Sep 25, 2013

[Games] Prehistoric Park (Android)

Back in the day I was quite the Theme Park player back when simulation games were all over the place. I spent many hours trying to create the perfect park including the wildest roller coaster ride possible - or at least one that didn't send guests flying into the air. I was thinking about this game recently and so I went in search of a mobile equivalent.

While big companies like EA have their own versions of theme park simulation apps, a lot of the reviews panned them for having too great a focus on monetization. My search eventually led me to Prehistoric Park, which is a theme park management game with a bit of a caveman spin to things. And while I was never that big of a fan of The Flintstones, this seemed like a decent enough game to try out.

And so far, it nicely scratches that theme park itch that I've been feeling in recent months.

Prehistoric Park is a theme park simulation game created by Gear Games. It's currently free on the Google Play Store for Android and will be eventually available for iOS.

Like Theme Park, the game puts you in charge of putting up an amusement park, but in prehistoric times. Thus everything comes in a Stone Age flavor of sorts that's amusing in its own right. Thus your initial rides are basic stuff like slides and swings but in time you'll get your own roller coasters once you get to harness the power of dinosaurs to run your rides.

You also get to set up different shops to address other guest needs like thirst, hunger and disturbing balloons created from inflated animals. These are not rubber balloons shaped as animals but instead are animals somehow filled up with air. You also get to build various decorations, essential services like rest rooms and of course the various paths that allow guests to navigate your park.

The game is advertised to offer over 60 attractions and rides, but expect to deal with a rather sharp currency curve as rides become more and more expensive with every level. Most rides can be purchased with the default currency that you earn from your park patrons, but some rides are naturally limited for purchase with the in-app currency, to help drive revenue. The in-app currency can also be used to speed up construction or make certain tasks easier like collecting the accumulated fees from each ride and shop.

The game also requires for some personnel support to keep things running. Annoyances like litter and fighting guests need direct intervention by the player to resolve. You can save yourself some stress by hiring employees like Janitors and Security Guards to deal with these problems for you, however they are only available for daily rates that rival some early rides. Personnel do help you earn more experience to help you gain more levels and thus unlock more attractions. But they only last for 24 hours and so you'll need to constantly re-purchase them to watch your park when you're away.

The game slows down a bit as you level up not because of complexity but more because of lack of money. If you don't give in to the in-app currency, you'll have to crawl through the high levels as each ride costs over 200,000 credits while your rides all earn chump change. But it's not an entirely negative experience given the park is amusing enough to watch once you have a nice mix of rides in. Your goal then becomes figuring out the balance to make as many patrons as possible happy with pushing revenue for yourself. At least your park won't shut down due to bankruptcy or something since you don't have to deal with things like park overheard or staff salaries. The game relies on the time-limited actions concept that we see in so many mobile games.

Prehistoric Park is by no means an amazing game. It provides decent fun for any theme park lover, even if you're not too into the whole prehistoric concept to begin with. At least the game engine is fairly solid and worth the play through. Thus the game rates a respectable 3.5 guests in search of a water fountain out of a possible 5.
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