Indoorlands isn’t worried about a rainy day
There’s just something about themepark simulators that makes even the pickiest of gamers excited to sit down and lose track of time building rides, restaurants, and more. An obsession that exploded with titanic titles such as Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon, the themepark simulator genre is overwhelmingly beloved, with each new iteration making fans excited to micro-manage even the smallest details of their parks. And while it’s hard to beat a personal favorite, new games like Indoorlands are trying to create some real estate in our hearts… or, in the very least, our Steam libraries.
Released as a Steam Early Access title on July 14, 2021, Indoorlands is currently available for $13.99 with a slated price increase to $19.99 once fully actualized. Described on its Steam page as “the indoor park simulator where you can control your rides and freely design your halls,” Indoorlands promises all the fun of your favorite theme park simulator with the added bonus of central air. Boasting 8 different rides, 15 store and restaurant types, 15 hall types, 500 decoration objects, and 20 different expansion stages, Indoorlands is already off to a fun start — and it only gets better from here.
As it stands, Indoorlands currently only features one map, which serves as a decent tutorial level; however, that map can be played an infinite amount of times with each playthrough taking 4 – 10 (or more) hours, depending on how much you want to customize your park. Indoorlands works like any other theme park simulator where you’ll need to build rides and attractions to generate revenue, then use that revenue to further expand your park. The fact that it’s all indoors is handled by way of halls (rooms) and hallways — halls take up a set amount of space, while hallways connect them to each other. Players will place rides and decorative objects inside the halls, which serve to bolster the park’s attractiveness, then create winding hallways to allow parkgoers to traipse through the gigantic, interconnected building.
With set space requirements pitted against a limited amount of space, players will have to carefully tetris each park piece into the area. Sure, it might be fun to make enormous hallways with wide open pavilions, but when every inch means an opportunity for a ride, shop, or restaurant, sprawling spaces soon make way for smaller hallways if it means packing in one more fun thing to do. Where other themepark simulators seemed to allow players to build impossibly large rides and structures, Indoorlands uniquely asks players to carefully consider every last square inch in a fun and innovative way.
In addition to the careful placement of the halls, players are also encouraged to decorate them with different themes, such as Japanese, Viking, Space, or Western. Although players are more than welcome — even encouraged — to meticulously decorate each hall and hallways down to the very last detail, there’s also the option to simply use a preset blueprint that adheres to one of the available themes. I found this to be much more helpful in terms of trying to satisfy park guests, as the balancing act of keeping parkgoers happy is a delicate one.
Actually, let’s talk about that — the parkgoers have ideas on what’ll make them happy when it comes to their themepark needs, such as shops with quality and novelty, restaurants with a good menu and ambiance, and rides with complexity and intensity. As you gain research points and dump said points in attractions that deliver on the ambiance, novelty, and intensity, your themepark’s quality will increase. Kinda. I’m not going to lie, getting the needs balanced in a way that yields a high approval score is currently eluding me; my highest approval score that I could achieve was about 69% (nice). But how to get any higher? I’m not sure, and the game isn’t super forthcoming about telling me what I need to do.
In fact, I feel like that’s kind of the current theme underpinning this themepark simulator — the tutorial needs a little bit more work to really make Indoorlands shine. I freely admit it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to even open up my park, let alone strike a good balance in parkgoer needs. Once it got going, however, the extremely soothing music made Indoorlands a joy to get lost in. Despite its hiccups, Indoorlands has some great bones to it, and after exhausting the tutorial map for hours on end placing trees in the perfect places, I’m absolutely ready for more.
Be sure to check out Indoorlands on Steam Early Access today!