in place within minutes.
But when a cart actually goes around your track, you’ll find that it doesn’t hold proper momentum, and doesn’t act in the way you were expecting. Repositioning your track then involves completely ripping it apart, altering it slightly, finding that it still doesn’t work as you wanted, repeating… and all the while, your money drips down to zero. This will make neither casual nor hardcore players happy.
And this sort of awkwardness runs throughout the game, sucking a lot of the fun out of the proceedings. It doesn’t help that the game is devoid of charm, such that you’ll never really feel fully engaged with the title, or care much about your park creations. It’s all just a bit too floaty and throwaway, especially when compared to previous theme park games.
The game is all rather poorly optimized, with jerking framerate issues, and awful loading times. This all accumulates into an experience that is OK, but barely a patch on some of the theme park simulator greats. My advice would be to only pick up Adventure Park if you’ve already completely exhausted all the other theme park options, and you simply must try some new theme park game experiences.