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Camping Manager 2012 Review (PC)

Ben Mackinnon sets up camp

Have you ever been to a festival campsite and thought, “this isn’t nice, why would anybody want to go to a campsite on holiday?”. Well that’s because they’re doing it wrong, and Camping Manager 2012 allows you to do it right. Or wrong. It’s up to you.

Excalibur Publishing specialise in Simulations of all types. While they ride mainly on the success of the very popular Railworks: TrainSimulator, they cater almost every simulation type imaginable, from Airport Control to Underground Mining. Camping Manager 2012 is from German developer Astregon and, as it says on the tin, allows you to create and manage your own camping resort.

The idea itself might not appeal to everybody, but as a fan of all Simulations I was willing to give it a go and see.

Visually it’s not bad for it’s genre. There are over 50 different objects that you can place in your campsite, though a large portion of these are various plants and trees. The visitors to your campsite are quite varied in their appearance, and their animations are quite good. It’s most amusing watching them all run for their accommodation when the rain starts. There is fair amount of variation in the weather, and you can always see what’s coming up next with the forecast in the top right. The mechanic of placing objects is nice and easy to use, but only if you have a mouse and not a laptop trackpad.

The game has two modes, Free Play and Campaign, like most Sandpit Simulators do. In Free Play you pick a terrain type and off you go with no objectives and no win/lose conditions. In Campaign mode you start in Germany with a simple set of objectives to complete in a given time scale. After Germany you move to England, then Poland and so on, all the way around Europe. Each scenario has different objectives such as; 3* overall rating, have at least 5 Caravans or have a 72% satisfaction rating for previous customers. While this does lead you to play each scenario slightly differently, they can all be beat in the same fashion: Take out loan, buy 1 of every entertainment and supply item, place a few toilet and shower facilities about and spend the rest on accommodation (ensuring to buy your 5 caravans) hire some staff and then raise your prices and wait for the profits to roll in to pay off the loan.

The most variation comes really from the different landscapes in which you are tasked with molding into a campsite. There are no terrain modifying tools so you have to do with what you have, which is a bit trickier in the Alps scenario, but there is always enough room to build what you need. I mentioned before that the majority of the models were plants of some sort, but this is actually the key to a good campsite. Campers, especially the older generations, like their “Ambience,” and placing a few trees around their Caravan or Chalet makes them happy chappies, even when there are stinky toilets on the other side of said trees.

What the game really lacks is any form of random events. It is simple enough to follow the same routine to complete every scenario and build a 5* Campsite, but if there were some interruption events, perhaps such as a fire, staff strike, food poisoning or yeti appearance, it would certainly make things a little more interesting.

That said, Camping Manager 2012 is still an addictive simulation game, and anyone who is into their simulations, or really likes Campsites, will enjoy this game. The graphics are not bad, and while all the voice-overs seem to be in German, it is easy to pick up and play and before you know it your whole evening is gone. Once you crack the strategy in how to build the perfect campsite however, you probably won’t spend many more evenings on it.

4 abandoned tents out of 10

Published inReviews