|Publisher: Feral Interactive Genre: Simulation|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz RAM: 64 MB Hard Disk: 150 MB|
Uh-oh, people are vomiting all over the park, the coasters are just TOO SCAREY! Oh well, at least the money is rolling in hand over fist. In Feral’s SimTheme Park players take control of every aspect of running a theme park. However, is running a theme park as fun as a 4 loop roller coaster? Or is it as painful as listening to J. Lo’s latest album while riding a merry-go-round? Over the course of the next few, cotton candy, sideshow filled paragraphs, we’ll find out.
GameplayIn SimTheme Park players take a top down, birds eye view of their thrill rides and sideshows. As CEO of one of four theme parks, Lost Kingdom, Halloween World, Space Zone & Land of Wonders, your job is to keep your lovely park full of giddy visitors and stocked with cash. So, how does one meet these goals? Big rides, over priced food, games that rip people off without their knowing it and lots of careful management. Wow, it IS just like a running a theme park. SimTheme Park has a clean, mouse driven user interface. It’s quite reminiscent of the Sims. One simply has to click on the item to be built, whether it be a ride, shop or sideshow and place it in the park. No fuss, no muss.
As your park flourishes things can get a tad confusing, thus SimTheme Park includes a helpful animated character called the “Advisor”. The Advisor tells you when you’re running your park into the ground and offers various suggestions on how to remedy the situation. Of course, for those who want to live in the Matrix and believe that ignorance is bliss, turning off the Advisor is quite simple.
Let’s talk roller coasters for a bit. SimTheme Park’s most compelling feature is the ability to build custom roller coasters. As a park progresses, players are given the option to design & build roller coasters. As long as the player has money in the bank and a decent imagination, just about anything is possible. Want to build a coaster with 8 loops and a 700’ drop? Go for it, see what happens! Then, when construction is complete, publish your coaster online and let other players ride your masterpiece.
Another one of SimTheme Park’s enjoyable features is the ability for players to ride their rides. Now, this feature may not seem too interesting when all your park has is a pre-made kiddie slide and a balloon stand, but once you’ve built your first 12 loop, Super Death Coaster 6000… Oh baby, that’s sweet sweet gaming! I personally enjoy turning out the lights, sitting in front of my Cinema Display and riding one of my monster coasters. It’s pretty freakin’ immersive and FAR less expensive than a weekend at Six Flags with the fam. Sure, the Cinema Display is by no means inexpensive, but does it REALLY compare to the price of food at Six Flags? I think not!
Aside from SimTheme Park’s clean interface, fun rides and helpful Advisor, the game does have its flaws. Employees are crucial to a player’s theme park, therefore managing them is critical to maintaining a successful business. Here’s where things get messy. Whenever a new employee is hired, be it janitor or security guard, the player has to individually click on the employee wherever they’re running around in the park and set their “Patrol Area”. If a Patrol Area is not set, the employee will wander aimlessly, doing a very half-assed job. Now, some folks might find this sort of micromanagement to be challenging. However, I find such a task to be horribly tedious and annoying. A nice “Auto Patrol” feature would have been just lovely. Ah well, perfection is a tricky and at times impossible state of being.