Park Beyond Review – Impossification Tycoon

Limbic Entertainment's theme park builder is a charming and enjoyable game that fans of the genre won't want to miss.

Posted By | On 19th, Jun. 2023

Park Beyond Review – Impossification Tycoon

Management sims have always been able to cast a strange spell over me, in a way that almost no other genre can. I wouldn’t say they’re my favourite genre, I wouldn’t say I’m an avid fan that keeps an eye out for promising upcoming games, hell, I wouldn’t even say I play them all that often. Every now and again though, I do pick one up and pour anywhere between a few dozen to a few hundred hours into it, from Football Manager to Jurassic World Evolution to even something relatively more obscure like Mad Games Tycoon 2.

And every time I do, I’m reminded of where this all started for me- it started with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, an absolute gem of a game that I spent so much of my childhood playing. It’s the game that got me into this genre, and it’s something I’ve been intermittently chasing since. That’s why Park Beyond appealed to me as much as it did the moment I first saw it, because like many others, I’ve been on the lookout for something that scratches that RCT itch for a while. And though I wouldn’t say Limbic Entertainment’s new theme park builder even comes close to touching those heights, I am happy to say, without reservations, that Park Beyond is an absolute blast, and that it’s an experience that carves out a unique niche for itself.

"Though I wouldn’t say Limbic Entertainment’s new theme park builder even comes close to touching the heights of the genre’s greatest games, I am happy to say, without reservations, that Park Beyond is an absolute blast, and that it’s an experience that carves out a unique niche for itself."

It works on multiple levels, both of which appeal to me greatly- it works as a solid theme park builder, with all the complexities and mechanics you’d expect to see in a game of this sort, from building rides and expanding your park to improving other facilities and chasing visitor satisfaction. Beyond that, it also succeeds in delivering something fresh and unique, thanks to its impossification mechanic, which lets you build rides (among other things) that defy all laws of physics and logic, to turn your park into the most ridiculous, fantastical, over-the-top place that you could imagine. A game that focused exclusive on the first of these two categories would have been solid enough in my book as it is, so the fact that Park Beyond chooses to build on top of that with its own unique ideas – and actually does it well – isn’t something I take for granted.

On either level, what helps Park Beyond be as fun as it is are its customization mechanics and the level of options it provides in how to build your manage your park. On a fundamental level, you have a decent amount of options to pick from when deciding which shops, facilities, or rides to build in your park. Quite a few interesting prefabs are available for both flat rides and rollercoasters, while when it comes to the latter, you’re also free to custom build pretty much whatever you want (within reason, at least). With shops and facilities, you can build a variety of food and drink stores, souvenir shops, washrooms for your visitors and lounges for your staff, benches to sit on, and, of course, plenty of decorations, both natural and artificially made.

The level of options here is good enough as it is, but Park Beyond also gives you a great degree of control over how to personalize and customize almost every single one of these things. For rides, you can choose what elevation you’re building at, what music they play for their visitors, what their entrances look like, what speed the rollercoasters launch at, and more. For shops, you can pick between a handful of themes for every single building on an individual level, decide what they carry in their selection of goods, and even decide the individual prices of every single thing they’re selling.

park beyond

"What helps Park Beyond be as fun as it is are its customization mechanics and the level of options it provides in how to build your manage your park."

You can terraform the land however you see fit, you have a healthy selection of maps to choose from so you can build your park in whatever biome you want, and you can choose between a few themes for your park, including Wild West and candyland. You can go into the nitty gritties of the needs and wants of your visitors and really finetune your theme park experience that way, you can target different age groups as your primary audience- the game really does give you an impressive level of control over building your park, even if it isn’t something we haven’t seen before from games in the genre in the past. In fact, something like Planet Coaster offers far more.

The customization mechanics really shine through when you’re building your your own rollercoasters. Using different kinds of tracks and the freeform building mechanics, you can build almost anything you can think up, with all the loops, peaks and valleys, or twirling tracks you want. Park Beyond also lets you tunnel your tracks through the mountains, the ground, and even water bodies, so sections of your rollercoaster can loop in and out of mountains, go underground before coming back up again, or speed through underwater tunnels. As you might imagine, building something vast and varied and complicated and then being able to sit in the passenger seat to experience it firsthand can be quite a lot of fun- although the process of testing every rollercoaster and making sure it works before being able to open it can be a bit tedious at times, even with the fast-forward options.

