I’ve been waiting for the release of Festival Tycoon 1.0 for a while now. I first played this very cool title from indie dev Johannes Gabler back in April 2021 and have been enjoying it since it entered Steam Early Access. It left early access on the 4th May and is now available on both Steam and Epic Stores.
Old Time Rock And Roll
The basics of the game haven’t changed since I first played it. Each festival has a build phase and a festival phase. The build phase is where I spent most of my time. It’s where you set up your accommodation, add facilities (food, drink, sideshows), amenities (toilets, shows, ATMs), optional workers (janitors, medics, bouncers), stages for performances as well as decorations to make the place look the part. This is also where you book bands and schedule them. If you find yourself running low on cash, you can sell some early bird tickets or bring on sponsors.
The festival phase is where you hit the go button and people start arriving. As they do you’ll have events that happen, like fights breaking out, people needing medical assistance or welcoming bands as they arrive. Your festival will also get messy, and you’ll need to clean up the rubbish. This is where your workers come in handy as they can be assigned to specific areas and will deal with these events if they are close by.
This Is The New Shit
Festival Tycoon 1.0 still has this core, but it’s much more polished now and has a lot more items you can use. One of the workers that has been added since is Management. They will welcome bands and assign them an RV if the need one and one is available.
The number of decorations has increased dramatically. I’m generally a more function over form type of person so decorations generally don’t interest me. In Festival Tycoon 1.0 they increase the beauty of your festival bringing more enjoyment to visitors. Some even reduce the noise of nearby accommodations, improving the quality.
Go Your Own Way
Festival Tycoon 1.0 still has the two modes, Career and Sandbox. Career mode is just a lot of fun. You can choose a map for your festival. Most cost money to hire, but there’s one that doesn’t so if you’re short on cash you can always use that one. In between festivals you get notifications of things that have happened, like a particular band doing something silly so their popularity decreases, or a sponsor announcing massive profits meaning they have more money to give.
The player as some control over some of this. You’ll get choices about what to do with a band. This may be reducing the stage size they require but increasing their cost. The same goes for sponsors as well. The better your festival does the better reputation you get, gaining access to better bands and sponsors.
You also get some analytics if you want to go back and see how your festivals did. Did you do something different this festival season? Why not go back and see how it affected your stats.
The Sandbox mode does exactly what it says on the box: it lets you play custom festivals with as much or as little resources as you want without affecting your Career mode stats. Modding is also available to let you build your own festival grounds and add custom music.
I had a couple of issues with Festival Tycoon 1.0. The first was how you selected things. When things break and a manual fix is required you need to click on the thing that’s broke to repair it but if there’s a lot of other things around it can be hard to pick it out. When visitors require medical attention, an alert pops up and gives you the menu to help them straight away, but if something breaks clicking on the alert will just take you to the area where the thing is broken. Having the menu pop up like it does for medical alerts would alleviate that issue.
The second is that assigning workers during large festivals is hard. It took me a long time to assign the workers to areas I wanted them. So long in fact that I gave up and just manually resolved the tasks. You can pause the action, but in that time nothing moves, including your workers and it was hard to keep track of which ones I had already assigned. Having a pre-opening phase where you could assign workers before festival goers arrived would have helped me with that.
Festival Tycoon 1.0 is an amazingly enjoyable game. It’s something that you can pick up for half an hour and do a festival or spend a whole night doing festival after festival. It’s a buzz to zoom in on a stage and see the little people in the mosh pit and hearing the bands play along.