Parkitect: Deluxe Edition Review (Xbox) – Parki-defect

Theme parks are awesome. Walking through the gates as a kid, having stood in line for hours, to finally be greeted with the gargantuan coasters and whimsical sights. Nobody is unhappy in a theme park. Well, except for the one kid who’s throwing up from eating too much sugar and trying a ride they knew they shouldn’t. Despite the odd thought of a ride going off the tracks or a Final Destination disaster occurring, theme parks are a wondrous place to be.

Parkitect, having first released in 2018 on PC, is a relaxing and light-hearted theme park building game. Hitting Xbox consoles in the grand old year of 2024, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition bundles the base game with all of its DLC content. You might be thinking this is a slam dunk, a Universal Studios or Disneyland ease of wish-fulfillment. I certainly thought so. The strange part is, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition is exactly that. Except for when it’s not.

While the rides, the atmosphere, the construction and the management of my fantasy dream parks were extraordinary spectacle riding high into the sky, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition’s porting issues and disastrous save problems would have it fall foul of every health and safety regulation known to mankind. Better strap in, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Fatal Attractions

Before I get to how my over-the-shoulder restraints came loose mid-ride, I want to explain why Parkitect: Deluxe Edition is such an appealing rollercoaster. Firstly, the park construction itself is wonderful. You create your own coasters, including the depth of turns, nauseating drops and you can customise them to your liking.

From pleasant jaunts for kids seeking a nice adrenaline starting point, to all out behemoths adorned with loop-de-loops, Parkitect nails the thrill of rollercoasters. Just don’t forget to put brakes at the end of the ride, otherwise the results are… well, not ideal. Don’t ask me how I know. You manually construct each coaster to maximise the thrill and intensity, while other rides are presets, like the carousel.

As with any theme park tycoon, you spend a lot of time setting pathways, placing amenities, ensuring coverage of decorations and essentials for your park-goers. The available options are a delight and you’ll be provided with different sets of everything depending on the level and location you’re creating on. Watching on as your 500 Mii-esque entertainment-seeking guests roam around in your carefully (or haphazardly) thrown together park is a delight.

You’ll need to hire staff to manage the maintenance of both rides and the park itself, while also ensuring there’s infrastructure to meet its needs. Much of this is thankfully streamlined and easy to do, unlike more cumbersome, micro-management heavy titles like Planet Zoo. I never quite got the hang of the terraforming and different elevations though. Ended up with a massive pipeline right through one of my parks, what an eyesore.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition review

Park-fect Score

You’ll be building these parks across a multitude of levels in Parkitect’s campaign, which is where the DLC and “deluxe” part of the package comes in. The original release had 26 missions, now with an added 10 from one of the expansions. It’s a lot of content, especially as you can pour hours into just a single park at a time.

What I appreciated about Parkitect: Deluxe Edition’s design however, is that you don’t have to toil for years to move on. I’m not a creative soul, the word artist is banned from being in the same sentence as my name. My parks are functional and fulfilling, nothing more. Luckily, the objectives for levels helpfully accommodate people like me. Hit X amount of guests, sell Y amount of tickets, straightforward.

You can continue any level in sandbox mode upon completion, and you’re awarded tokens for both completion and achieving the optional sub-goals. These are usually to complete the main objectives in a year or two, things like that. It’s a good incentive to keep you progressing and working through multiple parks. Using different ride compositions, paying for advertisements, taking loans, all of these elements come into play across different missions.

Quite honestly, I loved it. In my first sitting I polished off two parks. Not only was I having fun, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition felt like a great way to sink dozens of hours, and the potential lying ahead of me had a higher peak than The Stealth ride at Thorpe Park. For the same reason I refused to go on that ride however, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition has one of the most hideous drops awaiting you at the top.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition review

De-Flux Edition

I’m not going to beat around the preverbal Twister here, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition has major technical issues. The kind that would be in a BBC Panorama episode level of serious. Up to this point, you’d have expected the game to be sailing into a high 8 or even a 9 score, cruising into the sky like flailing limbs on the world’s highest coaster.

