Review – Theme Park
It’s just a ride.
Theme Park was fucking acecakes; it was the only way to throw a kid around to the point where they threw up without running the risk of Esther Rantzen and her lovies getting involved. Sadly, with original developers Bullfrog having been out of the game for over fifteen years, and their figurehead currently pursuing a path of getting millions of people to pointlessly bang away at something and get nothing but boredom in return… much like gaming’s answer to Kerry Katona’s hunt for a new beau… it was left to everyone’s favourite creepy old tight-fisted uncle, Electronic Arts, to bring this classic to mobile platforms. Joy.
As with all Theme Park games, we begin a with a tutorial led by that fat guy from the Monopoly box and he painstakingly guides us through the best way to manage your park, encourage people to spend their money and be happy with what you have to offer. Actually, that’s not exactly true. The tutorial consists of two directives: place a bouncy castle in the only area available to you and, once you’ve mastered the art of clicking once over here, and clicking once again in a scrolly menu, you’re then tasked with the tough job of doing the same again with a chippy. Here endeth the lesson. Now it’s up to you to build your theme park’s popularity and reach the top of the leaderboard.
But wait… why are all my rides marked as “Locked”? More importantly, why can’t I build on this other area of land? Why does it have rocks all over it, preventing me from actually doing anything with it? Well, that’s because you have to wait countless hours for your park to organically reach a certain popularity level before the next available plot (within the huge plot of land which, presumably, you already bought before chucking up a giant fence around it and pre-laying a pedestrian contraflow complete with happy-faced bins) to become available for building on.
Or you could buy more Super Tickets from EA’s built in store. With real cash. Yes folks, after spending more than two fucking hours fruitlessly waiting for my park’s popularity to grow to the point where I was actually permitted to build another ride (because everyone knows that a theme park with nothing more than a bouncy castle will become a fan favourite in no time at all), I succumbed to the lure of the micropayment and decided to take a look at the costs of speeding up the process. It ain’t cheap. For 70 of the little blighters, you’re looking at £3.56 which equates to a gnat’s bawhair over 5p per ticket and doesn’t even cover the 80 Super Tickets required for the cheapest ride… but EA obviously get that this is a little bit of a slap in the face to the casual gamer, so they’ve been kind enough to let you buy in bulk at only 3.5p per ticket, as long as you’re willing to chuck £71.39 at them.
Needless to say, I didn’t. Fuck that. I got bored fannying around with the Bouncy Castle ride, making kids happily bounce all over the place for extra cash and went back to the fat Monopoly guy to see what could be done to speed shit up. Apparently you can help clean up at other neighbouring theme parks to earn more tickets. I had no idea this sort of shit went on. I guess those lovely people at Thorpe Park regularly shovel shit at Alton Towers so they can afford new attractions… who knew? Anyway, fuck it, I did it. I emptied their ONE full bin in exchange for two Super Tickets and cleaned up pools of vomit for a few quid, and was then told that I’d earned too much that day and should come back in 24 hours, and so began another two-hour wait for additional popularity that didn’t happen.
Theme Park on iOS and Android is a pile of shite. It’s a pile of unashamed, money-generating shite, aimed at people who are blind to just how much micropayments stack up over time. And perhaps those who spend their days on their fat arse watching Jeremy Kyle while daddy buys all their games for them so they don’t have to get a job, and can wait the weeks that are clearly required for organic progression. Free to play my arse. Free to download, yes, but more expensive to play than the entire Elder Scrolls series put together. This may actually have been good if EA had shoved a price tag on it and not relied on mass idiocy. Avoid this like you’d avoid Jimmy Savile’s pulsating tracky bottoms.