Ski Park Tycoon
Back in the day (when the wheel was just being invented), I came across a PC game by the name of Roller Coaster Tycoon that had me so hooked that I was designing new coasters in my sleep. Tycoon games can be an excellent way to flex your creative muscles a bit, allowing you to run things how you’d like to see what happens. Ski Park Tycoon (not to be confused with Ski Resort Tycoon) recently made its way onto Steam’s Greenlight and I was excited at the prospect of giving it a go. To that end, I’d like to thank Jan Zizka (the game’s creator) for sending me a free review copy.
After booting up the game, you’ll have a few options. You can participate in a campaign, adjust a few game options, view an in-game manual, create a profile, access your standard save/load menu, and see the credits. The game boasts a sandbox mode which isn’t visible right away, it’s important to note that you’ll only be able to access it after reaching a certain point in the campaign. I personally would have appreciated having access to the sandbox mode from the start as I often head straight to it as opposed to playing the campaign. The game’s options cover your basics, but being able to adjust screen resolution, among other things, would have been welcome.
The campaign does a nice job in guiding you through a series of tutorials, including videos on how to complete your objectives. As you complete objectives, you’ll head back to the campaign menu to try out the next mission. The missions are laid out in such a way that it introduces you to each feature, one at a time. For example, one mission shows you how to create a slope while another teaches you about how to place cots for your skiers.
The interface itself is a mixed bag. First, let me applaud the game for having such a detailed statistics menu, which allows you to see almost every aspect of your ski park business. You can see information about your park, ratings, buildings, lifts, finance, marketing… basically everything you’ll need to stay on top of things. Those interested in the numbers in games like this will spend quite a bit of time there. With that said, there’s a few things I take issue with. Some of the menus in the game are not resizable, in fact the in-game manual is the only thing I could adjust. On occasion, some of these menus would shrink and cut off parts of what I needed to see. The buildings on the ground can be picky about where you click to activate their menus, which can be frustrating. The campaign level selection screen could be a bit more organized, though this could be my OCD talking.
The game does have a free ride mode, allowing you to take direct control of your avatar and explore the environment. This is a nice touch, though it isn’t a complete experience by any means. For example, I sent my avatar through two ski lifts and a building (because I could) and clipped right through them as if they weren’t there. Without some sort of physics at play, I saw no real reason to engage in free ride mode.
You’ll have access to quite a few buildings and options when it comes time to actually piece your park together. I like that I have direct control over the slopes I create, which is a simple matter of clicking on top of the ski lift and creating a slope down the lift at the bottom of the hill. Think of your slopes as roads that connect one house or neighborhood to another…you’ll need them so that your riders don’t complain. Slopes also become color-coded depending on how difficult they are, attracting different skiers to different areas of your park.
You’ll also have to see to the needs of your skiers. You’ll have access to buildings like hospitals, stalls, restaurants, parking, kiosks, and etc. to help give your skiers an experience they won’t forget. The price of your facilities is also a determining factor…set prices too high, and they’ll find another park to ski at. Snow cannons are available for areas that don’t have snow already, which is a nice touch.
Overall, Ski Park Tycoon isn’t a bad game, but it could definitely use some polish. In its current state, I couldn’t recommend it to casual gamers as the interface, in my opinion, isn’t user-friendly enough to draw them in. As such, I could only recommend this game to those who are hardcore simulator fans and plan to stick with it for a while to learn its ins and outs. Personally, I was too frustrated with the controls and interface to actually have a good time playing it. That’s not to say that “Ski Park Tycoon” doesn’t offer a lot, but in order for it to be appeal to players of all kinds, it’s going to need a little more work. The game is only $12.99 (as of 10/27/12), so there is that to consider too. The game offers a playable demo on the website I linked below, I recommend trying that out first to see if this is a game that you will enjoy playing.
Final Verdict: 3/10
You can support this game’s journey onto Steam by visiting its Greenlight page, located here:
You can view more information about “Ski Park Tycoon” by visiting the official website, located here: