Parkitect: Deluxe Edition – PS5 Review

From developer Texel Raptor and publisher Blitworks Games comes a throwback of sorts in Parkitect: Deluxe Edition. Very much in the tradition of Theme Park and other parkbuilders such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Parkitect started out as a Kickstarter over ten years ago, with a lengthy two year early access period until finally releasing in November 2018. The Deluxe Edition refers to the fact you get both DLCs thrown in as part of the £19.99 retail price.

Where Parkitect differs from Rollercoaster Tycoon in particular is by way of its behind-the-scenes staff areas including staff buildings for training as well as depots to stop supply lines being too far from your hub area. Additionally, there’s a branching campaign mode that proves to be the main focus of the game.

In effect, you play the separate campaign levels, fulfilling specific requirements in turn. These start off easily enough in terms of goals, but soon enough ramp up in terms of difficulty. You’ll have to juggle your finances to prevail, be it by smart management or taking out loans to finance your next rides. As well as main objectives, there are myriad secondary objectives that are usually time limited such as not resorting to external loans or reaching your main objective within a short window.

The very first thing we did was change the UI scale as the text is simply tiny even on a large TV, that alone shows how entrenched Parkitect is in terms of its PC heritage.

Before you get stuck in though, we’d recommend you tackle the tutorial first. That in itself proved generally OK for us until the final part. You see, that alone highlights the biggest flaw of the lot when it comes to Parkitect. Rollercoasters are an abject nightmare to set up with a d-pad and the interface. Good luck creating any coasters that get as complicated as the blueprints you spy in the in-game portal.

Parkitect simply wasn’t made to be controlled with a joypad. You can just about muddle along laying paths and putting down basic rides with a set footprint. But when it comes to anything more complicated than a basic log flume, you’ll struggle and wish for a mouse to aid your progress. Not to mention the fun we had when the game insisted we “follow the tutorial steps” without actually telling us what we had to do. We thought saving and reloading would help, but at that point the game decided that loading your save wasn’t an option and crashed. And then when we did continue, we were halfway through our glitched coaster tutorial but without any tutorial prompts. A restart it was then.

Anyway, once you get past the tutorial and resign yourself to making rudimentary coasters that would barely tax toddlers; let alone excite your adult visitors; you’ll be able to tackle the scenarios in turn. If you complete all the optional goals in a level quickly you’ll get an extra score token that allows you to unlock subsequent levels that are gated. The first four aren’t, but the difficulty ramps up quickly as we mentioned, especially once your main objective is to have five hundred visitors inside your park.

The only way to increase capacity is by building more rides. The first step is to place your ride then add queuing and an exit. The latter can go straight on to an adjacent path, but your more popular rides are going to need a reasonable length queue. It’s not quite as acute as a real-life theme park, but you still need to bear it in mind. Standard footprint rides are generally your best bet early on as they have a fixed build price. It’s when you get to building coasters and any modular rides that you realise you need far deeper pockets than your current cashflow will allow for.

On several occasions we simply ran out of cash, even on simple layouts and were waiting for the next wave of income to hit simply to place the final section of a track and start earning money. We’d recommend pausing the game altogether if you’re tight on money as it’s all well and good having roughly the right amount of cash when you begin a build, but when other overheads hit, you’ll be looking at alternative income sources. Sadly, money laundering isn’t an option.

One thing we noticed quite early on is Parkitect’s tendency to glitch out. For example, on more than one occasion we had rides that were in good working condition and for a while had guests using them. But then simply, guests would simply ignore the rides for no reason. Or in the case of swan pedalos, the pedalos themselves would go AWOL completely. Not even saving and quitting would resolve it, with demolishing the ride and building it anew being the only workaround. Not a problem on the pedalos, but on a fiddly intricately laid track, not to mention battling the d-pad controls, it was a game breaker.

To the extent that we sacked off relaying the track altogether and instead built something entirely different. Thankfully as you progress though levels, your research team will unlock new rides for you to build so if a ride turns out to be a financial failure, you can often place an alternative that does better. The level of customisation on rides is quite something, even down to the individual music. This speaks volumes for the gestation period of Parkitect on PC as we get the distinct impression that the community has made plenty of suggestions with the devs having implemented lots of extras.

As well as attractions, you’ll do well to provide refreshments for your guests if you want to get good ratings. These must be supplied by staff who can reach the back of your stalls via employee paths directly, or if you’re further away from your main depot, you’ll want to create sub-depots to act as drop points for any nearby stalls. These are all well and good, but come unstuck if you’re on uneven terrain such as the lake scenario. You see, these depots need linking to your main water and drainage systems, yet beside a perfunctory mention in the tutorial, you’re rather left to get on with it. Not to mention it’s counterintuitive as to how to go subterranean and manage these pipes. Again, the tutorial is a bit lacking in that department.

Almost every aspect in your parks can be managed from the menus, though to be honest if you’re trying for every scenario goal, it’s likely you’ll already be micromanaging like a boss staring over an underling’s shoulder in a crap office job. You can even track individual guest if you so wish, though this isn’t much more than a curiosity.

There’s also overlays so you can see areas where you need to address problems, though we enabled one view expecting a trophy to unlock but nothing happened. Another glitch we suppose. Trophy tracking is useful enough, supported as it is via the pause menu as opposed to the trophy list on the PS5 dashboard as you might hope for.

In conclusion, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition is a fun park management sim, though it has a bit of a steep learning curve, especially given how little the tutorial shows you before pushing you away into the swirling maelstrom of management. The controls are fine for the most part, but laying out coasters is far harder on PS5 than we expect it is on PC.  The crashing to XMB and glitches are unfortunate, but at least there’s an autosave function so all is not necessarily lost. On the whole, Parkitect is a fun package with a few rough edges that we can just about forgive, we just wish the PS5 port was a little more refined as this is still clearly a PC game.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition
8 Overall
+ A fun park builder
+ Scratches that Rollercoaster Tycoon / Theme Park itch a treat
+ You can manage pretty much every aspect of your parks
+ Parks are fun to build
- As console ports go, this is a bit unrefined
- Coaster building is really tough going with a controller
- Prone to glitches and crashes
- Tutorial is a bit minimalist and throws you into the game a bit too swiftly, if it works at all
Parkitect: Deluxe Edition is a fun park builder, though it’s a little unrefined in terms of ease of use via a controller. Very much a PC game with joypad support bolted on. It’s also prone to glitching out on occasion, including during the all-too-brief tutorial in our case. Despite that we enjoyed ourselves. We reckon you will too.

About Ian

Ian likes his games weird. He loves his Vita even if Sony don't anymore. He joined the PS4 party relatively late, but has been in since day one on PS5.

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