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Theme Park DS is one of those games that appeared quite randomly. As far as I could see there was no advertising for it whatsoever, and I probably wouldn't have known it even existed if a friend hadn't mentioned it to me. With that being said, did they keep the game hidden for a reason, or is this actually a worthwhile copy you should definitley consider picking up?
I can guarantee the majority of you will have played the PC version of this game at some point - and the DS version works in exactly the same way. For those that haven't, the game is exactly what the title leads you to believe. You run your own theme park. You control what rides you want, where they go, what shops you want, you restock them, you set the prices, you hire and manage the staff. It's the game that was basically the foundation for more advanced and graphically beautiful games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, and it definitley could be considered a classic.
But how does it fare in a more modern world in it's new portable format?
Well, it depends really.
GRAPHICS: The graphics are exactly the same as they were back then. They are flat, and in some cases it can be quite hard to work out what exactly things are supposed to be. This is great if you loved the classic game, but personally I believe it could have done with a bit of updating. As much as I loved the original, such old graphics just don't really work in todays gaming industry. Knowing the kind of graphics the DS is capable of (and indeed, watching the short video at the beginning with fantastic 3D graphics) it's quite disappointing in a way to have such basic and quite confusing graphics. If the graphics don't matter to you at all or you know you're fine with the original PC games graphics, this won't be a problem for you.
CONTROLS: This game is very easy to control. Navigating the menus is extremely easy using the DS's touch pad, and using the stylus you can place things exactly where you want them. Unlike some other games the touch pad is implemented very well - it doesn't seem like they've just added it at random because they can, it actually fits and improves the quality of the game.
STRATEGY: There is a lot of strategy involved in this game. From monitering the number of staff you're hiring, restocking your ice cream, choosing how much money to spend on research, altering the prices of stuffed animals - if you do anything wrong, it can be very quick for you to decline into the minuses! It took me quite a while to get this right and I was constantly in the minuses, but once you've worked out a strategy it becomes a lot easier. With that being said it can be a very hard game, particuarly if you choose to be in control of EVERYTHING yourself like I did. If you'd rather not deal with constantly having to restock etc, you can choose a different option so it's never too much work for you if you don't want it to be. If you're looking for a strategy game, I think you'll find this one satisfactory.
REPLAYABILITY: This game definitley has a lot of replayability. I know in the first week I restarted it about ten times because I was never quite happy with my parks layout. There is a huge amount of choice for ride and store placement so there's plenty of oppurtunity for you to restart and place things somewhere completely different. Even though the order you get rides etc always remains the same, the fact that you can plonk things down whenever you feel like it stops it from feeling too repetitive.
Overall, if you loved the original game then you'll certainly enjoy this. If you never played it but are a fan of strategy games, this is still worth picking up. Personally, this is an 'ok' game, I can see why some people love it and I can also see why some people hate it. For me, I'm pretty much indifferent. Though I love that they ported it exactly as is, I feel it could have really benefited from a quick graphic upgrade and maybe some extra rides or shops that weren't available in the original.