Congrats, you’ve just been hired to master Impossification with Park Beyond. Create the rides you can only dream of and revel in their physics-breaking wonder. Zoom in with the camera and get immersed in your creations as if hopping on your ride. Or zoom out and marvel at the spectacle of your grand design.
Make wicked, impossible coasters for thrill-seeking teens. Or fantastical rides and shows to create magical experiences for families. Or a place of amazement for adults as they enjoy the hand-crafted scenery.
Manage and balance all the essentials of building a theme park. Make your park profitable so you can make your park and rides even bigger. This review is on the PC version.
Story – From Draw board to Jaw Dropping
The story begins with you waking up from a dream of a potential theme park. Looking around the bedroom, you’ll see that your character has a passion and talent for theme park creations, from the wooden roller coaster model that rides around your room. To the dozens of theme park posters that litter your walls and to the blueprints and schematics for ride ideas sprawled all over your desk.
Speaking of, you toss one of your designs out the window and hit a girl named Blaize Ultra, who happened to be flying by in her jetpack, causing her to crash. Surprisingly, she’s alright and not even mad. Moreover she likes your design so much that she has you build a roller coaster right in the middle of the city that comes out of your bedroom window. Yes, this is as wild and zany as it sounds.
Thus begins the tutorial. If you want to know how is it possible to build a roller coaster in the middle of the city? Eh, don’t worry about it, Park Beyond says. Generally that’s the tone of the game.
Newly Hired Already Boss
Your first mission is to turn Phil’s unfinished park in spooky, isolated woods into a profitable theme park. You get introduced to Izzy, the straight lady of the trio. She’s a very professional financier who helps instruct you in the business side of running a theme park and holds back the more expensive wild ideas of Phil and Blaize.
As you build up your first park, you learn that the company is in a financial disaster, and you are their last hope. No pressure. I would suspect they were trying to make you the fall guy, but I don’t think that was the tone Limbic Entertainment was going for.
Later, you choose which theme you want for your park and which visitors you want to cater to. The theme you choose determines which aesthetics you can pick for some of your rides and shops, and who you cater to determines your profit goal. I figured for my first park, I would make a Wild West Theme park for families. After completing all the missions for that location, you go on to the next and earn more rides, shops, parts, and more to make bigger and bigger parks with more challenges.
Gameplay – Fun and Fortune
The gameplay is excellent, customizable, and more user-friendly than many old park simulator systems of the past, like Thrillville. The coaster system allows for some crazy rides with little restrictions. It has a tunnel system to build tracks that go through terrain like mountains or even underground. You can even go insane heights and build cannons or paragliders to perform long-distance jumps.
Furthermore, you can also customize each ride. From its color to even to the music that plays on the ride. I can only imagine all the modding possibilities now. You may also click on your ride and select first-person mode to simulate the experience of riding your ride. I do wish that there was a more on ground option like Thrillville so you can more fully experience your theme park beyond just the rides and the ability to play theme park games like bumper cars or ring hoops.
Likewise you get to fully customize each and every shop/building. Beyond the simple pre-selected aesthetics, you can alter and change every part. You can make each building unique or save it as a pre-fab to make duplicates of them. Unfortunately, the roads/pathway systems are limited. And the designs for them can be strict. Though, I think you can raise them/lower them like the roller coaster system. I may try to make a multi-level theme park at some point.
The fine tuning
The business management system is the most in-depth I have seen in a theme park simulator. With a system called the heat tracker, you can see which sections of the parks are profitable, where visitors and demographics are having fun, and which need more accommodations like bathrooms, food, rest benches, etc.
Subsequently placement and spacing are also important. Having too many rides close together can draw profit away. You need to make room for long queue rides and adjust prices to maximize the amount of people per ticket. Make the line path too short, and it will be too crowded. Or if the queue is too long, people will get tired of waiting. If the ticket is too expensive, they won’t want to buy to get on.
You can hire/fire staff like janitors, maintenance workers, and entertainers to help run your park smoothly and cleanly. Each shop is customizable, with prices on every item with random events making some items more desirable. As well as adjusting how hard/fast you want your workers to try to balance out profitability with worker morale and productivity.
Graphics/Audio – Uncanny rides and Uncanny valley
The graphics show Limbic Entertainment put a lot of thought and effort into making the parks look amazing. The lighting looks great in day and night cycles. The customization and animations make the parks feel unique and alive, whereas the character models for the people and visitors are not great (this is not what the game focuses on).
The music most often reminds me of The Sims franchise, with quiet jingles that don’t distract you while you are park building. When you go into first-person mode on the rides, you can hear the music crescendo when you pick up speed and decrescendo when going uphill. There is some diegetic music on the rides, but it would be nice to set up PA systems to play park background music that you would hear, like in Cedar Point or Disney World. It would help sell the theme of your park.