“Impossification” might sound like a silly made up word, but it’s the backbone of everything you do in Park Beyond. It’s a theme park builder with some big ideas, not least of which is the concept of making things no one has ever seen before. It almost nails it, too, but innovation is a tough quarry to catch in this particular genre.
Park Beyond never makes much sense in the context of the real world, so don’t worry too much about this being some hyper realistic sim. It begins with you tossing a paper aeroplane out of your bedroom window that just happens to hit a young lass jetpacking over the city. She works for Park Beyond, and the ride you sketched on said paper plane lead to her auditioning you for a job by having you build a rollercoaster in the city. It makes absolutely no sense, but it’s a decent tutorial.
It’s a weird one though, since rollercoasters take up much less of your actual time in the game than, say, making sure park visitors can reach a toilet in time. Because once you start actually working for the company, your biggest concern is raising a currency called “Amazement”, and rollercoasters just don’t seem to cut the mustard. They also cost a lot, take ages to build, rarely turn a profit, and are just kind of “meh” altogether. See you’ll always begin in a place fairly packed with landscape features and adjusting the terrain always feels like busy work. Because even laying paths can be weirdly awkward (they have a tendency to bend how they want like those plastic snake toys you had as a kid), a lot of the time I found myself just making do.
See, every ride must have a queue path and an exit path, which must sometimes account for inclines and raised areas. This can often cause a problem because if people have to queue for too long without a toilet, food shop, or bench to squat on they’ll get fussy and your overall happiness rating will drop. In order to raise Amazement you need to keep the park fun, so that people can go ride to ride quickly, stuffing their faces with junk food and sweets on the way, or stop to puke in a convenient bin whenever they need to.
Of course, this means hiring entertainers, handy people, cleaners. Luckily your visitors tend to be pretty docile folk who never kick off; they just sulk and leave in a huff, and your overall positive ratings drop. You’ll unlock Modules as you raise your park’s level, which include extra themes for your rides and shops, or they’ll unlock new rides altogether. And when you have enough Amazement, you can impossify a ride, shop, rollercoaster, even a member of staff. This raises the effective level of the target, and allows you to generally charge more money per ticket.
Having a giant octopus ride that submerges the guests is great, but if you’re not turning a profit you may eventually start to struggle. There’s not much micromanagement here, though. Yes, you can adjust the prices of everything up to the toilets, and the individual items in the shops, but I never really struggled to make money. Individual rides, like the aforementioned coasters, don’t always turn a profit, but Park Beyond is more focused on having fun. Even when you’re introduced to your big rival, you won’t really feel the stress of competition; the name of the game is fun and, of course, impossification.
Weirdly, you have tons of decorative items unlocked from the start. Fountains, signs, lights, statues, trees, flower beds and various things like giant Rubik’s Cubes or prop vehicles are all available, but they’re purely cosmetic. Putting them all over the park can improve it visually for your benefit, but does nothing for the actual park so it’s not worth the effort unless you’re really into it.
Your board of directors in Park Beyond will throw in some challenges along the way, which you can find by mousing over the little red icons in the park. Annoyingly you can’t build on them or remove the icons, as they exist as physical things in the world even when you’ve beat the challenge. The board will also meet with you at the start of every “mission” to discuss the direction you want to take the park in. Izzy is concerned with money, eccentric millionaire Phil wants to have fun, engineer Sophia just wants you to challenge her. You don’t have to appease any of them if you don’t want to, as your focus will be on specific demographics.
Your visitors come in three categories: adults, teens, and families. You can zoom right into them (even body-jumping so you I can experience the park in hands-off first person), and this will help you understand whether they’re enjoying themselves, which rides they enjoyed, and how amazed they’ve been. It’s all much simpler than it sounds, and although you can get into the nitty gritty of what you pay your it staff and how much you charge for a candy apple, I rarely had to worry too much about it. If people get fussy, they usually just want more bins and services. Completing challenges is the biggest, well, challenge, but you usually have a few to aim for and can skip some of the tougher ones if you want to.
Park Beyond looks and sounds pretty good. I like getting down to ground level among the music and bustle, and it can be fun to ride your own rollercoasters, especially if you get creative and have them weave between your rides and landmarks like canyons and natural rock bridges. It’s a nice, accessible, mostly stress-free park building experience that may lack a bit of meat on its bones for fans of things like Rollercoaster Tycoon, but it’s a great way to kill a few hours nonetheless.
Building rollercoasters can be fiddly
Doesn't really raise the bar