Derivative of RollerCoaster Tycoon, Skateboard Park Tycoon attempts to cash in on the popularity of skateboarding and business sim games, but combines them without much concern for the overall effect. Skateboard Park Tycoon will obviously appeal to fans of extreme sports more than casual players, but most everyone will leave the game feeling just a bit bored. The dictionary lists a tycoon as "a businessperson of great wealth and power; magnate" -- running a skateboard park? Not likely, at least from the "power" aspect.
A brief tutorial helps to some degree, but you're essentially just cut loose to begin building skate parks. The variety of ramps, half-pipes, rails and other equipment available is impressive, but there is little guidance provided in terms of combining these elements. Most players will quickly understand the "how to" aspects of putting a park together, but unfortunately waste quite a bit of money before figuring out exactly what they're doing.
You also have to be concerned with other services, such as medical attention, bathrooms, selling drinks and food, and merchandise stands, but all seem like afterthoughts in terms of building the park. These elements may contribute to the challenge, but so much of the focus is on constructing a well-laid out park with a good system of equipment that worrying about your skaters' thirst is just a distraction.
Controlling individual skaters and having them perform tricks is possible, but the controls are a bit hard to master. The better the tricks you're able to perform, the better the park becomes, but you don't get enough of a sense of satisfaction to bother attempting them.
Skateboard Park Tycoon moves slowly, and though watching the skaters skateboard around the park is somewhat entertaining at times, the dull color palette doesn't provide enough visual stimulation to hold much interest for long stretches. The background music from pop-punk band Formula 1 gets repetitive very quickly since only three songs are featured. Gameplay is best approached in small doses, but mustering the enthusiasm to return repeatedly is difficult.
In reality, Skateboard Park Tycoon is a bit misguided. Many of the elements are good, but don't combine well into a game worthy of long-term play. It's a nice try, but one that ultimately adds nothing to either skateboarding or business sim style games.
Graphics: The graphics are nothing extraordinary and the dim colors don't help much either, but the overall presentation is passable and depicts a skateboarding park well enough.
Sound: The music by Formula 1 is good, though too limited. The sound effects are appropriate and unobtrusive.
Enjoyment: Gameplay is fairly slow with limited appeal, but is easy enough to get into. Maintaining interest is a problem.
Replay Value: The game doesn't have much in the way of diversity and the premise is a bit simple. Casual gamers won't find much cause for long term play.
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