AGE RATING WARNING
This game is rated PEGI 16 & ESRB Mature 17+
It contains content not suitable for younger gamers and may contain themes not suitable for other gamers.
About The Game
A day at the park... a lost teddy bear... a missing child. As the sun sets over Atlantic Island Park, you must explore its dilapidated rides in search of your son, Callum. As darkness falls, you will experience panic and paranoia through a narrative written by a team of award winning storytellers.
In the real world I’m not much of a theme park guy, I’m banned from a variety of rides on medical grounds and had almost zero interest in them before that either.
But the pull of a good horror story always draws me in and the sight of the sinister looking chipmunk in the cover picture up top meant I absolutely had to give this one a shot. (The smallest things draw me in sometimes)
Psychological horror seems to be all the rage these days and probably rightly so after you’ve seen a couple of gore movies or played a couple of blood filled games there really is nothing to really make you jump.
The game centres on a parent losing a child in a dark and lonely amusement park.
It’s a decent premise, as a parent I can at least partially get into the mindset that my oldest son was “lost” (We’ll ignore the part where this kid ran off) alone in a dark theme park all alone and how anxious I would be to find him.
This story however quickly goes much deeper than a parents urge to find a child and takes us on a journey through her own state of mind and issues from the past.
There aren’t enough scares in the game for me personally, even with the setting toned down to be very dark, playing at 1am in the morning and wearing headphones I played through the entire game waiting for that one moment where just out of nowhere something would make me jump back but for me personally it never arrived.
There are those moments there of course and I don’t doubt there are a few areas that will catch out a good number of players when they aren’t expecting it but for someone who has a lot experience with these types of games & films they largely seemed fairly predictable.
A nice warm welcome to the park, My one regret is not getting to know Chad a better he seems so much fun.
The story is well told through a number of voice over’s triggered as you reach certain points in the parks map. (Usually just after or before one of the rides)
Hitting the O button means you can call out to your son making your character a little more nervous at times but also showing points of interest you could perhaps otherwise miss.
I mostly liked pressing it because it added more realism to the game she had just lost her son in the theme park of course she’s going to call out to him.
Though perhaps she shouldn’t be getting on quite so many rides.
There are a total of 5 rides plus sideshow alley & the house of horrors.
3 of the rides (swan, octopus & Ferris wheel) are completely optional and can be skipped entirely but personally I’d recommend going on all 3.
The bumper car rides can’t actually be ridden (even though there is a trophy for riding them, you’ll still get it when you clear the area don’t worry)
The roller coaster can also be walked past but to progress the story all the way to the end you will have to get on it at some point.
Sideshow alley can also be skipped though you’d have to go the long way around if you did so I’d suggest going through as the game intends.
The house of Horrors serves as the game’s final location and like the roller coaster must be entered into in order to see the game through to completion.
Some of the narrative by the mother in the game is excellent.
It raises plenty of questions about her state of mind and even her ability to be a parent at all but everything is woven together for the games ending which we won’t be spoiling here other than to say I was very pleased with how it turned out though I feel there was perhaps scope for 2 endings depending on some of the choices made.
Look for lost child or ride the swan boat of course we know what all rational parents would choose.
There are issues that depending on your gaming preferences may or may not affect you.
Firstly it’s short as in you’ll almost certainly beat it in under 90 minutes short even if you occasionally wander from the beaten track it’s all pretty much a one way system and you’ll be at the end sooner rather than later.
Secondly there are notes, paper clippings and other things dotted throughout the park.
They go a long way to filling in back stories and making the game a more complete and immersive package.
Finding them (which is mostly optional a couple do make things in the park happen) is relatively simple and most are along your natural path.
But I had a big problem when it came to reading them.
The text on the vast majority of them is tiny, while I admit I don’t have the best eyesight in the world even sat close to the tv was a struggle which is a shame because if players decide to skip reading the extracts the end story will make much less sense.
Thirdly the park isn’t really much of a game at all more like an interactive story.
You can move the character around and interact with various objects but it always feels more like your being told a story than making one happen.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course but again it will depend on your individual gaming preference.
If you’re looking for a horror game that will have you running for your survival you aren’t going to find it here.
From the look of the swan it didn't approve of us choosing the ride over the child!
Mild psychological scares to be had by those more prone to little shocks and jumps.
Well written story.
A theme park provides a good setting for what will unfold.
I have a real soft spot for Chad.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Note text is far too small
The game can be beaten in under an hour.
It’s a fairly liner experience that requires you the player to do little more than follow the path.
There are plenty of notes and bits of paper to read but the text size might mean a lot of people don't.
The game would have benefitted from the addition of at least a couple more rides and an extension play time of the overall story.
Those that skip the notes and news paper clippings due to the small text on many of them may well reach the end of the game still not quite fully understanding exactly what’s going on and that’s a shame.
But despite these short comings I still really enjoyed my time in the park, so much so prior to this review I’ve actually been through the game 4 times.
I ‘d be reluctant to call it an actual game based on how little you actually do but I enjoyed the story and making Gema Jump at certain points in the game so there are some frights to be had by some.
I’d definitely agree with the games creators and play this on in the dark and if possible with the head phones plugged in.
These sort of games lend a lot to atmosphere and playing it in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon (as I did for filming below) really don’t have the same impact.
We'll never be posting any game endings during these previews and we'll try to keep as many spoilers as possible out of sight.
But obviously your watching a video of a game you probably don't own and there might be things here you don't want to see viewing is always your own choice.
This game comes with an age rating and as such the age rating is applied to this You Tube Video.
A review copy of the game was provided by Funcom and reviewed in accordance with the review policy.