Amusement parks are usually places of, well, amusement. However, this is not the case for Lorraine and her son, Callum. Callum decides to randomly run into Atlantic Island Park, leaving Lorraine to search the desolate amusement park for him. Of course, since “The Park” is a horror game, Lorraine and her son aren’t the only ones lurking there.
“The Park” is a one- to two-hour psychological horror adventure that delivers most of its scares through spooky atmosphere and well-placed jump-scares. However, the game’s strength is not the scares it delivers. Rather, “The Park” is at its best when delivering emotionally powerful dialogue that offers insight into the lives of Lorraine and Callum. Although the dialogue is amazingly engrossing, it leads players to feel as though they are lacking some necessary context to fully enjoy the plot. “The Park” also fails to offer an interesting side narrative.
Like many modern horror games, “The Park” allows players to collect notes in order to offer a branching narrative from that of the main story. However, these notes only give you information that you could easily have concluded just from the context of the main story. Thankfully, “The Park” also expresses its side narrative in a way that matches its setting by allowing players to ride various attractions. These attractions gave me interesting information about the plot that never felt boring because it helped make the world feel alive (though fittingly desolate).
Although the story is good, the graphics are a bit lackluster. The best aspects of the graphics are the amazingly designed backdrops. However, the character models are stiff and oddly clip through objects they shouldn’t. Thankfully, the sound design and soundtrack redeem the graphics by perfectly crafting a spooky atmosphere with expertly paced music and well-placed sound effects.
“The Park” is not a particularly scary horror game. It has a spooky atmosphere and effectively placed jump-scares, but its attempts at horror fail to elicit more than a slight startle. However, this game excels in its narrative that, ironically, actually did give me chills due to its emotional dialogue. Despite its lack of horror, “The Park” would have me buying tickets as soon as it opened.
Rated M for Mature.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.