Theme Park Reader Review
Theme Park; often considered one of the finest simulation games ever, and was the real source of gaming that led us into the massive array of 'Theme' games (most notoriously Theme Hospital, which is still popular today with many 'Theme' fans). But could this wonderfully classic game work on a modern handheld- The stylus touch screen controls of the DS are simply asking for smaller versions of PC games such as this to be converted down into our palms. Thanks to the guys at EA, we were provided this. But how good of a job did they do?
This is a retro-based game, considering Theme Park itself is a 15 year old game, so the graphics aren't going to be mindblowing. That said, those who loved the original will no doubt love how this is set up. EA have kept the old style graphics that came with the original Theme Park and brought them to the DS without making them look dated. They look colourful, cheerful, and easy on the eye, and it helps make the game even better. Of course, you've got the menus, and advisor characters that help you with news and whatnot (Think the little Doctor in Theme Hospital that keeps popping up) which all look very simple but effective, and it adds to the game; it's simply, but it works immensely well. A nice little feature is that the look of the shops changes depending on what part of the world your Park is in, whether it be the London tea of England or the French fries of the US. Nice.
Ahhh the sounds of Theme Park. Right, I'll say it now for you original fans; the 'circus' song that played repetitivly is NO MORE. Now we have 5 choices of repetitive songs, heh. But they're nothing to be worried - they're cheery and not that annoying, and they all have different styles of music so it's no bother. However, just because this is an update doesn't mean all is lost hell, the majority of sounds you heard form the original are here. Yes, the BGM sounds as you choose stuff and the Ghost Train music as well as the other rides separate music are all here, so don't fret. Obviously they all sound a lot better on the DS's sound system too, which is more than a plus.
Perfect. That's how I consider it in one word. VERY easy to navigate, the menu provides no bother, and it's not even a simple case of simply clicking what you want with the stylus. Hell, you circle around your choices, which is very helpful incase you accidentally chose the wrong item, ride or shop, so it's more than set up brilliantly. The controls in game are no bother too; you can move the camera about with the directional buttons whilst you choose what you want to do with your stylus, whether it be laying paths, looking at people's data individually or changing the price rides, speed, etc. The great thing is that the top screen is a 'Data screen', if you will; it'll show all the data of a ride or shop, and with a simple button on-screen at the bottom, it'll flipped down to the bottom screen for your customization needs. it sounds very simple but it is a massive help, trust me. So yeah, full credit to EA there for providing a wonderful job.
Right, Gameplay to me is the most important aspect of the game. Have EA ruined what Bullfrog made, or have they continued their genius from 15 years ago? Well, I can safely say they've continued it and made it as appealing as it ever was, luckily. The basis is the same; you make a park, you lay the rides down, the patch, the shops, make sure everything is fine and is working, and even stuff like finances, stock in shops, ticket prices, and so much more, it's all here. The great thing is how there are 3 difficulty modes, if hidden a bit. You have Sandbox mode, the easiest mode on the game, where you simply control your park's rides and shops, and whatnot, making it a must for beginners. Next you can have Sim mode, which makes it a bit more difficult, with finances more rampant in your mind, and more to keep aware of. Finally, we have Full mode, which involves everything in park running. This includes stock of food, research, stock markets, staff contract negotiations, and so much more. It may sound tedious but it really brings you into the game and does what it's meant to do; make it seem like it's your park under your control. Of course, you still have an Easy, medium, and Hard setting to change, but those are the 3 modes of the game to choose from, depending on how much work you want to do. These all involve working your way around the world at different Theme Parks on a world map which will become unlocked as you get through the game, so there is plenty to do here. It can be very hard at times but boy is it rewarding.
So yeah, Theme Park DS. Want a quick summary? Handheld simulation at it's best. Loved the original? You'll love this. Love simulation games? You'll love this. Love a challenge? Boy, you'll love this. I hope you consider it from this review because it is more than worth it. Thanks for your time.
9 / 10