Review: Parkasaurus (Nintendo Switch)
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While it sounds like a low-budget film from The Asylum, Parkasaurus is actually “a dinosaur tycoon management simulation.” If you’re an enthusiast for tycoon management games, this is a pretty sizable offering and also a decent one. But if you aren’t already a fan, there are probably too many shortcomings here to win you over.
Campaign mode acts as an extended tutorial. You’ll finish goals and tasks, unlock upgrades via a playoff-style tree, and advance to the next park, trying to turn a profit. While the park you begin with is small, you’ll move on to increasingly more extensive areas. With each progression comes more knowledge gained, so you can return to earlier parks and make improvements.
Of course, you can’t be on the job with these varied duties unless you have the applicable information. Despite tutorials aplenty, initially, you’ll likely have questions the game doesn’t address. But with trial and error, plus the addition of employees, you’ll find things more manageable. Note that the latter’s abilities are tied to their wages. So again, you’ll want to turn a profit.
Lucrative results will only come if you pay careful attention to your park guests, who demand much attention. If you’re merely looking to “take care of your dinosaurs,” you may want to look elsewhere, especially with a slower opening, at least when compared to most games. If compared to just other sims, it’s actually relatively quick. And while inexperienced players could find it overwhelming, you may eventually find it relaxing if the game connects.
I have a hunch that sandbox mode is what will ultimately keep the attention of most Parkasaurus players. Once you learn the ropes, you’ll have the option of endless funds! Choosing unlimited money means you can play left to your own devices.
Parkasaurus doesn’t seem to be optimized especially well for the Nintendo Switch. There’s no touchscreen support, which is a shame as it could offer precision during some of the creative aspects. The text is small even when playing docked, with wasted screen space. Menus within menus within menus show white and gray text on white and gray boxes; what were the devs thinking? If there was audio direction, this might’ve been excused.
Speaking of audio, the supporting music gives me some Animal Crossing vibes, although it’s clear it’s secondary. It doesn’t always fit, either, and the subtleness means it gets drowned out by shrill sound effects. Cheering customers are obnoxious and almost make me want to bankrupt the parks if not have them eaten by rampaging dinos!
On the visual end, the graphics are OK from a distance. When zoomed in, the lifeless polygons can bleed into each other, and the framerate can take a hit. More detail and vibrancy would’ve helped, especially on the dinosaurs themselves. There are over three dozen species but only six groupings. The promised first person view is absent from this Switch build.
Parkasaurus can get tiresome, especially when playing this Switch port. It won’t grab hybrid players who aren’t already genre fans. But an instructive campaign mode, combined with a sandbox mode, means plenty of content is here, ultimately making for a decent (though certainly not great) game.