Back in April I played an early version of Festival Tycoon. I really enjoyed it. The way it let you recruit bands and set up your festival with accommodation, facilities and side shows combined for a fun experience. At the time only sandbox mode was available, and I was impressed with how the game played, but could tell some things were still waiting to be added.
Since then, Festival Tycoon has entered Early Access on Steam and I had the opportunity to check it out. Sandbox mode is still present, where you can build to your heart’s content. Career mode has now been added giving you the chance to run festival after festival and make more money, which allows you to put on bigger and better festivals.
Festival Tycoon’s Career mode currently has three maps. The first map doesn’t cost anything but the other two you’ll need to spend in game money on to access. Not something you can do straight away which is why your first few festivals will be done on the first map. Different maps have different features like varying natural landmarks or the ability to host multi-day festivals.
Not a lot has changed in terms of how you build your festival. You place your stage, accommodation and various facilities and sideshows, along with utilities such as waste disposal and medics. Moving into early access more buildings have been added and the icons improved. You can raise the quality of these buildings by placing decorations nearby.
Bands can be booked (as long as you have the funds for them) and have needs that need to be met. Some bands may want a green room or their own RV, some may just want catering or for your music or festival rating to be above a certain number.
If you run short of cash you can bring on a sponsor. In exchange for an influx of money they will also have a number of sponsor points that you will need to satisfy by adding their logo to various buildings, like stages or entry gates. They may also have a request, such as having a certain band play or excluding a genre of music from your festival, which will lower the amount of sponsor points you need to satisfy but this is optional.
Career mode allows you to build up your company reputation, which unlocks things like being able to take on more sponsors. The better your reputation, the better bands will be attracted to your festivals.
More utilities have been added. Alongside waste management (rubbish), medical tent (first aid) and security (breaking up fights), you now have mechanic (repairs), recycle centre (better rubbish disposal), sewage facilities (toilets and showers) and warehouse (restocking food and drink). Once again these are not needed but help as they can turn things you need to click on and pay for to manage into automated jobs that look after themselves.
Festival Tycoon still has some bugs. Where I could remove trees to make room for buildings, I don’t seem to be able to do that anymore. I also can’t remove decorations, but I can buildings. It’s understandable from a development point of view. Festival Tycoon is being developed by solo dev Johannes Gäbler. He’s released a roadmap with some indication of what to expect from future updates. He also has a very prominent bug reporting tool to help with anything that might pop up.
Festival Tycoon is a super fun simulation game where you can create your festival with loving care and sit back and watch your hard work pay off. It’s great fun that can be played is small spurts or crank out festival after festival.