Barmy dinosaur theme park sim Parkasaurus recently came out on Steam Early Access. Created by two-friend team Washbear Studio, Parkasaurus has you run a candy-colored dinosaur zoo. Think Jurassic Park, but more fun and way more psychedelic.
Parkasaurus starts out with a bare plot of land, which you can begin to whip into the shape of an amusement park. Through some nifty time travel archeology you can dig up fossils and bring them back to resurrect the long-lost species you think will have the most pulling power.
Each dinosaur species needs its own specialized environment. While a velociraptor likes a hot desert climate, a stegosaurus is more at home in the rainforest. You can tinker with their enclosures to create the perfect biome to suit their needs.
With new exotic species pulling in the customers it’s now time to squeeze as much cash out of them as you can. Maximize traffic by improving the flow of the park’s layout and keep visitors there longer with fast food stands, merchandise and science demonstrations. Anything it takes to keep your visitors happy, fed and entertained – and more importantly, keep those donations coming in.
Parkasaurus is the kind of game you could easily sink hours into if you‘re not paying attention. It’s chock-full of microtasks, cute animations and satisfying sound effects, all of which draw you into an irresistibly moreish experience.
Be prepared to get surprisingly attached to your new hatchlings as they zoom around their enclosures. If you’re one of those people that thinks giant prehistoric lizards are cute, this game makes them even cuter. Bug-eyed and lurid shades of pink, purple and orange, these dinos are a far cry from the realistic reptiles of Jurassic World Evolution. Perhaps one of the most rewarding parts of the game is being able to show your love for your dinosaurs by adorning them with goofy hats and sunglasses.
Within the park itself your attention is split between living up to the standards of your guests and staying on top of your dinos’ needs. Managing to do both is a constant juggling act. Outside of the park you have your office, the central hub and your base of operations – from here you can monitor your daily earnings and expenses, read visitor reviews, hire and fire new staff and document newly resurrected species.
Hit the high street to stock up food for your dinosaurs, buy gems(vital for cloning) and visit the local cloning barn to pick up new eggs. Back at the lab you have a handy time travel portal, where you and your team of scientists go back to prehistoric times to hunt for fossils. The high street and portal are always open, so you still have plenty to do after the working day has ended, but portaling escapades only actually progress with the passage of time.
Tranqs at the Ready
The way you look after your dinosaurs is similar to any game like The Sims. Each dinosaur has needs, such as privacy, hunger, social and fun. You have to find ways to keep these needs met, like having another dinosaur in their enclosure so they don‘t get lonely or keeping tall grass to hide in if they feel overexposed. The happier your dinos, the higher your rewards at the end of the day. The longer they remain unhappy, the more likely they are to act out against their fences, which can quickly lead to a rampage.
When you start a new game for the first time you get a simple tutorial covering the basics. One of the best things about the tutorial is how brief it is. It walks you through creating your fist enclosure, engineering your first dinosaur baby and hiring minimal staff, but doesn’t get too into the details. This is actually great because there’s so much joy to be had in the early game just by figuring out the rest for yourself.
Rough Around the Edges
Early Access games (often unfairly) get a bad rap for being unfinished money grabs, but that’s not the case with Parkasaurus. Washbear have stated that the game is close to completion already and, apart from a few minor missing pieces, Parkasaurus feels like a finished game.
That said, there are still a few aspects that lack polish. These are mostly within the build mode, especially when moving placed items like buildings. The game will read the object’s own older placement as blocking the way, which frustratingly results in you having to move the object twice instead of once.
Similarly, when selecting objects to either move or delete, the game sometimes has trouble knowing exactly what you’re selecting and goes for something else. These are both very minor complaints, but continually having to slow down to account for them can get grating after a while.
Early Access lack of polish aside, from the moment you start up Parkasaurus you’ll be drawn in by its utterly addictive charm. Underneath the silliness and dinosaurs, what you get is a genuinely solid management sim. If you like sim games that are heavy on the intricate details but want to keep things light and fun, Parkasaurus has a ton to offer.