4 Best Management Video Games on Consoles – Player Feature
One reader recommends four of his favorite console management games, including Two Point Hospital, Planet Coaster, and Aven Colony.
There was a time in the 90s when the video game market was saturated with management games: Theme Park, Theme Hospital, Dungeon Keeper, SimCity, Championship Manager, and even SimAnt to name a few (seriously, the google management games of the 90s!). But with the rise of consoles, gamer habits have changed, those slower-paced business sims faded in favor of faster action-oriented titles.
Until the last few years, these types of games were relegated to the free mobile market, with every IP you can imagine having a version. Fortunately, these days have seen a resurgence of management games, especially on console, so here are four of my top picks:
Theme Hospital’s unofficial sequel spanned 21 years. You are tasked with opening a hospital and building it from scratch under increasingly difficult and bizarre circumstances while dealing with a variety of illnesses. Each level brings its own challenges when it comes to staff management and the placement of rooms for diagnosis and treatment, not to mention external factors such as natural disasters or epidemics.
The levels also introduce a new mechanic or disease to keep the gameplay fresh and have multiple goals to achieve. The different illnesses, which are slowly being introduced, come with the same sense of humor that the thematic hospital was known for. Does the patient have a bulb for his head? Must be stunning. Take a walk, look like a character from the NES? It could be bitten. Time-consuming and addicting, the only real downside is that when pushing towards completing the three stars, much of the game is spent fast-forwarding while waiting for the objectives to be completed.
Responsible for establishing a colony in a new solar system, this could best be described as SimCity in space. Unlike many management games that tend to be instance-based, this one has a narrative that runs through all levels. By no means a space opera, it makes a welcome change to the usual way management games work, as the story is about adapting to a new world, its challenges, and maybe even an alien impostor among the crew. .
Aven Colony also has some new building ideas. Instead of laying roads and water pipes separately, the two are combined into transport tubes from which your settlers can travel and also implement an air quality level. Water and food are always needed, but once placed, a farm or water pump will usually take care of itself. The levels offer a range of different environments and circumstances as well as the ability to build multiple bases. Again, like with Two Point Hospital, later levels turn into a waiting game when it comes to certain tasks.
Underside of planet
Like Theme Park and the RollerCoaster Tycoon series before it, Planet Coaster takes everything you could want in a builder and expands them to let you create the theme park of your dreams. The game offers a wide variety of rides, shops, and roller coasters to choose from, as well as a robust editor to create any roller coaster you can imagine. Add to that a variety of decor themes and place objects and it is quite possible to create a professional looking theme park in no time even with minimal management games experience.
The levels have three separate objectives to achieve during the campaign and I have found that they offer a wide variety of challenges, without two levels feeling the same and straddling that line between difficult and achievable. It also avoids leaving the game fast forward, which many management games suffer from. The game offers an online marketplace for sharing creations, with many real-world rides available for download.
Evolution of Jurassic Park
Probably the best Jurassic Park game since the ’93 SNES version and the one that is long overdue. You finally have the chance to build your own Jurassic Park, featuring all the dinosaurs from movies past and present and even the option to let the dinosaurs fight. The main campaign features narration from Jeff Goldblum, with the DLC adding the rest of the original cast and letting you create parks on different islands.
While maintaining a steady income is foremost, tropical storms will wreak havoc on your trapped dinosaurs. When they inevitably escape, you can either order the AI to take them down or do it yourself, which adds a slight element of action on top of the building. The structure of the mission can be a bit odd, having to juggle three distinct aspects of the park at once with a chance of sabotage for letting one of the areas fall out of favor. The only real downside is that the building designs are a bit bland and it’s not always easy to decipher which building is which from a distance.
By reader Hollinho
Player functionality does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
MORE: The 5 Best Gambling Moments Of My Life – Player Feature
MORE: There Is No Originality In Video Games – Player Feature
MORE: Why You Should Be Proud Of The Game And Your Caveman – Reader’s Feature
For more stories like this, check out our Games page.