Review: Festival Tycoon
By: L. Sahara McGirt (DarthSagaSwag)
Developer: Dreihaus aka Johannes Gäbler
Publisher: Johannes Gäbler, Future Friends Games
Available on: PC - Steam, Epic Games Store
Have you ever wanted to run a music festival? Is it your dream to plan the next Coachella? Well, Festival Tycoon is here to give you a taste of music festival management. Whether you become the next Lollapalooza or you flame out as hard as Fyre Festival comes down to you and how you manage your festival.
Festival Tycoon was created by solo-developer Johannes Gäbler and later a team of 6 led by him. A self-professed lover of music and music festivals, he wondered what managing a music festival takes. Festival Tycoon is his answer to that, and what a fun answer it is.
Festival Tycoon allows players to design their very own music festival, from planning the layout of their festival grounds to choosing sponsors and the bands that will play at the festival. The whole point? To ensure that your company remains profitable as you put on festival after festival. As well as put on the best festival, you can think of.
The gameplay of Festival Tycoon is pretty straightforward. The game starts with picking out a logo, name, and color for your company that will be putting on festivals. The game has two modes: Career and Sandbox mode. Sandbox mode is great for figuring out how to design the most effective festival layout. Career mode is where you build up your reputation as a music festival management company and build up festival scores that go up on a leaderboard with other festivals run by other players. This is great if you want to see how you measure up against everyone else giving festival management simulation a try.
Starting out is easy. Pick out the smaller festival venue, which costs nothing to use. Then get to work putting together a festival. The tutorial makes it fairly easy to learn what you need to focus on when planning. Once planned and laid out, pick your sponsors who will have certain criteria you'll have to meet to please them. Choose your bands (they'll also have some requirements of their own.) and put them on a lineup schedule. Then figure out your ticket prices by selling a handful of early bird tickets and seeing how quickly or slowly people buy them. Once that's done, fire up and let the festivities begin.
Once you hit play, that's where the fun or the disaster begins. I learned fairly quickly how much space some objects really need despite the tutorial as the little nondescript NPCs got stuck in spots. Toilets and stands also break down, and the festival venue is constantly getting dirtied up. A social feed keeps you up-to-date on what is being said about your festival. The biggest complaint I read in my own festivals was about the trashiness of the festival grounds, and keeping up with cleanup while simultaneously managing any breakdowns, medical or security issues is not easy. Once I figured out a rhythm, though, festival management was fairly easy.
After a festival is completed in career mode, you get a rundown of how you did and whether or not the festival was profitable. The fun part about career mode is the events that happen after a festival. Some sponsors will suddenly face financial hardships, limiting their fund availability. Bands shoot up to stardom, raising their booking costs, and others lose some of their fame, dropping them down to the lower ranges. This keeps Festival Tycoon dynamic as you set up more festivals.
I recommend doing several small festivals before moving on to larger festivals to get a good idea of the best ways to plan your space and build up your reputation as a festival manager as well as grow your funds. Smaller festivals are also more profitable because the small festival space costs nothing to use.
While the aesthetics of the game were an interesting choice, I enjoyed the simplified style. As your festival goes on, the constant movement that happens is less distracting with the mostly nondescript NPCs running around. However, this can become a problem when finding your employees, such as medics, security, and janitors. While they have arrows above them to help point them out, singling out the correct NPC while festival attendees are running around can get irritating to do.
I also encountered some bugs while playing, but this game is in early access and made by a small team, so I can forgive them that. One of the biggest and most annoying bugs I encountered were when medical issues came up, and the game would say a medic was fixing an NPC up, and the medic and NPC would somehow get stuck in a perpetual 'executing' state. I also couldn't clean up certain spots on the map no matter how much I tried to use the sweeping tool to help with cleanup. Leaving my festival in a never-ending state of dirtiness.
However, these bugs are not consistent, and getting rid of them is a simple matter of exiting to the main menu and then restarting your festival. The game, for the most part, runs smoothly.
More to Come
Festival Tycoon is a fairly addictive game. Once a festival starts, it doesn't take long to figure out if it will be successful or not. It's certainly not a simulation you can just let run and walk away from, but it comes up with enough interesting events to keep you engaged. It looks like more content will be coming in the future, so I will be checking back in later and making more festivals.
I might also do a disaster run of a festival to see what happens. For now, I give Festival Tycoon a 7.9 out of 10. I would give it an 8, but it needs a little more polishing.
P.S. Festival Tycoon is a nice $9.99. Get it now!
Future Friends Games provided the Steam code for Festival Tycoon for this review.