Developer: Washbear Studio
Publisher: Washbear Studio
Genre: Management Simulator
Available on: PC
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: www.parkasaurusgame.com
Release Date: August 13, 2020
Where To Buy: Steam Store
When thinking of management simulators, a few games come to mind. Two Point Hospital, Cities: Skylines, and possibly even RimWorld are all great for not only their depth but also their charm. They’re the best entries to the genre as of late, and their influence is felt extensively. One such game that follows in their footsteps is Parkasaurus, a prehistoric park-builder where you manage various dinos and park goers. With many hours clocked into its adorable title, is it as grand as it sets out to be?
Parkasaurus’ Adorable Atmosphere
If there’s one thing Parkasaurus does exceptionally well in, it’s the art style. It’s a simplistic look for sure, offering not as much shading as expected from other styles like it. Despite that, the game uses that simplicity to great effect, fitting the tone perfectly. All of the dinosaurs look hilariously cute (especially with hats), and the park is pleasing to look at thanks to a simple color palette. I have to applaud the artists that worked on the game, as it’s hard to make something appealing to the eye while remaining simplistic.
This well-drawn art style is complemented by good sound design and music. Each of the sounds feels silly yet right at home in Parkasaurus. What kids wouldn’t be saying “Woah!” when they see a massive dinosaur? The only issue with it is in its repetitiveness, as hearing that “Woah!” many times over gets tiring quickly. If there was a lot more variety in these sounds, I feel hearing that every once in a while wouldn’t be so bad. Thankfully, the soundtrack doesn’t get as repetitive. Instead, there’s a wide variety of tracks all filled with the atmosphere that the previous two areas built up. Not a moment passes where the soundtrack gets repetitive. Instead, it fills me with joy and gives me the desire to continue playing.
Depth in Some Areas, Lack in Others
A management simulator all lies in its depth though, and thankfully Washbear Studio does a great job of this with Parkasaurus’ exhibit customization. Managing dino exhibits all takes critical thinking and planning. Which trees work best for which biomes? How should I consider placing water? Where should I raise the ground to create mountains or hills? While this can easily be completed by spamming decorations and hills, it’s more fun to give these decorations thought and planning. With a decent selection of decorations too, there some room to work with. I have to admit though, some more rock variety would be nice. With such limited options there, it harms the joys of creativity and careful placement.
The same can’t be said for guests though unfortunately. There’s a lot of things to consider when meeting their individual needs, but meeting these needs forces you to get very basic with strategies. For example, meeting the decoration needs of the park requires enough decorations on parts of the pathways. While this would normally be great, the way this system works and the limited decoration options take away much of the creative options. There’s little wiggle room in Parkasaurus for decoration depth, which in a game like this is very apparent. It’s a big contrast between exhibit and park decorations, making for an inconsistent experience.
Parkasaurus’ Many Inconsistencies
Not helping these issues is an inconsistent and mediocre Campaign mode for Parkasaurus. While one or two of the missions provide freedom to the player, the other 12 are a complete mess. One one hand, several of those are tutorial levels. I wouldn’t be upset about that if they were early in the Campaign but they show up all over the place, including near the end. For nearly every other level, objectives are given to you on a silver platter. I can count the number of objectives I had to work for on a single hand which, with how many objectives there are, is sad. To top it all off, there’s a lot of repetitive objectives that make the experience less special. It’s a mess, which I’m surprised hasn’t been addressed this long after launch.
Speaking of inconsistencies, Parkasaurus’ polish doesn’t do the game any favors. While bugs don’t affect gameplay much, the visual bugs aren’t saved by hilarity. Most of the time it involves people clipping with the terrain, the terrain itself being glitchy, and some other minor issues. This isn’t irritating, but it isn’t a sign of a great product either. The game’s systems not being polished hurt progress though. To give an example, one common objective is to make your dinos happy. This would be a worthwhile challenge if going to a new day didn’t automatically make them as happy as possible. This hurts your experience with the Campaign mode, which as aforementioned wasn’t great, to begin with.
Thankfully this is at least in part salvaged by Parkasaurus’ Freeplay mode. For those who can get around the need for objectives, the game’s depth works hand in hand with the options of Freeplay. You can change much of the money related problems, while terrain tools take care of the rest. It’s a sandbox that, while less popular among most, exemplifies what the game is best at. If I didn’t need something to lead me to the next step, I’d spend more time with it as it seems it can be a lot of fun.
Verdict: Parkasaurus is a management simulator that creates something equally in-depth and adorable. Its atmosphere has a lot of charm to it, filling you with joy in every moment. There’s also a good amount of depth in gameplay, leaving players with a lot to work with. What it suffers from primarily is inconsistency both in the Campaign mode and in polish. It could use a lot more work, which I feel a few more months of testing and polishing would’ve fixed. Regardless, management sim fans will likely find something to love playing Parkasaurus, especially at a low price point.
- Simplistic yet pleasing visuals
- Solid soundtrack
- Good sound design
- Freeplay mode is a plus
- Inconsistent Campaign mode
- Polish issues
- Poor decoration depth