Park Beyond is an upcoming park-management game from Bandai Namco that combines building a successful theme park, with creating absolutely bonkers rollercoasters. While I’m personally not into such titles, this one really caught my attention. I can see why people invest hundreds and thousands of hours into these games. It’s a puzzle to solve, at the end of the day. How can you cater to a wide variety people while also making something fun and exciting? That’s what makes it so addictive.
In this recent Park Beyond test, I got to play through a few of the first missions, and also had access to the Sandbox mode. This was where I had the most fun, due to the sheer amount of maps you can try to build a theme park on.
What awaits players in Park Beyond’s Closed Beta test?
Back in October 2022, I previewed a very early build of Park Beyond, and I was a fan right off the bat. While I don’t play theme park/tycoon games often, I see the appeal. Unlike many of the other recent entries in this genre, you aren’t simply dropping new attractions and features without rhyme or reason.
Each of the rides, features, and even food stalls appeal to certain people. You have to consider who your audience is, and build appropriately. While the sandbox is a blast, it’s better to go through the actual missions of the game first. I played through Missions 1, 2, and 3, and each builds upon the other so you have a solid grasp of what the title offers.
Mission 1 was all about the actual ins and outs of building a rollercoaster. You could add fun nonsense like cannons, as well as tunnel through mountains. If that weren’t enough, you could also take it underwater! Park Beyond gives plenty of awesome options, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t take it easy first.
Then you have Mission 2, where you get a theme park and have to pick a theme and audience to cater too. The focus here are “Flat Rides” - rides that are on the ground, and not spiraling around the sky. Park Beyond’s second mission is all about working on creating paths that make sense, and setting up a decent small park.
It’ll introduce something that I had a problem with in the previous iteration - the Heat Map. You can scan it to see what fans are happy and not happy with. Use this wisely and you can build an epic theme park that everyone will love.
Mission 3 of Park Beyond introduced the “Impossification” system. You can impossify nearly anything in your park, which increases the level of your park and makes it more appealing to visitors. You’ll also begin to research in this mission.
As you level up your park, you can research new things to add. I really liked this, as it let me pick and choose what I need, instead of just having a pile of things to sift through.
Sandbox is massive and satisfying in Park Beyond
The Sandbox Mode was my favorite part of Park Beyond. There are tons of various maps you can build your theme box in this. Each has a different visual look and geography to keep in mind. If it’s a mountainous area, you can choose to build incredibly complicated rollercoasters that circle and go through that terrain, for example.
There are 27 different regions you can build on in Park Beyond, from deserts, the Mediterranean, East Asia, and the Alpine Mountains. There are so many choices here, so no matter, if you want a theme park that looks scenic and calm, you can do that - or you can have a chaotic adventure through the desert.
You can also adjust the difficulty a significant amount in Play Beyond’s Sandbox. Further, you can adjust that, the upkeep of your park itself, and even your starting funds - up to $1,000,000. You can turn a few settings on and off as well - Land Extensions, Research, and Ride & Facility Decline.
I also appreciate that you can set specific goals for yourself - like Impossify Everything, Selling Souvenirs/Treats, and things like this. Sandbox can be as easy or hard as you want it to be, and the possibilities are endless.
I love the blend of fantasy and reality offered in Park Beyond. You have to manage the park efficiently, and while you can make fantastic coasters, there are restrictions. You can’t just run tracks over each other, for example.
Park Beyond has tons of flexibility in what you can do, making it better than the typical tycoon game. Impossification allows you to create fantastic new sights in your park. With enough time, effort, and creativity, you can make the theme park of your dreams in this game. I will say the controls, for the most part, feel better in this iteration of the title.
Support for controllers is there, but it felt really awkward to build a rollercoaster that way. That is something I imagine will improve by the June 16, 2023 launch. It can be frustrating to keep track of the many ways you can adjust a roller coaster, but that’s more on me for not playing this genre often. I genuinely think fans of tycoon/theme park games are going to love Park Beyond.