Bandai Namco's theme park simulation Park Beyond is shaping up to be one of the best strategy games of 2023.
We played about eight hours of Bandai Namco's upcoming theme park builder Park Beyond and thoroughly enjoyed most of what this charming title has to offer. If you're into simulation and management games, Park Beyond should be top of your list of highly anticipated 2023 releases.
The preview build we played contained three modes - Exploration, Sandbox and a handful of early campaign missions. As the name suggests, the sandbox mode gives you all the tools and assets to create whatever you want to create. It doesn't limit you in any way as you have an infinite amount of cash.
Exploration mode is another sandbox mode but with challenges that act as tutorials, helping you understand how things work if you're not willing to give it a go in the campaign.
The campaign missions we got to play introduced us to the basic building and management mechanics. We learned how to build flat rides, and rollercoasters, how to make customers happy, keep our theme park clean and of course, get some tenners in.
In addition to building large and spectacular theme parks, in Park Beyond you'll spend a lot of time keeping a close eye on your visitors' needs by constructing fast food and drinks shops, toilets and benches, and of course, having enough fun rides to make their stay at your theme park an experience of a lifetime.
In terms of management options, Park Beyond is vast but still very easy to understand. This is mainly due to the game's tutorial which does a great job of slowly introducing all these mechanics and their effect on the management.
You can hire and fire janitors, entertainers and mechanics, shut down restaurants that aren't bringing in profit, increase or lower the price of tickets, food and drinks, upgrade rides and much much more. Park Beyond even has a cool little heat map feature which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about your park and its visitors.
Once turned on, you can filter through different customer needs to see how many of them are unhappy and why, or check which one of your shops is bringing in money and which needs tweaking or shutting down.
Building in Park Beyond is easily the game's most fun part. You'll get all the freedom to go crazy and create the most creative theme park you can imagine. Whether it's a sprawling playground with plenty of room or tightly packed where every corner has something to offer, it's up to you and your imagination.
Want to build the world's largest and scariest rollercoaster and then ride it yourself thanks to the first-person perspective feature? Yes, you can do that, just keep in mind that it gets dizzy up there.
As already mentioned, building in Park Beyond is fairly simple and straightforward. You pick from a vast library of assets and buildings and simply place them around just like in any other strategy game. You can build paths, bridges, all sorts of shops, and various rides, plant trees, flowers and more to make your theme park feel unique.
The most fun I had with building is when you get to work on your first rollercoaster. You'll get so many options here to make truly awe-inspiring creations. From numerous prefabs like loops, corkscrews and helix turns to forks, launchers and more. I can only assume that the final build will be packed with even more assets.
It's worth noting that we did not notice any major issues with building mechanics as everything was mostly smooth, except for a couple of cases where rollercoasters would clip through other rides but the game would not register the issue.
Visually, Park Beyond is charming, full of colour and a joy to look at. The preview build featured close to 30 maps set on various biomes across the world, though, during our playthrough, we mostly focused on the calm pine forest region, as you can see in the screenshots.
The ability to zoom in and see minimal detail is also impressive. Once you zoom in enough, you can hear all the chit-chat happening around. For example, if you zoom in on a shop that has a very long waiting line, you can hear people in the background complaining. A very neat touch.
So overall, our experience with this preview build of Park Beyond was nothing but positive. We enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait to play more later this year when Park Beyond launches on PC , PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S .
By the time this preview goes live, Bandai Namco will be announcing a closed beta test for May 9, 2023. You can sign up for the beta here.
A massive thank you to Bandai Namco UK for sending us a preview code for Park Beyond.