Developed By: Frontier Developments plc Published By: FRONTIER Composer: Alistair Lindsay Categories: Construction, Simulation, Strategy Release Date: 09.24.2020
RollerCoaster Tycoon was first released for Microsoft Windows in 1999. This was my first experience with a construction and simulation game. Discovering that I had control over design elements like concessions that provided food, modifying terrain, and choosing what rides and attractions were offered was exciting to me. Having RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 ported to the Switch reinvigorated that excitement, until I played the game.
Purchasing the Complete Edition provides you with a remastered edition of both the full game and the two expansions that were released for the game; Soaked! and Wild!. When starting the game you are given two options, Career Mode and Sandbox Mode. Sandbox Mode allows you the freedom to create a park without monetary limitations. The plot of land is limited, however, and cannot be expanded in this mode. Choosing Career Mode allows you to select between the main title or one of the two expansions. Career Mode gives you three different ranked objectives. This requires building and maintaining rides, adding scenery, providing a variety of shops and facilities, hiring staff, and keeping visitors happy. Thus, raising the value of your park. Starting RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, you can choose from 6 locations, and 3 different locations in both Soaked! and Wild!. As you complete certain objectives other park options will be unlocked, as well as options for rides, shops, facilities, etc. to be used in your parks.
The game has its charms. CoasterCam is probably my favorite. This allows you to view one of the coasters and most of the other rides in your park from a first-person perspective. Another addition I enjoyed was MixMaster. This feature allows the park owner to coordinate fireworks in their park, and times them to the music provided in the game. The Soaked! expansion adds water parks which includes swimming pools, water slides and aquariums. When using the MixMaster, water displays can be timed to the music. Wild! brings zoos and safaris to the game. In this expansion, animals can be placed in your park providing slightly more difficulty by adding their care to the long list of park owner responsibilities. There are also additional rides and types of scenery added with this expansion. In the tools section you are given three separate creation modes. “Peeps”, or park guests, can be customized and imported into the main game. There is a rollercoaster and a building creator. These designs can be saved and used in campaign mode and sandbox mode. Parks have opening and closing times and day and night affect what type of visitors you have in the park. During the day, younger audiences and the evenings there are more adults. There are different themed options for decorating your park as well; for example prehistoric, adventure, spooky, and western.
Simulation games have always been enjoyable to play. That is until I played this one. While not without it’s charms, the controls were nearly unbearable. The camera rotation often changed from spinning too fast to a crawl when using the standard controls. Learning to navigate deleting and adding rides was often frustrating. There are no touch screen controls, which was surprising and was a missed opportunity. Had the touch screen been utilized, it may have remedied some of those complaints allowing me to mitigate my aggravations by bypassing the often stiff joystick movements. If joy-cons are your primary controllers, and you have “drift”, this also adds to the difficult controls. I also noticed some latency issues periodically, but these are a very minor complaint and didn’t distract from the overall gameplay experience.
There are a ton of features offered in this portable game. With both expansions provided, there is potential for a lot of fun to be had. The music is reminiscent of both real world parks and the games that have come before, yet never got annoying to listen to. I really enjoyed the ability to create and import rides, buildings, and “peeps” into the game. I would have liked to see an update to the graphics. They seem to be dated for a game that is called a remaster. Learning to modify the parks and how the controls were used took away from the overall enjoyment. Swapping from portable mode to the docked mode provided a better vantage of the park due to a larger screen. While this did help, the clunky camera motions and selection controls using the joysticks worked to discourage continuous play. If you are like me and you enjoy simulation and construction games, give it a shot. Even though I fought against frustrating controls, plenty of the game was fun. The game is portable. Which is always a plus.
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