Adventure Park review
Adventure Park is a Facebook title from IZ Social Games, published by 6waves. It has been showing activity since February of this year and peaked in late March with around 100,000 MAU, but has recently started gaining traction once again, showing up as the No. 1 emerging Facebook game last week.
Adventure Park is a theme park building simulation. Unfolding from an isometric perspective, players are tasked with building rides, businesses and show venues around their park in an attempt to make as much money as possible while keeping their visitors happy. Gameplay is very conventional, consisting of spending soft currency (and energy) on building structures, then occasionally clicking on them after a set period of real time has elapsed to collect income from them. Thematically speaking, clicking on items represents restocking businesses, hiring performers, scheduling shows and performing maintenance on rides, but in essence this is the same kind of “invest and express” social game we’ve seen hundreds of times by now.
Social features for the game are no more imaginative, consisting of the usual ability to visit neighbors’ parks and “help” by clicking on a small number of items in exchange for soft currency and “reputation” bonuses. It’s also possible for players to exchange gifts with one another.
The game’s presentation doesn’t fare much better. The background art is heavily pixelated, character designs lack personality and performance of the game, even on a high-end PC, is very poor, with the frame rate starting to judder to a considerable degree as the player’s park gets busier.
Monetization stems from the game’s hard currency, which is used to bypass quest objectives, unlock content early and purchase certain premium items that are, as always, significantly more effective than their soft currency equivalents. Hard currency may be acquired via Facebook’s payments system. Players also have the option to win in-game items by watching advertisements. At the time of writing, the advert in question was a Skyfall/Heineken beer cross-promotion that carried its own interactive code-cracking game that was ironically more engaging (albeit short-lived) than Adventure Park’s tired core gameplay.
Performance issues aside, Adventure Park doesn’t do anything fundamentally “wrong” as such — it’s just a completely unremarkable game in almost every respect. Absolutely nothing new is added to the usual “invest and express” formula — even the theme park setting has been used a number of times previously to varying degrees of success. The player is given little incentive to engage with the game beyond the basic experience and currency mechanics, the energy system is as obtrusive as ever, there is no strategy to the gameplay whatsoever and there is very little reward in playing alongside friends. Ultimately, it will likely enjoy a small but dedicated audience for a short period due to its basic competence, but without anything to distinguish it from the hundreds of very similar titles already available on the social network, players will likely move on to something a little more interesting and distinctive over time — even 6waves’ considerable skills at user acquisition, which presumably account for the recent upswing in user figures, can’t protect against that eventuality.
A competent enough game, albeit one with absolutely nothing new or noteworthy about it.