Park Beyond is the latest attempt to manifest the theme park management experience, but this new game promises to add some never-before-seen features.
The original The roller coaster tycoon the games unquestionably revolutionized both the theme park and management simulation genres when they started hitting the shelves in 1999. The first game took the formula expected in titles like the excellent Bullfrog Productions theme park and refined it to form a unique blend of visually impressive isometric models and detailed metrics and game economics.
Since then, many other developers have tried to regain the magic of The roller coaster tycoon with various successes. 2016 Coaster of the planet was the group’s choice, displaying a huge variety of designs, coasters and aesthetic options, all tied together using the game’s ingenious modular construction system. This system allowed for a level of customization that players had never seen before, with a large community able to share their creations with each other. Now, Limbic Entertainment and Bandai Namco’s Park over seeks to revolutionize this and many other systems of previous simulators.
Developer Limbic Entertainment has a relatively recent track record of successfully releasing simulation games after the warm welcome Tropic 6. Moving on to theme parks, Limbic seemed to be attempting to combine the classic features that worked well in the early games with some of the most notable advancements made in the later titles. The modular system of customization and construction will once again be present but advanced beyond previous efforts, presumably offering deeper levels of bespoke construction. This extends across building types as roller coasters can be built to move through other buildings and terraformed terrain.
One of the biggest differences this new title will offer and that no one has ever attempted before is what the developer opaquely calls “impossibility”. In essence, it is a game mechanic that overrides the usual rules of gravity and physics to unlock the full potential of the player’s imagination. Instead of having to support all the elements of a structure, it will instead be possible to build higher and further away from any central fundamental system, allowing almost any insane structure to become a reality. This also extends to terraforming tools which should allow for the construction of huge floating islands for park visitors to explore.
In addition to the ubiquitous sandbox mode, Limbic Entertainment and Bandai Namco are betting a lot on the popularity of their story mode. Previous games offered a linear campaign that slowly boosted the features it was introducing and the difficulty of the scenarios it was forcing players into. While this is all still the case, the developer felt this approach was lacking and, at times, boring. Park over instead it will introduce a large cast of characters and use the impossibility function to introduce interesting narrative elements into the game.
In some areas, however, Limbic has chosen to follow evolution rather than revolution. The game will use familiar systems to allow players to build custom roller coasters and park themed areas. Rather than reviewing these features, they have been fine-tuned to reflect the increased hardware capabilities of the average gaming PC in 2022.
With the game coming out in 2023, new features could come to the fore. In any case, Park over is the only theme park management game on the immediate horizon in the wake of the decline of the The roller coaster tycoon titles. He has a lot to do on his shoulders for fans looking forward to the genre.