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Amusing, but with a pinch

All that you need to know about : Overcrowded Tycoon by ZeptoLab

Rajit Pimpale   |   Published 04.07.22, 04:53 AM

GAME: Overcrowded Tycoon by ZeptoLab

GENRE: Simulation, management



In 1999, a game called Roller Coaster Tycoon became a worldwide hit. In it, you build and manage an amusement park in great detail and make sure your guests are happy. From the makers of Cut the Rope comes Overcrowded Tycoon, which takes inspiration from that classic but is a much-simplified version.

Overcrowded Tycoon starts you off with an empty theme park and some initial capital. After you build a ride, the guests arrive in batches, pay you money for the rides and then leave. As you level up, you can build more attractions, set up popcorn stalls, add decorations and even hire clowns. Your goal is to expand and make the guests happy (who thus spend more money) before they leave your fun land. But there’s some strategy involved. 

The guests are independent individuals with their names and moods. To get the maximum revenue, you have to make most of your guests happy. Long waiting queues for rides? You’ve got yourself some angry guests who now hate everything and will ask for refunds. Your ride was too intense for some guests? They’re now nauseous and don’t want to ride anywhere else. But what’s a business without problems? Being a capitalistic genius, you can strategically place clowns near the crowded rides, who give free balloons to the angry guests and make them happy. By building enough lavatories around your most intense rides, you can make sure that your nauseated guests get ready for another round. There are other emotions like hunger and fun levels that you can manage by placing eateries and rides.

But there are some pretty glaring issues with Overcrowded Tycoon. The obvious one is that as more customers flock to your park, the game starts lagging and heating even the powerful smartphones. And for a game that’s about building, the experience of accurately placing tiny items on a tiny grid isn’t exactly terrific. Even if the game is in portrait mode, it cannot be played with a single hand because of too much clutter.

Overcrowded Tycoon feels more like an idle clicker game than a simulator. To get more money, you need to upgrade every facility, and every upgrade will cost exponentially more. This isn’t a problem. But aggressively pinching the players to make them pay real money is. The balance between strategy and stats is off, and your strategy will barely matter if you don’t upgrade. Withholding that progress even when you have coins while badgering you with offers to pay real money can get frustrating fairly quickly. Luckily, the ads are completely optional but too scarce to provide much value.

VERDICT: Overcrowded Tycoon is brilliant in concept. It beautifully yet casually delivers the Roller Coaster Tycoon experience, which was a massively complex game. The loop of watching your park grow and hundreds of customers come in is addictive and fun for hours, but is only hampered by the game’s demand to pay at every turn. I rate it six out of 10.


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