You can see original video here: Gamersglobal.de
Economic Simulations are dead. At least there are seldom any demanding titles. There are a lot of casual games, which in the end are just "Wimmelbild" games (Where's Waldo?). As an example you could take the "Build-a-Lot" series. It features production chains with several steps and an economic circle, but scare away experienced tycoons with it's comic graphics alone. Real tycoon games are rare these days.Also in the indie game scene there are very few in this genre, but one developer published one already in October 2012, the Ski Park Tycoon. It's interesting for two reasons: there is nothing like it, even in from the AAA-productions and it's a nice and realistic game.
Anyone who wants to become a mighty tycoon will be taken gently in small steps into the game's mechanics with several tutorial missions in the campaign. The first 5-6 missions explain the controls, how to build things and the economic relationships of the buildings.In the following missions you get more advanced buildings, like faster lifts with more capacity or bigger restaurants. The whole campaign runs a common theme to get the contents to the player.How does it work?
Let's take the mission "Master Builder" as an example.
At first you have to make sure that people get into the area, so you'll need a parking space somewhere near a road. It's important to choose a wise location, because people come from here every morning. The game simulates a day from 9am to 4pm. Usually the roads are all in the valleys, so next step will be a lift onto the next hill or mountain. Because this is one of the latest missions all lifts are already unlocked, but the big lifts are very expensive. So starting small with a 2 seat lift is a good choice. When the skiers have reached the top of the lift they need to get down again somehow, building a slope is easily done by just "painting" it onto the mountain with the according tool. The flags you see are the difficulty, blue is for beginners, red for professionals and black ones for those death-wishing persons who ride down even the steepest mountains.
With those two things in place you already have a working ski park, but a lot of unhappy guests. The ride in the open lift is pretty cold and even though people are sporty on the slope they tend to get cold. So putting up a cosy hut and a snackbar with hot tea at the valley station of the lift are the next steps. Some cots nearby for people to rest and we have a well run park with happy customers and cash starts coming in.To get an even better rating you can place a snowcat garage, which will then prepare the slopes for better snow conditions. And if the weather gets too warm and the snow melts some snow cannons would be a good idea, so that skiers get down the hill without breaking their bones. And in case someone still falls down, putting a rescue station will take care of a healthy day.
Now we should have very good ratings for our park and enough cash to extend the park with additional lifts and slopes and the building circle starts once again from the beginning. A new parking space, new lifts and slopes, you get the idea.For some distraction in between the player get himself two boards under the feet and you can ride your own slopes. In some missions this is an obligatory goal, where you have to beat record times to progress in the campaign.Except for the campaign there are also a couple of sandbox maps, where you can build just as you like. Interesting: also some real ski resorts like Sölden (Austria) or Verna Hora (Czech) are available. You can choose to start with a complete, realistic park or to make your own ideas in the regions on an empty map.
Graphics / Sounds
The graphics are for a one-man project really good. You can follow the skiers from their arrival through the whole park, there are nice details like price lists on the booths and well animated lifts. Most of the time you will spend in bird's eye perspective where skiers tend to get to grey dots running along the slopes, but due to this scaling the game runs fluenty all the time. The Sounds are fitting, snowcats chug along the park, where lots of people are you hear a distant chatter and even the music doesn't really get annoying, even though it's some jazzy-elevator-tunes.
Jan Zizka has delivered a well put game, that satisfies through variety and details. It tends to get a bit easy once you understood the economic system and you get lots of cash quiet quickly, but then still there is the urge to just build that next lift onto the near mountain. The campaign is well designed and always presents something new to do.One thing I've never seen in a game like this before: relatively early in the game you get the missions for marketing and bank loan, and especially the bank loan you will need, but you can not complete the missions yet because you are still missing some buildings. So you go back into the started mission every 2 or 3 campaign missions to extend your park and get that next goal like a better price for marketing or the next step of bank loan. And with that bigger bank loan even the next campaign mission gets a bit easier. So both are dependant on another.
Unfortunately the game also has a few problems: as intuitive as the slope building is presented, often you can not really build a slope as you'd want to because the path resets to the last point or even jumps back to the starting position. It would be really nice to be able to place fixpoints and build a slope step by step. Also there are some poor typos and translation errors, which won't need to be there. As regarding translation: you need to speak at least a bit of english, there is no other language available.But except for the sometimes annoying slope building you'll get a lot of fun for your 10 Euro's worth. Recommendation- not really much tycoon games anymore on the market, here is a good one, buy it!