Theme Park (iOS)on December 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm
1) The freemium model’s been around for years and it’s only because it’s being attached to a game people actually care about that all of a sudden it’s a problem, and
2) It’s totally not what people should be hating this game about.
Here’s the thing about Theme Park that people forget – it was always a “casual” game. It was just released in a time before there was a distinction between the types of games out there. Back in the early ‘90s, and especially the ‘80s, if you were into video games you played every video game. These days we specialise. Some people are retro gamers, some people are into fighters, some people are into first person shooters…and even then we specialise within specialisations. Chances are if you play Modern Warfare 3 seriously you don’t play Quake Arena for example.
So people who are complaining that Theme Park has been turned into a casual game are really missing the point. People who are complaining that EA are ripping people off are missing the point.
What’s wrong with Theme Park iOS is that it offers a broken, charmless ride.
I have started this app 24 times as of writing, and it has crashed 22 times. Sometimes it crashes when I unlock a new ride. Sometimes it crashes when I go into a ride. Sometimes it crashes when I just move the camera around. The only two times it didn’t crash is when I exited out to write this review and the first time I started it after it bugged out and wouldn’t let me progress through the tutorial properly.
I’ve had other problems too – I can get the camera to bug out and look at the sky instead of the ground, visitors get stuck in out of bounds areas and there’s just too many God damn pop up dialogue boxes alerting you of how awesome you are every five seconds. Just let me play the game!
I also didn’t like how simplified it got – you no longer micro manage the financial aspects of the park, you don’t hire or fire staff, you don’t control stock levels for your stores (this has been replaced by a simple ‘click on the store to restock it just to have something to do’ button), you don’t lay out walking paths or position rides or….well you pretty much don’t do anything. You click on an empty area, you select something to put in it, and everything else is done for you. How convenient!
What really gets me is how soul less it is now. The Advisor looks like the Monopoly Man’s weird uncle that nobody talks about, the only time you see mascots is when you level up, and the people are so blocky and uniform that I swear they escaped from some long-forgotten PlayStation 1 game that was dismissed for having horrible graphics. There’s no comical routines for attractions, no interesting animations to watch, heck you can’t even see people throw up any more. All the human interest has been stripped bare and replaced with advertisements for EA-affiliated products and services.
I really want to like this, I really do! I don’t even care that much that the UI is cluttered with ads, that you can’t move the camera back high enough to see what’s going on and still control the park or even that in app purchases are stupidly priced because let’s face it, I ain’t buying them anyway.
At least Theme Park iOS makes sense as a freemium game. God help us if they bring back Magic Carpet like this.