Become the Next Disney With Theme Park

I’ve been a fan of the Theme Park franchise for as long as I can remember, and spent many a day in my youth sat in front of a computer screen designing the ultimate amusement park. Happily, I’m getting a chance to re-live those halcyon years (albeit on a smaller screen) as Theme Park is back once again, but this time in freemium form on iOS.

For the uninitiated, Theme Park is a construction and management simulation game in which you create and run your very own theme park. Purchase rides, replenish stock and manage a team of staff, all while trying to keep your customers happy and make as much money as possible. Find out more after the jump.

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Getting Started

Developed by video game giant Electronic Arts, Theme Park launches with an in-depth tutorial, guiding you through the creation process step by step. Unfortunately, the ability to build from scratch is not an option in this latest offering, with a pre-existing park ready and waiting at your disposal. Simply add an attraction or two and you’ll be up and running in no time, but where’s the fun in that?

I don’t know about you, but for me, the best part of playing the original game was creating a theme park from the ground up, and I’m struggling to understand why the developer would choose to exclude such a key feature.

Super Tickets

As you will soon discover, Super Tickets are an integral part of playing the game, and are required to purchase just about everything you’ll need in order to run a successful business.

Super Tickets have many uses.

Super Tickets have many uses.

Acquired by meeting specific goals or advancing a level, the tickets themselves can take quite a while to build up, although more can be bought via an in-app purchase with prices varying from $2.99 for 70 Super Tickets to a staggering $99.99 for 2,000. Super Tickets can also be earned for free by linking the app to your Facebook account or through visiting affiliate websites.

Another Day, Another Dollar

In addition to Super Tickets, money and experience points (XP) are also needed to progress further in the game. These can be earned through building rides and shops, as well as by emptying the garbage or helping to maintain friends’ parks.

I've never been so happy to see a pool of vomit!

I’ve never been so happy to see a pool of vomit!

Cleaning up pools of vomit will also earn you some extra cash. Customers are sick fairly often so mopping up puke can be a great little money maker.

Like Super Tickets, money is also available to buy via an in-app purchase with a similar pricing structure.

The Ride of Your Life

Theme Park features a whole host of rides, ranging from the humble Bouncy Castle to the slightly more formidable Taste of Hades coaster. Building an attraction can be costly, however, often requiring a combination of Super Tickets, XP and cash.

Construction time varies from ride to ride, and can be speeded up with the use of Super Tickets — if you have any left, that is! Once a ride has been built, it will begin generating money and XP which will need collecting regularly. This is achievable by tapping the dollar sign above the ride.

Collecting money and XP.

Collecting money and XP.

Upgraded rides will draw in a bigger crowd, and a bigger crowd equals even more cash. Luckily, upgrades are relatively inexpensive, although you will experience some downtime while the upgrade is in progress.

All rides can be manually controlled by moving your finger to the motion of the ride. Doing this will increase the customers satisfaction level and encourage them to spend more money. Go too fast, however, and your guests will vomit all over your park. Nice!

Shop ‘Til You Drop

It wouldn’t be a theme park without a multitude of crowded, overpriced shops, and these are indeed on-hand in the form of an ice cream parlor, fast food restaurant, coffee house and more.

Adding a shop to your park.

Adding a shop to your park.

All shops need restocking regularly throughout the day, which will ensure a steady flow of cash and XP. Like rides, shops can also be upgraded to run more efficiently, but again, this will cost money and incur some downtime.

Hiring and Firing

Behind every successful theme park is a team of dedicated staff. To hire a member of the staff, visit the park headquarters where you will find a number of individuals ready to begin a hard day’s work, such as Some Hipster Named Duane and a Wise Old Lady.

Hiring a new team member will cost a number of Super Tickets, which, by the time I’d actually finished designing my park, I’d completely run out of. Oops.

Expanding Your Business

The park itself may be extended by building a medium sized ride. This will open up a road block, allowing you to build on previously inaccessible land. Well, kind of. Before you can add an attraction to your brand spankin’ new plot, a theme must be purchased, and trust me, they most certainly aren’t cheap.

Purchasing an expensive new theme.

Purchasing an expensive new theme.

Super Happy Land, Theme Park’s most affordable theme, will set you back $10,000, while Candy Theme is priced at an eye watering $25,000. Additional themes can also be unlocked using Super Tickets.

A For Effort

Your park will be issued with a grade based on its popularity and cleanliness, which can fluctuate throughout the day. Tap the grade to receive suggestions on how to improve the park, such as empty the trash or build more rides. Maintaining a higher grade will grant you a bonus on all of your earnings.

The Verdict

Theme Park is an addictive and engrossing game that has clearly stood the test of time. However, longtime fans of the franchise may find this iOS port somewhat bittersweet due to its lack of design capability and expensive add-ons.

Still, this cannot detract from the fact that judged on its own merits, and taking into account those gorgeous graphics and crossover appeal, I think it’s safe to say that Theme Park still has a lot to offer almost 20 years after it was first released.


Summary

Create and run your very own theme park.

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