I’ve had a long-lasting love for park simulators ever since I played Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon back in my younger years, so I’ll always try to check out any new release in the genre. I also just so happen to love dinosaurs, so having the two mixed together in Paraksaurus was already a big win for me before I even played it.
Thankfully, the game just so happens to be a LOT of fun to play too, with the enjoyable park management mechanics and vibrant visuals ensuring that players will be hooked onto their Nintendo Switch for hours on end.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The core gameplay mechanics of Parkasaurus revolve around running your own take on Jurassic Park. This means designing your park, bringing plenty of dinosaurs in to offer entertainment, ensuring they’re homed in the ideal space and kept happy, hiring staff to help maintain the park and look after the dinosaurs, customising the food you serve (with both its ingredients and cost), hatching dinosaur eggs to expand your collection of prehistoric creatures, researching additional data, and so forth. It takes the basics you would have already learnt in any other park simulator and given them a dinosaur-themed twist, with your resources and attractions expanding as you progress through the game and build up your park. The goal remains the same though: to make as much money as possible, all whilst ensuring every aspect of your park is kept in ship-shape.
There’s a lot for players to do and a surprising amount of depth across each mechanic, but never in an overwhelming sense that can feel laborious. In fact, Parkasaurus keeps things simple and fun, with all aspects of park management easy to handle and working in synchronisation with one another. Whether building the perfect habitat for your dinosaur, earning science points to expand your research, working out the perfect price to charge customers, or simply figuring out how to make sure your cashflow stays in the green, there’s a satisfying sense of balance to the game where it’s easy to manage each of the tasks at hand.
The game comes with two main modes: the campaign and the sandbox. The campaign essentially acts as a tutorial that teaches players the ins-and-outs of Parkasaurus, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out first. It takes players through multiple levels and gives them specific objectives to complete, so it’s an easy way to learn what you can do in the game and how exactly you do it. It’s rarely challenging and it did feel like it was a few levels longer than it needed to be, but it’s certainly the best starting point for players.
“Parkasaurus keeps things simple and fun, with all aspects of park management easy to handle and working in synchronisation with one another.”
Sandbox is where I had most of my fun, with players able to customise their own setup and create a park from scratch. You can tackle this in multiple ways: do you give yourself a strict budget and try to build up a park through successful management, or do you give yourself an unlimited budget and simply fill it up with your favourite dinosaurs? There’s plenty of freedom offered in the sandbox to play the game EXACTLY how you want to, with plenty of replay value offered by simply tinkering with the options you put in place.
With over twenty-four dinosaurs on offer, a wide array of exhibits, a plethora of customisation options for your park, and the ups-and-downs of park management to deal with, Parkasaurus will keep players hooked in for hours on end. I haven’t even mentioned things like having to deal with dinosaurs that break out and attack visitors (or the fact you can put hats on your dinosaurs which is ALWAYS cute), with the game full of little surprises that’ll keep you on your toes. It gives players everything they could possibly want to run a successful dinosaur park and I’m happy to report that the act of doing so never stops feeling rewarding and fun.
How does it hold up on the Nintendo Switch, though? Well, whilst there’s no doubting that games like this are typically best played with a keyboard and mouse, I found the controls to be adequate. They weren’t perfect and there were some moments of imprecision when trying to fine-tune small details, but modifying the terrain, placing exhibitions, and scrolling through menus was easy enough once I figured out the controls. The UI is fine and there are enough shortcuts on offer with button presses, so it works when being played with a controller.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It looks great too, with the game’s brightly coloured aesthetic especially popping out on the Nintendo Switch OLED’s handheld mode (which I spent most of my time playing). The game is simply oozing with colour and charm, whilst the cutesy designs of the dinosaurs give Parkasaurus a completely different vibe to similar releases such as Jurassic World Evolution. The only real issue I had is that the text size can be a little bit small when playing handheld and some of the menus could feel a little cumbersome to navigate thanks to all of the info they offered, though nothing is impossible to read so it’s hard to complain too much.
Parkasaurus offers a charming park management sim that looks great, is fun to play, and works well on the Nintendo Switch. I had a lot of fun running my own little Jurassic Park and dealing with the trials-and-tribulations that it brings, whilst the transition to console has been mostly successful (even if there are a few little niggles here and there with the controls).
I was pleasantly surprised at just how much the game hooked me in, and even now, over fifteen hours in, I’m still eagerly coming back for more. If you’re a fan of park management sims (or just love dinosaurs), you’ll REALLY want to check Parkasaurus out.
Developer: WashBear Studio
Publisher: WashBear Studio
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC