Festival Tycoon UPD
For those unfamiliar with tycoon-style experiences, we'll catch you up. These experiences revolve around earning money and doing so as fast as possible; the more you earn, the more items and NPCs you can purchase. As you expand your festival by building areas and hiring NPCs, you will earn more money which you can then use to expand your festival even more and so on and so on.
Music festivals have been absent from our lives for the past couple of years. The joys of muddy fields, blocked up toilets, crowds and crowds of people, and watching some sort of music act somewhere in the distance obscured by a load of flags have all been scuppered by the pandemic.
For anyone suffering from withdrawal, there's Festival Tycoon courtesy of solo Austrian developer Driehaus, currently in early access on Steam. It's a cute little title that puts you backstage managing your own music festival, thankfully without your wellies getting sucked into a muddy hole.
It's a wonder really that more sim games haven't tapped into the festival scene. Selling tickets; managing amenities; booking bands and sponsors; pleasing thirsty guests and demanding artists - this is all great fodder for a strategy game.
And Festival Tycoon has all of these things, delivered in a clean and simplistic aesthetic. First you'll need to name your company and choose a logo, before starting your first festival proper in the surprisingly sunny scenery of Wales. A tutorial takes you through slapping down your key buildings: an entrance, a stage, a tent area, food and drinks stalls. Then it's on to booking sponsors, creating your lineup and setting the ticket prices.
There's room for creativity though, both in the types of activity stands and food stalls, and in the music acts you sign. You can switch between the likes of rock, hip-hop and EDM, but grouping genres together will net a higher score. And it all softly lampoons the music industry with its weird, randomly generated band names. Perhaps metal act Gullible Human Baby Importance will headline the festival, or hip-hop group Awkward Computer will make an appearance.
Once your layout is complete, your bands are ready to go, and your early bird tickets are sold, it's time to open the gates and let the punters in. But it's here the game falters. Going live means locking your festival in place; all that's left is to order around your mechanics to fix broken amenities, use security to break up fights, and ensure your janitors are regularly sweeping up after those nasty crowds leaving plastic cups lying around.
What's more, it's oddly silent for a music game. The planning stage is accompanied only by a soft breeze and even once open, the festival is only loud once there's (original, jokey) music playing from the bands. It makes you want to book more acts next time, budget permitting of course. For that there's sandbox mode, which lets you live your fantasy without restriction and get really playful.
The game is set to be in early access for some time, so there's plenty of space for improvements. At the moment this festival is a quaint little day trip rather than a week-long bender, but the lineup does have potential.
Like most business ventures, Festival Tycoon has you start from the bottom. You begin with a small field and a little bit of money with your goal being to somehow turn this small venue into an exciting music festival that customers would be willing to pay top dollar to enjoy.
When you begin the game you are walked through how to build your festival with an extensive tutorial. You need to build a festival entrance, a tent area for folk to sleep, places to buy food, drinks to keep spirits up, hire staff and of course a stage for the music to play. Then you have to book the bands. Some of which are very expensive and, unless you pay them top dollar, they will request certain demands of you during the festival. You also need to attract sponsors to help pay for this expensive endeavour. Depending on their needs you need to put up billboards and advertising on stages.
Bands come with certain requests as well. To book bands, Festival Tycoon lets you use a band browser with bands sorted by genre, popularity rating, stage size, and more. Each band comes with two requests, which can include things like having a certain overall festival rating or popularity rate, excluding bands of a certain genre, and having certain facilities like a greenroom, a backstage RV, or a make-up trailer. Booking bands without fulfilling both requests can get you in trouble when your festival starts; bands might complain, come onstage late, or not play at all.
Festival Tycoon comes straight out of the 90s by taking the name of something, in this case Festival, and adding tycoon to the end of it. Would the gameplay be the same, or more in the 21st century? Read on to find out!
Festival Tycoon sees you create your own festival management company and then proceed to create, build and run festivals of varying sizes. There are 3 areas on initial launch each with its own budget, festival size, and map size. I started off on Green Field to get a hang of the mechanics and start from the bottom.
The game has a great tutorial process that guides you through planning your first ever festival, from building the stage and tent areas, to booking bands, obtaining sponsors, recruiting staff. Literally every area is covered, which is great! Eventually though you will want to turn this off, but you can turn it back on at any time should you wonder what you might be missing.
The other way to raise pre-festival funds is to do an early bird offer however this depends on the acts you have booked and the hype your festival is receiving already, so be careful what you set the price at as you could reign supreme or flop!
You could lose yourself for hours on end with Festival Tycoon making sure each element of the site is in the right place, from the position of a tree to where the backstage area is. All that before you even get into the festival weekend. For those that previously played games like SimCity, Theme Hospital et al, you know the number of days lost to designing and redesigning the perfect arena, and Festival Tycoon is no different.
I found Festival Tycoon a charming indie game to dive into, there have been numerous updates and patches since I have been playing the game ranging from guests bringing their own beer which you have to get security to sort, to the ability to add human foosball tables and volleyball courts to your festival activities. Since its official launch in September 2021, there have been 17 updates ranging from small bug fixes to the ones mentioned above. For a single dev team, this has to be applauded.
One of the first things to think about in the planning step is sponsorship. When your festival company is more mature it could be possible to host a festival without sponsorship but in the early days the extra cash they provide is vital. Besides, the downsides of having sponsorship in your festival are pretty small (a negative to score, assuming you care about that, and the possibility of having to put up ugly billboards around the place). With cash flow established you can start setting out the festival grounds; marking camping sites, locating stages, putting up gates and fences for crowd control, showers, bars, food, the list goes on. Judging how much support infrastructure (hygiene, security, medical etc.) you need to support the size of your festival is key to planning correctly as it will be too late to do anything about it once it all kicks off. There are also decisions to be made about whether to include VIP accommodation and how many backstage amenities to put in for the bands. Space management and efficiency is huge in Festival Tycoon. How much can you cram into limited space without having everything so crowded and off-putting that visitors have a negative experience?
Gameplay-wise, this phase is about micro-management. Your support buildings will spawn workers that you can form up into teams and send to different parts of the festival. Each team will cover and respond to certain events in a marked radius and trying to cover the festival with the right number of resources is the main challenge here. Maybe you send your main two janitorial teams to each of your stages but siphon one-off for the VIP, another for the backstage and a couple for the tents. Is that enough to stop the festival from turning into a garbage dump? Do you have your security teams patrolling correctly to cover the fights that break out? All of these possible events can also be managed by the player personally in some way. For trash, there is a little broom you can use to clear it up and then dump it again somewhere that your janitors will take care of it. For security and medical emergencies, you can grab the appropriate teams and send them specifically to the spot. As long as they arrive in time all will be well.
Overall, Festival Tycoon is a solid entry that fills the particular niche in the genre that was empty up to now. It does a fantastic job of presenting all the options and considerations of setting up a festival without getting too bogged down in detail. The art is colourful and charming and the central puzzle of working with the different planning elements is rewarding and interesting. Things take a little dive in excitement when it comes to the live gameplay while the festival is happening but, for an early access game, there is still plenty enough in Festival Tycoon to recommend giving it a go now and plenty of reasons to think that it will be a lovely and deep game when complete.
This is a game full of fun, giving you new and unique experiences. As a manager, it is your duty to turn this small festival into the unique festival ever and attract more visitors. If you love exciting management games, then you will indeed have no way out before Idle Music Festival Tycoon. It is a highly idle management game, simple but also contains many challenging tasks to challenge your ability and experience. Thanks to your own intelligence to make reasonable and practical business decisions to help the festival grow more. 041b061a72