Water Park Tycoon
A while back I reviewed “Camping Manager 2012” and had a decent time with it. You were tasked with building a successful camping area for visitors and would-be vacationers. It was a bit limiting however and didn’t offer a lot in terms of content. It also frustrated me from time to time, but gave just as much as it took. “Water Park Tycoon”, also published by Excalibur Publishing, feels almost exactly it. In this case however, you’ll be in charge of turning a profit by constructing a water park. Think “Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Soaked!” but a bit more simplified. Before I go any further, I’d like to quickly thank Richard Barclay from Excalibur Publishing Limited for providing me with a free press copy.
The main menu is pretty standard in that you’ll have both missions and a free play mode available. It’s worth noting however that some of the items in free play mode are locked until you complete particular missions. The options menu touches on the basics like screen resolution, audio volumes, and miscellaneous graphic toggles like shadows. The game folder itself includes an instruction manual that you may want to review before jumping into things, as a lot of what is covered there isn’t covered in-game. The controls for rotating a building for example (shift + mouse wheel), don’t appear to be covered in the game’s tutorial. Speaking for which, the tutorial does a decent job in getting you familiar with the structures, so check it out first thing if you have the time.
Unfortunately, the number of structures in this game are simply not that impressive. On average, there are about five to ten structures per category, of which there are six. The slide menu has a whopping five options while only three pool depths/options are available. The category that offers the most, ironically, are your decorations like trees and trash bins. Needless to say I was a but disappointed when I discovered that after five minutes of playing in free mode, I had seen everything there was to see. I also didn’t like that the game doesn’t include time controls. “P” will pause the game, but there’s no fast forward button. This can be problematic while you’re waiting on funds to build more stuff. Lastly, there isn’t a way to customize your starting cash in free play mode and you’ll quickly run out while attempting to start things up.
On the other hand, I think the graphics and overall ambiance is well done. There is only one park setting and theme available, but I did enjoy zooming in and watching my park guests have at it. Like “Zoo Tycoon”, park guests will reward you with emote bubbles to let you know how they are doing. Clicking on a guest will allow you access to their thoughts so you can see what they liked (and didn’t like) about your park. The music has a Caribbean feel, but quickly gets repetitive after a few minutes. On the plus side, constructing a pool is very easy and there are even handles that let you shape the pool before committing to its construction. This is a welcome upgrade from the above mentioned “Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Soaked!”…though to be fair, that game is nearly ten years old.
In the end, “Water Park Tycoon” is an enjoyable but short-lived romp in the park. Don’t expect a hefty simulator here…it’s more of a “I’ve got a few minutes to burn” kind of game that you can come back to as time permits. If you’re looking for a deeper park simulator, check out “Roller Coaster Tycoon 3” and its expansions. The ambiance and theme really shine here, though the lack of content is very difficult to ignore. With that said, the retail price of ten British Pounds (about sixteen US dollars) helps to compensate for this. It’s not the best simulator out there, but it’s decent enough to get a passing grade (barely).
Final Verdict: 5/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Water Park Tycoon” by visiting the following websites: