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New games: Parkasaurus is a googly-eyed look back in time

“Nothing has ever gone wrong in a dinosaur park,” one of my staffers informs me as I make my way through the Parkasaurus orientation materials. Right, nothing to worry about: we’re just putting dinosaurs into exhibits for tourists to look at, what possible precedent is there for that going disastrously awry?

In fairness, Michael Crichton’s dinosaurs weren’t this darn adorable. Parkasaurus is a tycoon-style building game that might have a lot in common with Jurassic Park on paper, but in practice, how could you be afraid of these gentle, doe-eyed beasts? They happily lope around their enclosures, looking like huggable plasticine creations more than unstoppable killing machines.

Parkasaurus is a bit of a throwback to the days of fixed isometric perspectives. At a glance, it seems kind of light-weight by comparison, but there’s a fully-featured tycoon game going on just under the hood. Each dinosaur you place has particular needs, and these extend beyond just food. You’ll have to fine-tune each exhibit, tweaking the biodiversity by planting trees and adding water for maximum sauropod happiness.

There’s the usual theme park management stuff too, like mapping out paths, building facilities for guests and staff, and watching your income. For fans of charts, it has tons of charts, and you can look at data with a surprisingly powerful set of graphing tools.

Here’s the trailer. Again, it’s really hard to get over how cute the whole presentation is.

Did I mention you can have the dinosaurs wear hats? Because you can.

Parkasaurus is the first game from a studio by the name of WashBear, and it’s opening up for early access on Steam September 25.

Don’t forget to check out our list of the best new games of 2018 for more on what you should be playing this year.