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Park Beyond shows RollerCoaster Tycoon the sky isn’t the limit

I recently got to sit down with Limbic Entertainment's upcoming simulation game, Park Beyond, and the coaster-obsessed child within me was overjoyed.

A park attendant wearing a purple suit coat and tie standing in front of themed rides and roller coasters

There are a few things out there that really get my one remaining brain cell rattling around. One of those is the simulation game genre – I just want to control people’s lives, demolish houses, take care of animals, and build my own theme parks and zoos. Is that so wrong? I lost my mind when Limbic Entertainment and Bandai Namco announced Park Beyond, an upcoming theme park management game. All of my childhood RollerCoaster Tycoon memories came flooding back into that one brain cell, along with newer experiences on Planet Coaster.

Something was different about this one, though. It offered the same management I had always been fond of, as well a core campaign story. What Park Beyond is doing differently, though, is defying the laws of physics. Remember those 2008 RollerCoaster Tycoon videos? Yeah, those. The royalty-free music and killer coasters that would send unaware riders to their deaths. I saw Park Beyond and was immediately transported to my eight-year-old self, sitting at the desk watching videos titled “REAL ROLLER COASTER ACCIDENT!1!” shamelessly.

Could Park Beyond fulfill all of my strange childhood desires? Could I finally build the most ridiculously dangerous amusement park rides and actually have them work properly? When I went to London’s recent Comic Con, I got to sit down and preview Park Beyond. As all simulation game lovers do, I immediately noped out of the story mode and went straight into the sandbox. While the campaign probably has some good depth to it, I was there to build freely – and nothing could stop me.

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I could tell right away that Park Beyond was less of a Planet Coaster clone and more of an ode to that old RollerCoaster Tycoon I mentioned. Sure, I had to set certain realistic expectations. For instance, you can make your roller coasters as high, steep, and twisty as you want in Park Beyond, but the ride itself won’t work properly if you don’t set it up correctly. A good example is a large track I built leading upwards, which I immediately tried to make taper off into a sudden drop. Needless to say, the coaster’s cars went flying off and crashed into oblivion.

However, gravity itself is not always important in Park Beyond. Gravity is many things in the real world. Helpful, important, but also seriously annoying. Gravity is the weight of my body crashing against the pavement as I misplace my own steps. Gravity is the crystalline spread of my expensive glass as it meets the floor below. It is the sound of rain crashing continuously against my windowpane on the one day I have off. It is the beginning of the end for many things, whether they be a fragile, beloved object or a necessary bone in a body.

What gravity is not, though, is necessary to my gameplay enjoyment. I want to push the universe to its limits, breaking the boundaries known to man so my theme park is not only appealing to the most extreme thrill-seekers but also quite literally impossible. I love the blend that Park Beyond offers of gravity-defying ridiculousness with some realism during construction. Freedom while exploring the game’s mechanics was central to my own experience, and central to Park Beyond’s goal in general.

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The game aims to let us make the amusement park of our childhood dreams, and I can definitely say it does just that. While I did feel that customization fell a bit short at times and paths were sometimes annoying, the latter could possibly be due to my aforementioned issue of having just one working brain cell. Adding decorations to buildings and giving each area of my park a clear theme were very important to me. I felt kind of like I was playing Planet Coaster or Zoo when I was attaching giant fruit to the sides of buildings, and that is certainly not a complaint.

Hiring workers is also really simple, as is keeping track of customers’ wants or needs. I really like that you can evolve your park to fit the tastes of different park-goers. Most importantly, though, I really like sticking people in rides I have opened up in the knowledge that they are 100% unsafe. Buckle up your seatbelts and get ready to perish, because not even I am sure the car will land safely on the other side of its track.

Who needs gravity, who needs physics, and who needs safety? Give me danger, give me fun, and give me freedom. I can gladly say Park Beyond has met all of my expectations so far, and I cannot wait to send tourists soaring through the air once again. If you are just as enthusiastic about creativity as I am, you can browse through some other great building games while waiting for Park Beyond. There are also some good city-building games out there if you enjoy that niche.