Funcom’s The Park is anything but what the game developer’s name may suggest. Imagine the most uninviting, eeriest, dank, dark, abandoned amusement park. Now, imagine that your only child suddenly decides it is of the utmost importance to play hide-and-go-seek in the middle of the night in said abandoned amusement park. In this game, you play as Lorraine, the child’s mother. At first glance, it’s apparent that Lorraine has had enough with the hand that life has dealt her – and her son, Callum, is not going to make her life any easier.
The narrative begins with both Lorraine and Callum in the parking lot of this abandoned space, and with a stroke of genius (heavy sarcasm here) Callum decides to speed off into the park. Thus the forced game of hide-and-seek ensues. You manoeuvre through the game constantly calling out to Callum, and he only gives paltry information as to his whereabouts. With each call prompted by a button press, Lorraine’s exasperated responses matched mine. After some time, I got sick of looking for the child as his responses were of no help and were seemingly laden with taunts:
“Find me, mommy!”
No, Callum. Find yourself back in the car where you were supposed to stay in the first place, goddamnit. I did laugh at how annoyed I was getting, so at least there’s that!
Annoyances aside, the overall atmosphere the game produced did make me feel uneasy, which was very fitting of the game’s setting. As the game boots up for the first time, you are prompted to have headphones on and to play in the dark to amplify the game’s upcoming frights. As you navigate the park, you find clues that inform you of its horrifying past – but that does not keep you from trying to locate your son.
Your dear, sweet, and awfully annoying son.
Topically, the game looks great. Touted on the screen during the loading process, Funcom’s use of the Unreal Engine optimized the overall game experience. I also enjoyed how you could interact with the rides in the park to further gather clues on Callum’s whereabouts and the park’s eerie past.
Funcom released a video on the happenings in the park, which helped put things into perspective during gameplay. While I was enraged, I was definitely spooked. I’m fairly new to horror video games, but I did enjoy what was being done in terms of story execution. So, try it out for yourself!
The Park is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $12.99 CDN.