Festival Simulator Early Access Review (Steam)

First off, a quick shout out to Future Friends Games for hooking me up with a review code for the early access version of Festival Simulator through Woovit.

I don’t know about you, but I adore business management games. Ever since playing the likes of Theme Hospital as a child, the idea of setting up customer facing establishments to entice digital denizens to part with their cash has always managed to hook me.

When I first saw the simple low-poly graphics, I was a little underwhelmed. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this style, it’s just that after seeing so many games trying to pull this off, i’m getting a little burnout on seeing this. However, as each festival is set on its own piece of land, floating around in the void, I actually started to appreciate the cute, simple and interactive little diorama unfolding before my eyes. Something I can absolutely commend is the style of the marketing images. It includes some bold colours and some dynamic artwork. I particularly like the logo. 

A nice little touch is the fact that all the music featured in Festival Tycoon is made specifically for the game. This is reflected in the menu screen and also whilst the bands are playing. A small thing, but it does make sense, seeing as this is a game centered around the music industry. 

In short, the game looks and sounds good. There’s a decent gameplay loop a player can get into. It is tailored to promote experimentation and creativity. This is a double-edged sword though. Trying to optimize the layout of a festival is engaging, especially when working with the smaller spaces, but there’s only so much gameplay that can be derived from this. An objective based career mode would be nice. Maybe some kind of overarching narrative? I get that the overall goal is to build my company, but some other direction would help engage me further.  Something outside of just the difficulty options would be good. Maybe acquiring a prebuilt festival site that is struggling to attract visitors, and is in need of better management (the player)?

Luckily, as this game is still in development, there’s plenty of opportunity to improve the player experience. In fact, between the launch and the recording of this video, there’s already been several patches and updates. Settings have been tweaked, bugs have been squashed and certain themed items have been added too. All promising stuff. I’m personally hoping for more festival sites and more cosmetic items. The existing ones are a treat to play with but having more sites to play on, and more objects to customize said sites would be wonderful.

Overall, the early access version of Festival Simulator is a great little business management package. There is enough depth and customization as-is to keep me busy, and it is solid enough mechanically for me to recommend it. As with many early access games, if you go into the experience with tempered expectations, I think you will have a good time. I personally didn’t find any game-breaking bugs, although the visitors did have a nasty habit of bunching together and getting caught on decorations. I would recommend not building any Deer Stands near to a stage.

I am a big fan of supporting indie devs in their efforts to create a game, especially first-timers. I hope that this game is worked on, and becomes an even better one. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than logging back onto a game to see that additional scenarios or items have been added.

Published by Jamie Depledge

Digital & Multimedia Designer by day, Geeky Blogger by night.

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