Parking Tycoon: Business Simulator


I have lived in car-centric cities where you need a ride to get across streets and parking lots were just vast dead spaces. I also lived in more walkable cities in which parking garages would offer spaces for a multitude of vehicles and offer services ranging from valet, food court, car care services and showers for cyclists. Quite often I would meet friends after work for an açaí bowl - at the food court, not the showers.

So I was curious about the approach Parking Tycoon: Business Simulator (what a terrible name) would take. The game is developed by Geekon and published by Midnight Games. It promises the experience of managing your own parking lot, but it could be as well be called Handyman T:BS or Janitor T:BS, as cleaning after litter louts was my main task for most of the game.

This 3D game plays in first person camera, you start in a sizable plot with your office, an area where the cars could park, a road with a point of entry and another point of exit for the cars, and a lot of trash around but a single trash can.

By the size and misuse of the plot, I knew we would be taking the North-American approach. What I was not expecting was the way you have to play the game.

As it starts, it reminded me of most of the working simulator games, some people call them dad games, as you can just play a music and chill working into some project, like taking care of your summer car, farming simulators or even “post-dad” where the mix work with fantasy or sci-fi like cleaning a space station after the doom guy went through. But I was wrong, there was not a chill moment nor a feeling of completing anything.

The game has a brief tutorial, go to your office buy the first plot, then some very expensive white paint from the internet. Wait for the delivery. Now paint the ground, so cars can park. After a while, the car will leave, and you need to meet then at the exit point to collect the payment.

Weirdly, the payment will depend on the attractiveness of the parking space, not where you are located, if the businesses around are blooming or if it is rush hour. A white painted floor will give you 10$/hour, add a bush nearby and start charging more. You can start charging more than 50$/hour for a single parking space.

In the meanwhile someone would stand by your office, after some time, they will run away, leaving behind graffiti that takes a while to clean. There is another person stealing car parts, leaving you to pay for that part. The only way to prevent that is by hitting them with your stick - There was a gun with a description to fix car problems, but I have never made it work to fix missing parts or the traffic in your parking garage.

Because those characters are always the same models, and the only ones running around, you can take preemptive measures before they start the act. It is weird that they always take the same path, even running to you doing their deeds in front of you or others, only the stick sends them away.

Pretty much everyone that parks or enters your lot is a litter lout. And picking up trash everywhere is most of what you will be doing for a while. There is a single trash can that no one uses, but it fills up by itself, and you need to clean it as well. Just later in the game, when you get enough reputation, you can hire someone to help you clean.

The other two professionals you can hire are a guard that patrols around, but they never stopped a soul from committing a crime, and a fee collector that stays at the exit so you do not need to meet the cars.

Your reputation is important only to unlock things, as it seems, the cars keep coming as long as there is a place to park. You can increase it by upgrading your lot, improving parking spaces, increasing security, landscaping and keeping all clean.

Once you unlock the last professional, the cleaner, you will mostly do construction around. You order what you need from the internet and place it on your lot, then wait for more money to kick in. It gets repetitive quite fast, and as your lot increases in size, the walk takes longer and more annoying.

Quite often I had problems with traffic jam, or NPCs getting stuck, soft-locking some loops of the game. Reloading a save would solve it.

During my time with the game, I witnessed some updates, but there was never improvement in mechanics or making the gameplay interesting. They increased the parking lot size - vertically. And made the bugged NPCs to “act” faster.

The name of the game is terrible for so many reasons, besides the use of colon to throw up useless information after. Apart from the vague “parking” nothing else matches what the game is supposed to do.

How to improve

Tycoon and Business brings the idea of strategic management, that at some point will throw a spreadsheet at you. Think Detroit or Roller Coaster Tycoon. But, because the game design directions taken so far, it feels more like a work simulator, so I will focus on how to improve those elements.

While retaining the sandbox mode, it would be nice to have more locations to buy and start your park, each with its own challenge. They could be paced to work similar to a tutorial to explain different elements of the game. From some mall firm asking for a Parking Lot manager ending to a garage in a megalopolis full of services.

The first lot would require you to have the parking spots, maybe some light fixtures for the darker hours. A starting budget and income would reflect the area. Your progress would improve the surroundings and unlock new things for you, from equipment to new challenges.

You do not need to go further from the required completion on each garage, but you are allowed to go back and enjoy your time improving it. Two Point Hospital has something similar, and it allows you to come back to enjoy your accomplishments.

Also, just to make it explicit in case my point was not clear earlier: the game should allow more trashcans - people are not litterer like represented here, and hiring people for a business is a basic task, as long as you can provide fair compensation for their work.

Parking Tycoon: Business Simulator is available on Steam.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this product from