Screeching my progress to an early halt however, was the save problems. Parkitect: Deluxe Edition was always doing one of three things:

  1. Deleting my entire campaign save whenever I logged off the game, requiring me to restart from scratch (four times this happened).
  2. Deleting everything from a park, including default buildings and even the menu interfaces when loading a save.
  3. Presenting me with a blue screen and no means of doing anything when trying to load a campaign level fresh (because my current one’s save had bugged from #2).

Couple of major hiccups here – either all of my progress was getting wiped, or when it wasn’t, the game was effectively bricked and I couldn’t move forward, meaning I’d have to reset to be able to play. It’s a technical disaster, and meant I could never get past the first few half dozen missions, despite plugging hours into the game hoping it would be rectified. I even waited until after launch for further patches.

While the campaign save wiping was fixed, the other two were not. Quite simply, I wasn’t starting all over for the 5th time. Parkitect: Deluxe Edition has suffered a catastrophic failure in its port to Xbox, and I don’t know if this ride will even re-open with some much-needed maintenance.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition review

Rollercoaster Ty-fool

Even when Parkitect: Deluxe Edition isn’t flying off the tracks like the test rides in my theme parks, it can make for an uncomfortable experience on console. The bodies of guests will straight up disappear if you zoom out to an even mid-way distance with the camera. Controls can be awkward and fiddly, making placing decorations for example a chore.

Even crafting a coaster can be tiresome, owing to how obnoxious the selection system can be. If the save and progress issues weren’t so dire, these would be minor niggles that wouldn’t really detract from the overall experience, but in tandem, it creates a motivation-sapping atmosphere to playing. You know like when the shoulder restraints just dig in that little bit too tightly? That’s what these issues are.

It’s that much more devastating that Parkitect: Deluxe Edition looks and sounds so wonderful. The eruption of noise as your guests descend into an underground tunnel at speed, the joyous sight of queues picking up at one of your especially well-crafted coasters. Even the way the cartoon art style captures the sense of excitement of a theme park is superb.

On the desert map you can adorn your park with all manner of wild west props, allowing each of your parks to feel distinct. At night, the shimmer of lights excels and when the rain comes thumping down, you’ll cringe as your park grinds to a halt. Were it not for the technical performance, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition would be one of the best theme park management games in the business.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition review

Closed For Maintenance

Alas, instead this port has suffered the worst kind of theme park fate: being shut down as a hazard to health. As I said before, if the fundamental saving debacle can be fixed in future (which I feel dubious that it can), this is an easy eight or nine out of ten video game. The core gameplay, presentation and pure entertainment that it has instilled is fantastic.

Sadly, I can’t even confirm if the game can keep up this quality threshold past the first 10 levels. It very well may do, but after over a dozen hours of repeating the same missions, I’ve lost my trust that my time won’t be wasted once again. Perhaps Parkitect: Deluxe Edition needed a bit more time for quality assurance testing? Who knows, but I do know that I wouldn’t trust a ride to keep me safe if it had broken down on 5-6 occasions in one day.

I’m genuinely disheartened that such a good game has gotten such a broken, poor port onto Xbox. However, I can only review the version of the game I have. Unfortunately, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition falls apart at the very first hurdle of safety testing. A case of a wonderful game completely undermined by its core instability.

A rollercoaster of such highs only to be undone by flying straight off the tracks, Parkitect: Deluxe Edition has too many game-breaking issues to recommend taking a chance on. Its building gameplay, visual and sound design set it to a rip-roaring start, just so the technical performance and save-deletion issues cause this entire ported rollercoaster to derail.

Parkitect: Deluxe Edition is available now on PC, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One (review platform), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Developer: Texel Raptor
Publisher: BlitWorks Games

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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  • It’s a shame to hear that the port to console has gone so badly – I’ve played this on PC since it first came out and think it’s one of the best games of its kind around and, fortunately, Aspyr’s port for Mac was far more successful. Hoping they can get the bugs worked out (if they can) because it really is worth the effort to have it on as many platforms as possible.

    • I couldn’t agree more. There’s such a wonderful game lurking underneath all of the issues I encountered. Fingers crossed they can get them all worked out like you said, it’ll be quite the game once it’s in working order!

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