All of this is before you even take the impossification mechanic into account. When visitors use the rides in your park, they generate something called amazement, with each ride generating different levels of amazement. Generate enough of that, and you gain the ability to impossify not only every single one of your rides, but also every single one of your park’s shops and facilities, and even the staff that you’ve hired, and different varieties in all three of those categories get impossified in different ways. Impossify a janitor, and instead of a vacuum cleaner, they’ll start carrying a flamethrower. Impossify an entertainer, and they’ll start walking around in mascot costumes. Impossify a rollercoaster, and it could do anything from shooting cars out of canons to making them temporarily defy the laws of gravity. Every flat ride also gets its own unique impossifications. The process of impossification is exactly as fun as it sounds, and generating the amazement you need to be able to impossify as much of your park as you can works as an excellent motivator to keep investing more time into building more.

park beyond

"The process of impossification is exactly as fun as it sounds, and generating the amazement you need to be able to impossify as much of your park as you can works as an excellent motivator to keep investing more time into building more."

All of this is able to shine through in the sandbox mode much more than the campaign. Don’t get me wrong, the latter is a pretty fun experience in its own right. It takes you from one map to another and gives you a variety of fun objectives to accomplish, while also serving as a solid primer on how to play the game and how to get to grips with its mechanics. There’s also a charming cast of characters, even though they (and what passes for a story here) do perhaps get a bit more screentime than they should in a game like this. It’s just that the campaign is much more structured, and as such, curtails some of the game’s best elements- the freedom to build what you want and having the customization options to do it how you want. That is, of course, by design, but after playing through the first couple of chapters, I was beginning to feel the weight of the restrictions that came with that structure.

Fortunately, you have the freedom to jump into sandbox mode whenever you want, which is what I did at that point. And it was a good call, too, because once I’d become comfortable with the game’s central loop and its mechanics, having the freedom to play it my way without any imposed restrictions allowed me to get a much better appreciation of the game’s moment-to-moment gameplay. I just picked a map I liked, gave myself unlimited money, checked the option to have every single option and feature unlocked from the beginning, and started building. That’s where I’ve had the most fun with Park Builder, and it’s where I’m going to have plenty more going forward.

One major issue I have had with Park Beyond, however, is the controls. Now, it’s worth noting that I played the game on PS5, and obviously, a game like this is best suited for PC. If I had played it on PC, I probably wouldn’t have had as many issues- but playing on a gamepad instead of with a mouse and keyboard, I ran into plenty of issues with how confusing and hard to read and navigate the UI can be at times, or how finnicky the controls can get when you need more precision. A few quality-of-life issues can also cause some frustration- like not being able to delete an entire pre-made house on one of the maps in one go, and instead being forced to delete every single individual element one-by-one. There were hundreds of components that collectively made up that house, and demolishing the whole thing was a bit of a nightmare.

park beyond

"Park Beyond works on a fundamental level as a fun and addictive theme park builder and management sim, and then adds its own flare and spice on top with the impossification mechanic, which never stops being a delight."

I also ran into a few issues that weren’t necessarily console-specific. The text that appears in the game’s UI, for instance, can be incredibly hard to read, and though some aspects can be improved by scaling the size, there are plenty of elements that the scaling doesn’t apply to- like all of the tutorial pop-ups. I also ran into a few performance issues and some glitches- including pathing problems, being handed objectives that I had no conceivable way of accomplishing, the entrances and exits of custom made rides deciding to stop working randomly, the game not reading that I had already completed some of my current objectives, and even a couple of crashes. Collectively, all of these issues, combined with the console-specific control problems, do add up, which is a shame, because the core experience here is wonderful.

It’s wonderful enough, in fact, that even with these problems somewhat dragging down the experience (until Limbic Entertainment hopefully patches them out, at least), I find Park Beyond a very easy game to recommend, especially for fans of the genre. It works on a fundamental level as a fun and addictive theme park builder and management sim, and then adds its own flare and spice on top with the impossification mechanic, which never stops being a delight. Is it the heir to the RollerCoaster Tycoon throne? Probably not. But does it scratch that itch to a satisfactory level? Absolutely it does.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.


THE GOOD

Solid, well-implemented fundamental building and management mechanics; Customization options grant an impressive level of control over all aspects of your park; Impossification mechanics set the experience apart and are consistently delightful; Sandbox mode is an absolute blast.

THE BAD

Campaign feels a bit restrictive at times; Console controls could have been optimized better; Some UI and quality-of-life issues; A handful of bugs and technical problems.

Final Verdict:
GREAT
Park Beyond delivers a fun and addictive theme park builder and management sim experience, and elevates it with its delightful impossification mechanics. Some technical issues and console-specific problems do hold the experience back somewhat, but this is still an easy game to recommend for fans of the genre.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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