Fifteen years ago I fell in love with Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. It was the original dinosaur park sim that let me prove that breeding dinosaurs for consumer entertainment is a totally valid business strategy.
Now from the makers of Planet Coaster comes Jurassic World Evolution. Like the current era of Jurassic World films it’s not quite as good as the original. But Evolution does feature all the joy and danger of breeding and housing dinosaurs for entertainment that makes the concept so richly compelling.
A unique post-apocalyptic city-builder that forces you to maintain hope as much as heat and wood.
Things were going well, or least as well as can be expected against an apocalyptic snowstorm, until the temperature plummeted another 40 degrees. “Snowmaggeddon” is a joke during brutal winters. But nobody’s laughing in the world of Frostpunk when temperatures approach -90 degrees, rendering most of the world uninhabitable.
In the last city my supply of coal dwindled to nothing as my geothermic reactor began shutting down. I watched a cascade of Bad News as my workforce grew sick, homes grew cold, and people began dying.
I was forced to pass a law to enable emergency 24 hour shifts. Brave men and women operated frozen coal mines in the dead of night to give us the juice we needed. Some grew sick, and some were so frostbitten they had to have limbs amputated.
But the city survived. These harrowing moments solidify Frostpunk as one of the most memorable and emotional city building sims I’ve ever played.
The Cooking Mama series has been around since the days of Nintendo DS and Wii. Touchscreen mobile games were burgeoning into a dominant gaming genre for many kids and adults. These days playing a game on the Nintendo 3DS that could be almost entirely replicated on a phone feels quaint.
Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop doesn’t offer enough new gameplay or progression to warrant yet another installment in the franchise.
Creating your own amusement park should never go out of style. Frontier Developments’ new self-published title Planet Coaster captures the magic of roller coasters and theme parks from classic games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Sim Theme Park. Planet Coaster succeeds as a modern update to a classic formula thanks to intuitive controls and an aesthetic that keeps everything light and fun.
Planet Coaster includes three main ways to play: Campaign, Challenge, and Sandbox. In each mode you start with a large tract of land, several rides, and a few thousand dollars. Guests pour into your park, each with their own needs and wants. It’s your job to satisfy them all (and take their money) while researching and building new rides and venues.
The developers of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 are looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
One of the most beloved series to emerge from the popular Tycoon/Sim genre was RollerCoaster Tycoon. Pitting you in charge of your own budding amusement park, the series enjoyed several expansion packs and a passionate fan base. Later the games transitioned into 3D with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and even later onto consoles with the spiritual successor Thrillville.
Now the same developer is looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
“Planet Coaster is a game we’ve wanted to make for a long time,” says Jonny Watts, Chief Creative Officer for Frontier Developments. “But it’s only now as a self-publishing studio we’re able to make the game we had envisioned.”
For fans of RollerCoaster Tycoon, you’re in luck. After trying the Alpha version, Planet Coaster plays much like a natural evolution of those great theme park classics. You’re given a large, empty plot of land. From there you can construct pathways, shops, buildings, scenery, rides, and of course elaborate roller coaster designs.
There are plenty of fun sci-fi and space-themed games out there. But precious few are grounded in realistic physics. Kerbal Space Program is as much a full on NASA-simulator as a game. It nicely uses the scientific method to keep you tweaking your journey toward galactic discovery.
Kerbal Space Program is a deceptively dense game hiding behind the cute green Kerbals that populate this space-age world. In Career mode you’re given a basic NASA-like facility. Buildings include Vehicle Assembly, Tracking Station, Mission Control, and a launch site that’s little more than a slab of concrete.