Park Beyond preview – Who knew park builders could be so intense?

The simulation genre has been one of the most difficult genres for me to catch onto, particularly those that rely on creativity. I will be the first to admit that I’m not the most creative individual – my Minecraft houses are all square and made of oak planks, okay – but that doesn’t stop me from trying to branch out and to keep trying to find the one that sticks. Well, recently we got to go hands-on with a preview build of an upcoming theme park builder, Park Beyond, and I may have finally found the one.

Park Beyond is amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic. You can create the park of your dreams, making it as zany as you like, without being held back by that pesky force called gravity. The sky is truly the limit with what you can build and create. In this build, we were able to play through the first few missions of the campaign as well as the Sandbox Mode, which gave us a pretty good look at what’s in store for fans of the genre.

The first mission throws you right into it, having you build a roller coaster from the fire escape of your apartment. Playing through this mission will get you acquainted with the controls of the game. With the help of Blaze, the eccentric mechanic, you learn the basics of coaster building as you navigate through the city. You learn about the different types of rails that can be placed, the functions they serve, and how to set the elevation of the track, and you even get to experiment a little with adding… less conventional means of navigating obstacles, like adding a cannon to the track to shoot the railcar across a large gap.

Park Beyond Preview - Level 2 [Gaming Trend]

After completing the first mission, we move onto mission two which introduces you to park management. Here you’ll have your first pitch meeting about your vision for a new park hidden deep within the forest. Getting acquainted with the mechanics that make your park a success is key. In this mission, you’ll manage everything from placing the right rides and buildings, to managing your employees (including hiring new staff and assigning tasks), to catering to the target demographic. Decisions you make go all the way down to what you want your park’s shops to serve, ticket prices, and even the number of trash cans and benches around your park.

Not only will you be placing roller coasters, but you’ll also start placing ‘flat’ rides, things like a ferris wheel, swinging pendulum rides, and the like. The same mechanics used to place roller coasters are used for placing flat rides, including how to lower a ride to the ground if it just seems to want to float, which happened quite often for me. The ground isn’t always perfectly level, so sometimes you have to get a little creative. Sometimes placing something somewhere will actually terraform the area around it slightly to make it fit. If it fits, it sits.

The roller coaster building process also gets more detailed. In mission two you are introduced to hooks, which are goals you choose for the ride to decide its final rating and visitor preference. Hooks can be as simple as noting whether or not the roller coaster moves backwards at any point in time, but can also include details such as if the coaster splits, attains very high speeds, or has significant drops at any point. After you’ve designed the coaster and selected the hooks, you move onto the testing phase to make sure the ride is safe for visitors. This was the most fun part of the whole process as you can actually view the test from a visitor’s perspective in the front seat. If the test fails, you just have to go back through your track to see where the error is and correct it, either by setting a new track, adjusting curves or angles, or whatever issue is being addressed. If the test passes, create an entrance and an exit, and the ride is now open to the public.

Things get even more amped up when you make it to mission three where you’ll try your hands at Impossification. Impossification is what takes your rides and attractions to the next level by allowing you to improve rides, shops, and your staff in exciting and interesting ways. Flat rides evolve, changing how they operate, like the Slingshot becoming the Slingdrop, which launches visitors into a tube that spirals back down to the ground. Impossified shops around the park can be equipped with attractors to catch people’s attention, and impossified staff members obtain new gadgets. Janitors get incinerator trash bins, because, why not? Some things can be impossified multiple times, adding even more to the insanity. Impossification requires Amazement, which you get by putting up rides that give visitors that jaw-dropping experience. Filling up the Amazement meter allows you to impossify rides, but you can actually impossify shops and staff members when it’s about half way full.

Unfortunately, I was not able to complete the third mission as I was suddenly struck by numerous performance issues and bugs, ultimately leading to the game crashing many times. Can’t say this will be the same issue for everyone, of course, but I found it very disappointing as things were just starting to get really spicy. Occasionally things would just stop moving altogether, putting progress to a full stop, or my ‘camera’ would get stuck in the ground. The game’s response time also became a bit problematic as it would take a solid 5 seconds for a click of the mouse to register when trying to select a building, person, or ride that needed to be inspected. It is important to remember that this is a preview build, so experiencing issues isn’t entirely unexpected. However, in this day and age of many games of all shapes and sizes being released with a plethora of problems, I just hope the devs can get this squared away before it releases next month.

Playing through the campaign missions will serve as a giant tutorial, but there is a story to it as well. Blaze, who we met earlier, is just one of the many characters you will meet as you progress. You’re trying to help a struggling entertainment company regain its footing after some questionable decisions in the past.

After you’ve mastered the campaign, you can put your skills to the test in Sandbox Mode, which has you starting with a blank canvas… err, patch of land… to create and manage your own park. There won’t be any pitch meetings to guide you here, you’ll have to make those decisions for yourself. So, figure out what kind of park you want to build and get to it!

Starting in the Engagement Park, you can get a rundown of all of the basics again on a premade map. This is really just a simple ‘reminders’ park that brings things back to the front of the mind that may have been forgotten or overlooked when you were out impossifying all those rides. You’ll follow the objective flags around the map to hammer down the basics in specially themed parts of the park that also serve as inspiration for when you create your own.

Once you’re back up to speed, you’re in full command of the park’s creation, its components, and managing the park rating, amazement level, and the unique impossification features. The game gives you a number of gorgeous maps to choose from, such as valleys, deserts with canyons and insane rock formations, oceanside views and islands, and more. You can also select different difficulty levels, starting funds, and other options, giving you full freedom over your park building experience.

Turns out, having full freedom is a little rough. You really do have to look after your park or it will literally set itself on fire. I launched back into my sandbox park to find two rides completely broken down and in flames with a third ride soon to follow. So I set to hiring some more maintenance staff to repair the broken rides. But this led to another issue I hadn’t foreseen, nor expected to ever happen in such a game, how expensive this park was going to be to maintain. All of a sudden, my park started hemorrhaging funds, spiraling into debt faster than I could recover it. Even though the number of visitors was increasing at a pretty decent rate, there still wasn’t enough money coming in, and eventually the park went bankrupt and closed.

Park Beyond Preview - Level 3 [Gaming Trend]

Sandbox mode also introduces modular building, allowing you to build your own custom structures and attractions, but this is where my creativity (or lack thereof) hits its limits. I’m sure we’ll see some pretty crazy builds coming from people once the game launches though, which I’m excited for. You’re also able to do some terraforming, place or remove trees, rocks, and other plants,

Honestly, that was kind of fun to see. It’s just one more aspect of park management that you have to pay attention to. Park Beyond may be mostly focused on making the most insane theme park you can, but the ‘business’ side of things isn’t ignored.

There’s a lot more going on with Park Beyond, but I’ll let the accompanying videos from our Editor in Chief Ron Burke show you in more detail what’s a little harder to convey in writing here. Park Beyond will be coming out on June 16th, 2023, and you’ll be able to pick it up on PlayStation 5, PC, or Xbox Series X|S. Keep an eye out for future coverage as well as our review!

Park Beyond preview – Who knew park builders could be so intense?

See below for our list of partners and affiliates:


To Top