Steam Gaming: Festival Tycoon

Posted on November 21, 2023 by Aywren

Festival Tycoon is a game where you set up your own music festivals, sell the tickets, then launch the event to see how it all comes together… or doesn’t. I’ve had my eye on this little indie game for a while because the idea seems like it would be a lot of fun.

I got it on sale, though I’ve seen it for even cheaper than what I bought it for, so I assume you can pick it up for a good deal if you wait long enough. However, I’m kinda on the fence about whether I fully enjoy the game or not.

Each festival is all about the setup. There’s a pretty good tutorial that helps to walk you step by step through setting up your first festival – I played this map twice, just to get the overall idea of things. You prepare by setting up the grounds, the stage, the fun activities, the food, the services (like trash, emergency, and security).

You hire the bands and secure sponsorships. You set up the advertising and try to please both sponsors and the bands. You then set ticket prices, sell early birds if you like…

Then, once all is set up and done, you push the play button and the festival actually begins.

The first time around, I didn’t understand how to station my workers at points across the festival area. There was a pop-up instruction about this, but it wasn’t explained in the tutorial (despite being crucial), so I struggled during my first festival with trash and manually moving medical help when it was called for – that sort of thing.

When I figured out that I could station the different workers individually on my second festival, things went a little better. Except, no matter how well my janitors took care of the grounds, the social media stream still complained it was too dirty. Go figure.

The part that makes me hesitate to suggest this game is the full-on micromanaging you have to do once the festival is live. I guess the devs thought you needed stuff to do while the clock was ticking, but I find it a little annoying that I just want to sit back and watch the bands play and the attendees enjoying themselves… only, I can’t.

Nope. That toilet just clogged for the 20th time in a day. Or the food cart needs resupplying. Or the attraction broke down.

I swear the stuff you rent out in this game must be the worst constructed quality as much as they break, clog, and need attention to keep running. Even at the slowest 1x speed, I’m scrambling to keep up with fixing things as they break down, or restocking things (which I could understand restocking) as food or tissue run out.

This is a constant thing for the whole actual playtime of the festival. Trying to take a screenshot of the band playing on the stage for this post, for example, was hard to slide in between the constant breakdowns everywhere else. But you have to do it, or the attendees and the band will grouch at you, and your reputation with sponsors and as a festival company can drop for the season.

There are some interesting ideas – like how bands and sponsors change from season to season as things grow more or less popular. But, overall, the aspects of setup and management are really overshadowed by the toilet breaking yet again once the festival is rolling.

I’m not sure if better facilities break less often, or if there’s something I can do to make this less tedious. I can’t imagine trying to host an event at a bigger festival area!

Not to mention, once you hit Play and the festival is on the roll, there’s no going back to planning. If you put something somewhere that you realize just isn’t working out – such as an ATM machine that’s backing up an area with a line – tough cookies. You’re stuck with it… which I don’t think is fully realistic. Things can be moved around after a festival starts IRL – maybe not the big stuff, but the little things should be.

So, yeah. I haven’t decided what I feel about this game just yet. Maybe I need to keep pushing through the career mode to see if the micromanaging gets better as I go along. I didn’t particularly dislike it, I just felt that the game was tossing me menial tasks in order to keep me busy, which isn’t an appealing gaming loop, and not what I expected the game to be about.

*|* {November} *|* {2023} *|* {Steam Gaming} *|*