Review: Sim Theme Park World - Macenstein

Review: Sim Theme Park World

Posted by Helper Monkey

“A review of Sim Theme Park World?� you may ask yourself. “Why not just review Zork?�.

OK, you have a point. This game came out in late 1999, I’ll admit it. So why am I writing a review of this? Simple.


A couple months back I had the misfortune of being assigned to review Feral Interactive’s Black & White Platinum Pack. I will not dredge up my issues with that title here, other than to say, I was less than pleased with the game. However, Feral had also sent me another Peter Molyneux-designed game, Sim Theme Park World to review as well. After B&W, I admit I had little hope for STPW, but I am happy to say, as much as I DISLIKED B&W, that’s how much I LIKE Sim Theme Park World.

Sim Theme Park World is the 3D sequel to Theme Park, a 2D amusement park simulation game that was ahead of its time (and to be honest, ahead of the available system requirements of many machines at the time). This game is simply known as Theme Park World outside of the US, and as far as I can tell, the word “Sim� was tacked on the front to sort of cash in on the success of the “The SIMS� franchise, as this game has no direct similarities to The SIMS.

The game puts you in the role of the owner of a series of different amusement parks, each with a unique theme, such as Halloween World, Lost Kingdom (think Jurassic Park), Wonderland (as in “Alice in�), and Space Zone. While each world tailors its look and feel to its specific theme, for the most part Sim Theme Park World is really 1 game with 4 skins. Managing a hamburger stand in Halloween World isn’t really any different from managing one in Space Zone.

This does not make for a boring game playing experience however, due largely to the introduction of 3D to the franchise. Not only can you zoom in on your park from your “god-like� perch, but you can enter a 1st person point of view, allowing you to walk around your park and see it as your guests do. You can even ride the rides you build! This is really fun, and puts a very nice twist on the rollercoaster simulation genre.

Incidentally, the first thing you will notice when walking around your park is that the guests consist solely of children. The lack of parents in this game is likely more than a result of lazy game designers. Unsupervised children make for a challenging theme park managing experience. You will need to be sure you have enough janitors stationed near your park’s restrooms and near your more vomit-inducing rides. You will need security guards and cameras throughout the park to keep unruly children from setting off stink bombs as well.

The graphics in Sim Theme Park World are pretty well done, especially considering they are 6 years old. All 4 worlds are bright and colorful, and each have some inventive visuals that set them apart. If I have any complaints, it is that many of the textures don’t hold up when zoomed in, like in the 1st person view. The creators took a much looser approach to this game than other simulation games like Roller Coaster Tycoon. If you are looking for realistic physics, you will have to look elsewhere. Sim Theme Park World dumbed down the ride building aspect of the game a bit, but the result is a game that is easier to get into. Most rides come pre-built, but you can add to them. STPW is more about designing the entire park as whole than focusing on specific rides.

How to Play

The object of the game is simple: make as much money as you can. To do this, you will need to figure out how to get your guests to spend as much money as possible, while you spend as little as possible. Running a successful theme park ain’t cheap, however. In addition to buying the latest rides and attractions, you will need to hire ride staff, janitors, mechanics, and security to keep the park humming. To help offset this, you can set up gift shops, food stands, and sideshows. You can play with the prices you charge for all these things, trying to find the perfect balance between gouging your customers for every cent they have, and delivering an enjoyable experience which may lead to repeat business.

Getting into the game is easy. As with Black And White, you are guided through the game by an advisor, but unlike Black and White, the learning process doesn’t take forever. Initially, you only have access to 2 of the 4 differently themed amusement parks, but fortunately, they are the 2 most enjoyable. Halloween World is the best, closely followed by the Lost Kingdom. To access the other 2 parks (Wonderland and Space Zone) you need to collect a certain amount of “Golden tickets�. These tickets are rewarded for meeting certain goals, such as selling enough of a certain type of food in your stands in asset time, or achieving a certain park attendance.


The biggest drawback to me in reviewing this game is it is technically an OS 9 (or, let’s be honest, OS 8.6) game. While I have “Classic� installed on my home machine, I haven’t had an OS 9 partition on it for about 3 years. However, in poking around Feral’s site, I found there was a patch released in 2003 which makes the game compatible with OS X (10.1.5). So after installing that I was good to go.

Any other issues I had with the game really were minor, and due largely to the fact that the game felt just a bit dated. For example, the game runs at 800×600. This was a necessity back in 1999, but nowadays, that is a bit lame.

There is also an online aspect to STPW, but it is limited to uploading your parks to the web, and viewing parks other player have created. This may appeal to some players, but I didn’t find t to be all that intriguing.

Finally, the price is just a bit high. Feral is asking $30 for STPW, and I would say it is a $19.95 title given its age.


Still, when all is said and done, STPW is pretty fun, and truly a game the whole family can play. The fact that I can say that about a 6 ½ year-old game says something about it. While I don’t know that I would recommend hard-core Mac gamers rush out to buy this game, I DO think it would be a hit with kids around 9-13 years old. The game concept and execution is solid, and I would thoroughly expect any future sequel of Sim Theme Park World to kick butt.

Sim Theme Park / World

Price: $30
Rating (2006): 6.9 out of 10
Rating (if it were 1999): 8.9 out of 10

Pros: Great concept, pretty nice graphics, easy to pick up and get going

A bit dated, lack of real physics and cartoony graphics may throw off hard-core roller coaster sim fans, price just a tad high.

8 Responses to “Review: Sim Theme Park World”
  1. raed says:

    I need a free download sim theme park now

  2. I would like to play a trial game of Sim Theme park World before I buy it.
    I want to see if it is any good.

  3. solara says:

    i wanna play the game before i see it 2 cuz theres no point of buying it if u dont lyk it i think u should be able 2 play every game before buying it

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    I actually really enjoyed this game. It may be old and the graphics are so so but it was really fun to play! ^^

  6. anonymous says:

    it was crap

  7. saed says:

    i need sim theme park world download pleace

  8. cc says:

    Try this tons of free sim theme park stuff its free

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