For Roller Coaster Enthusiasts: Review of Adventure Park

Adventure Park is an amusement park simulator from bitComposer games, a German-based company who brought us Giana Sisters: Twisted DreamsCitadelsThunder Wolves, and many other games. The game is developed by B-Alive, which is also a German-based company. Their games have all been tycoon games (at least, from what I can tell from their all-German website). When the chance to review this came around, I jumped on it because of my many hours as a kid spent playing RollerCoaster Tycoon. Watch the trailer:

Plot

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Build your own amusement park according to your personal wishes and ideas. There are no limits set to your imagination! Attract visitors to your theme park with different fancy and thrilling attractions. The money from and the reactions of the visitors will help you enhance the park and make it even more attractive. Make your park the best and most exciting theme park of all time!

There’s not really much plot in any tycoon game, and this one is no exception. Your goal is to become an amusement park magnate. There’s a campaign mode (which is very short; only five parks, the first of which is a straight-up tutorial) and a free-play mode. The first level of the campaign is Pirate Island, described as: “You have the opportunity to purchase a small island in the Caribbean. You can construct your first Adventure Park there. You’ll learn step by step how to build and run a successful theme park.” The remaining four levels are El Dorado, Support for Air and Space Museum, Luxury in South Africa, and Ultimate Adventure Park.

Graphics and Sound

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I had to turn the graphics down on my lower-end computer, but they were still nice to look at even on the lowest setting. Everything is extremely colorful and vibrant, and it’s fun to watch the rides operating. Guests are not super-detailed, but they’re easy to pick out on the pathway. The UI leaves something to be desired, as some of the button pictures are vague and don’t necessarily represent what they end up being. For example, the upgrade and sell buttons are right next to each other on the ride editing window. The sell button has an up arrow on it, which could conceivably mean upgrade. I sold a lot of rides that I meant to upgrade.

The music is well-done; the main title on the menu sounds like it could be out of Pirates of the Caribbean, which is appropriate since your first park is pirate-themed. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of music, so it can get a little grating after a while, but I wasn’t annoyed by it in the time I played. Sound effects don’t particularly stand out in either a good or a bad way. There are no voices in Adventure Park.

Gameplay

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If you’ve played any Tycoon game, you’re going to be familiar with the basics of how this works. One thing I really did like that I wish was present in more games of the genre was the ability to speed up time (like in The Sims). If nothing’s really happening, or you want to speed up to a goal, this is great. I also like that as soon as you hit the goal, you win the scenario and can move on – no waiting around for years like in RollerCoaster Tycoon or Zoo Tycoon. You can upgrade rides with better features, which makes them more high-maintenance, but you can charge more for them. Guests will be vocal about what they like and don’t like, which makes it easy to modify your park accordingly. You can zoom out pretty far, and zoom all the way down to eye-level with the guests, which is a pretty unique angle.

Now, for the stuff I didn’t like. The tutorial (and, indeed, all the text) feels off; the translation isn’t the best quality. It’s good enough to get you to where you need to be, but I felt like I might have missed some aspects. Even though there are a lot of decisions to make and charts to look at, I still felt detached from the game in some way – like what I was doing didn’t really matter. The thing I disliked the most, however (and this is definitely subjective and you may love this aspect), was that there are no pre-built roller coasters. If you want any track-based ride in your park, you need to be able to build it yourself. I found the interface for this really touchy and difficult to make do what I wanted. In addition to that, it’s hard to rotate objects and rides – you do this by holding the mouse button down and then moving the mouse, and it’s really hard to be precise with it. If you have two monitors, you won’t be able to scroll with the mouse on the edge where the monitors are connected – you’ll just move your mouse over to the other monitor. I came away from Adventure Park feeling more frustrated than anything – which was disappointing, because I enjoy the genre.

Final Thoughts

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Adventure Park is a solidly average tycoon game that tries hard but doesn’t quite reach the heights of its genre. If you’re eager for a new tycoon game, give it a shot, but you might end up disappointed.

Score: C+

Here’s the official bitComposer website and the official B-Alive website. Get the game on Steam here – it’s $23.99 until November 15th, when it will go up to its regular price of $30.00.

[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]

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