Hillsea Lido

Title           Hillsea Lido
Game Type       Management Sim
Company 	Vulcan
Players         1
Compatibility   All
HD Installable	Yes but see below *
Submission      DJ

 Hillsea Lido puts you in charge of developing and managing a seaside
resort. You purchase stalls to sell goods on the promenade and rides for
people on the beach. You must keep things tidy and safe, repairing rides,
cleaning stalls and sweeping up after the tourists. You must give them
what they want and get them to give you what you want; money, so you can
buy more land, more stalls, more rides; more, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!!!!!

 Each Sunday the people you attract during the week come to see the Sunday
Feature at your local theatre. Anything from a balloon-animal act to
Michael Jikson. That is, they'll come if you remember to advertise.

 The graphics are colourful and engaging. The beach and the promenade are
your main screens. They are a scrollable picture of your property with
little animated depictions of each business (ice cream, pop, sun-glasses,
paddle boat rides, scuba-diving gear). The tourists are animated sprites
that walk along and, according to their desires and level of fussiness,
stop to buy or not buy your wares. Setting prices to maximize your profits
is the goal here, of course.

 Providing deck chairs and Punch and Judy shows on the beach or benches,
Teddy Grabbers and Binoculars on the Promenade, will affect the number of
people you can attract and their willingness to part with their cash,
though exactly how much of an effect these things have is hard to gauge.

 The simulation theory is sound but the play is annoying in certain
inappropriate detail. And this is where the magic of this sim starts to
unravel. I enjoyed it for a good long time but eventually found my self
plodding towards arbitrary, discouragingly distant and unsatisfactory

 As with many sims, the more you create the slower the play becomes. The
daily drudge work (supplying shops, remembering to sweep up and hire
advertisers) gets tedious, especially as there is no attention getting cue
that a new day has dawned. It would have been nice to be able to set
levels of service (like in Sim City) and have them automatically taken
care of. But this would would require another level of play above the day
to day. This is somewhere that Hillsea Lido does not go. Even before you
have acquired a full complement of stalls, the interest begins to lag and
play becomes habitual, even obsessive, as opposed to engaging.

 There are many elements to recommend Hillsea Lido; innovative interfaces,
a neat model for your customers, amusing antics, funny features in the
theatre and a non-bloody challenge to address. I played it quite happily
for many days. But once you crack the computers needs it just becomes a
fill the blanks thing and you end up playing against the design rather
than within the scenario.

 It would have been nice to get beyond the day-to-day and into some
broader strategic game. Perhaps the scenario does not support this. The
designers didn't explore it. Hillsea feels like an unfinished work.

 For hard core sim enthusiasts, Hillsea Lido is a "should have". Others
might better save that money for a real seaside holiday.

* Regarding Hard disk installation a few lines were cut off the bottom of
the screen when I played from HD. This did not alter any function.

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