A Delightful Dinosaur Park Business Simulator – with Goofy Hats
A cadre of super-intelligent dinosaurs has crash-landed onto modern-day earth and they are intent on doing one thing – helping you open and manage a fantastically fresh dinosaur utopia in the form of a Zoo. Get ready for tycoon-style hijinks and cartoon dinos with silly hats – this is Parkasaurus.
Get ready for tycoon-style hijinks and cartoon dinos with silly hats
The premise of Parkasaurus is simple enough – build and maintain a dinosaur zoo (meaning a zoo with dinosaurs as the exhibits, not run by dinosaurs… kinda) with a variety of attractions that keep folks coming in through the gates. This is done by crafting unique dinosaur exhibits with a variety of biomes, each overarching category of environment (forest, mud, and desert – as of now) can be transformed into a specific subcategory based on how much water or mountainous terrain is added to that specific exhibit. For example, take a forest exhibit and add a ton of water and you’ll make a rainforest exhibit – perfect for your first Stegosaurus. Additionally, the user is able to add a variety of plant and geological features to exhibits – in the form of rocks, bushes, or trees. This gives players a decent amount of faculty when creating their own dinosaur exhibits and no two will be exactly the same.
Outside of the exhibit crafting, the player is required to manage everything else that goes along with running a dinosaur park – hiring/firing employees, time-traveling to find fossilized bits to get new dinosaurs, park maintenance, technological research and managing your dinosaurs’ mood. So there is a fair bit of management gameplay beneath the colorful low-poly exterior. The visitor mood management reminds me a bit of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series from a while back – including the visitor’s short thoughts in the form of “tweet-like” review blurbs.
While we wrote this review Parkasaurus is still in early access. The sandbox features of the game – along with the initial elements of a single-player campaign – currently exist. The team at Washbear Studios is great at providing updates and continuing through the process of building a great game with player feedback. We look forward to the continuing evolution of the game as time goes on!
Dinotopia – A Charming Dinosaur filled World
Below are our favorite elements of the world of Parkasaurus – from its simple and joyful art direction to its cartoon vector interface and managers office – Parkasaurus has built a world worth remembering.
The simple low-polygonal art assets really help accentuate the sense of whimsy that the overall game has in spades. The art assets for the individual park elements – from the vendors to the aesthetic decorative elements – are all created in the same elegant low-poly art style. While the design feels effortless – there is complexity in the simplicity – since this is a business management sandbox, players can take those elements and arrange them in any way they seem fit. Making assets that can be brought together in a cohesive way in any combination and still look good is a challenge unto itself, but the art direction of Parkasaurus makes it possible.
Interface & Menu Design
Continuing with the theme of great art direction, the interface design for Parkasaurus also showcases the character and feel of this game excellently. While the standard in-game interface is nothing out of the ordinary (besides excellent vector iconography), the business management menu that takes place in the interior of a zoo’s general manager office is fantastic. The vector art assets allow a player to click on bits of the office related to the business function to do the management tasks that need to get done. Need to hire a new janitor? The manilla folder on the desk with resumes is where to look. Click the laptop to open up the park details and data to make your management decisions and use the chart on the back wall to check-up on your dino’s health. It just reminds me of a general manager’s office you’ve seen in a trailer at a zoo or amusement park (but with the added benefit of being able to see a dinosaur out the back window).
The town continues the use of awesome vector artwork, building unique interiors and environments for each store. These “menus” really help add to the character and feel of the world.
Tone & Feel
Remember when games were just fun for the sake of being fun and not focused on adult themes and gritty realism with dark overtones? Well, Parkasaurus doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the fun of doing what every kid wanted to do after seeing the trailer for Jurassic Park – build an awesome dinosaur park. Sure there are management elements to add to the challenge, but the overall tone of the game is full of goofy wonderment – like the challenge requiring you to sell a number of hot dogs (or should I say dino dogs?) because a mishap in the teleporter room brought you to a future that is only hot dogs.
A business management sim that definitely doesn’t take itself to seriously.
And we haven’t even mentioned the silly hats and toys for your dinos. As you build your park you’re sure to unlock some of these features – like some rave shades for your t-rex or a propeller beanie for your stegosaurus. Add these wonderful accessories to the already goofy animations and googly-eyes of your dinosaurs and you end up with a business management sim that definitely doesn’t take itself to seriously.
Overall, Parkasaurus provides a pared-back business management experience with a variety of customization options so that each dinopark feels unique. The campaign is currently under construction (its in early access), so it doesn’t provide a strong narrative experience as-to why a dinopark needs to get made (other than “the world is a better place with more dinoparks in it”), however the character and joyfulness in the presentation of this dinosaur zoo business sim elevates it beyond some of its more soulless corporate contemporary peers (lookin’ at you Jurassic World) and has earned it a place on the Indieology shelves.
So put on your work boots because this dinosaur park isn’t going to manage itself.
Game Title: Parkasaurus
Game’s Website: www.parkasaurusgame.com
Game’s Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkasaurus
Game Release Date: (Early Access) September 2018
Developer: Washbear Studios
Developer’s Website: www.washbearstudio.com
Publisher: Washbear Studios
Publisher’s Website: www.washbearstudio.com