A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Sparse instructions can make the gameplay a little confusing to figure out.
Products & Purchases
Kids don't have to buy anything -- but the game will move more slowly if they don't.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Overcrowded: Tycoon is a simulation game for iOS and Android devices. It tosses kids into the game without too much thorough instruction -- a tutorial covers some general points, but they're then left to figure out what to do next without much guidance. Because the game involves a number of components, figuring that out can require some exploration. The emphasis on monitoring guests' reactions can reinforce the importance of valuing other people's feelings. But the reason kids are given for keeping guests happy, though, is because it will make them spend more at the Gift Shop, which doesn't really support a sense of altruistic compassion. Packages of gems, an in-app currency that can be used to buy coins that fund various upgrades and additions in the game, are sold within the app for $1.99 to $99.99. Technically, kids don't have to buy anything, but they might find the game moves faster and feels less stagnant at times if they do.
Is It Any Good?
While there's a fair amount of control over how the park is run, design and spending limitations, though, makes the experience feel less than exciting at times. Kids make numerous operational decisions in Overcrowded: Tycoon to adjust revenue and customer satisfaction. They need to keep an eye on visitors' state of mind, because some will get hungry, annoyed, or need things, which can affect their spending at the park. Waiting in long lines is a frequent point of contention. But kids also need to balance their available choices -- one of the game's admirably nuanced elements. Increasing an attraction's queue length, for instance, lets you serve more visitors, but the waiting time could increase. Adding more seats, on the other hand, can allow you to serve more people and reduce the waiting time. But the game doesn't give much guidance or prompting on operational aspects.
Players also have less autonomy over the park's layout and basic features. Structures can only be added in certain areas, and while smaller items, like trees, can be shifted, larger buildings aren't easily moved. That's frustrating since ideally, you want a layout that encourages people to stop by multiple things, which can be hard to plan when you aren't sure what the park will eventually feature. While the game doesn't force you to watch a ton of ads, there are subtler pushes to buy things, ranging from pop-up plugs for special deals to the cost of new attractions. If kids don't want to shell out for those items, their amusement park could have noticeable gaps in some places. Only one construction project can occur at a time, so kids may feel pressured to spend gems or money to speed it up. That means facing some delays while playing the game, due to building constraints and not having enough profits to fund a new attraction. Provided they're OK with waiting those instances out, though, Overcrowded: Tycoon offers some interesting -- and potentially enjoyable -- opportunities for strategizing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.