RollerCoaster Tycoon World Review (PC)
So as mentioned in our Planet Coaster review there is a bit of a clash of IP going on in the Theme Park Management Sim genre right now. RollerCoaster Tycoon World is the long-awaited addition to the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise. It’s published by Atari (who hold the franchise rights), but developed by Nvizzio Creations and not by the previous developers, Frontier Developments. No, Frontier Developments went and made their own game, the aforementioned Planet Coaster. So who has made the better game?
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 has to be one of the most loved Theme Park management games of all time. It was certainly mine. I poured countless hours into it when I bought my own PC as a student. For it’s time it looked great, the management aspect kept you on your toes, and your creative thirst was slated with an array of coaster designs as well as customising the park with various decorations. So, 12 years later RollerCoaster Tycoon World should offer us all that and more!
RollerCoaster Tycoon World does offer us a simple but very effective Coaster designer tool. The existing method of selecting the next sections length, angle, banking, rotation etc. still remains in the game, but you also now have free control over the direction of track on the end of your mouse pointer. This allows you to be as creative as you like. You can also, thankfully, go back and select a previously placed section of track and manipulate it by dragging it around or by adding/deleting nodes to help smooth out the track. Once completed you have the expected colour and car customisation and can set off some testing of your newly built coaster. It’s at this point that you’ll realise that you forgot the chain to pull the cars up the slope, or that you have built a death trap and need to place a few brakes around the place.
Once you do finally pass the safety tests the next thing that you’ll find is that your coaster is going to be far too intense for many people’s liking. RollerCoaster Tycoon World does add a nice new feature to the game that lets you highlight which sections of your design are particularly intense or nauseating. However, the highlight system only seems to work on certain coaster types and doesn’t always appear.
And now the grievances have started.
Coasters are all very good, but before you build one you are going to need to be generating some income in your park. This will be done largely through the use of food and merchandising stalls. Honestly, those things will be making you all your money. But you need a reason for people to visit your park, and Flat Rides will be that reason. If Smiter wants more flat rides in Planet Coaster, he would be down right disgusted by the offerings in RollerCoaster Tycoon World. Seven. Seven rides are available when you first start a new park in RollerCoaster Tycoon World. There are more in the game, but you have to unlock them first. It’s the same with the coasters. You can only build wooden and hyper coasters to begin with, or choose from a whopping three fixed designs. To unlock the rest of the content you need to either start your park with “unlimited mode” (this also gives you unlimited money), or play through the Story mode.
Story mode is set out as a series of scenarios with certain objectives to be met. The first few are really just tutorial levels making sure you understand the basics of the game, but they soon start to become more of a challenge. Each scenario (all forty of them) has a main objective that has to be fulfilled before moving on, but also offers three additional objectives that each award you more Tycoon Cr. for completing. Tycoon Cr. can then be used to unlock all the hidden content in the game. So basically, if you want to play Sandbox mode with money and all the content, you are first going to have to play a load of scenarios.
Let’s take this one scenario, quite early on in the story mode. It gives you a park with very little money, losing money every month and all the rides are broken. So you have to hire a few mechanics and take a loan to make some improvements. But then the objectives are something like: Buy a land extension ($8500), Pay off the Loan and start making $1000 a month. Literally the only way to do this is to sit and watch your balance go further and further into the red until twelve months pass and the loan is paid off (you’re paying like $850 a month in repayments), and then wait some more until it comes back up in the black. At this point you probably still aren’t making enough, so you take another loan to make a few more improvements and fill that empty park space in an attempt to increase income. And repeat until objectives are complete. I managed to unlock the steam achievement for going Bankrupt while playing this scenario, yet nothing happened in-game when I did.
Ok, so once you do play enough scenarios to unlock all the content (or give in and just play on unlimited mode in Sandbox) then there actually is a decent amount of content in RollerCoaster Tycoon World. Asides from the rides and coasters are the scenery props for decorating your park with. These can help you customise any part or the whole of your park to a particular theme. Certain rides are already themed, but for the majority they fall under Generic. However, each one has a radius around it, seen when placing the ride or a scenery object, that if you put themed scenery into can influence the theme of the ride itself. It’s a nice feature that helps you target certain audiences for your park.
Beyond scenery items there is also a new feature called Piece by Piece construction. Again, this is extremely limited at the start of the game without unlocking more content, or downloading it from the workshop, but the premise is that you can build anything you like using walls, pillars, roofs, accessories etc. One of the scenarios asks you to do this by building a clubhouse for a golf course, but really with the parts available you won’t be doing much. As I mention before, the workshop is the place to go for this content as once you have a design you can save it off as a blueprint, either for your own reuse or to publish for the world to see.
This targeted building comes in to use with another new feature in RollerCoaster Tycoon World, the Influencers. Your park can raise itself in the fame ranking by attending to the whims and needs of these influential park visitors. You get ample warning that one is going to be attending your park, and what it is that they desire to achieve during their visit, be it ride a wooden coaster, eat some pasta or buy a western themed souvenir. Once the Influencer arrives at your park you are able to focus on them to make sure they are able to find what they are looking for. Successfully pleasing them will result in your parks fame level increasing, encouraging more visitors.
RollerCoaster Tycoon World does support steam cloud saving for your Sandbox parks, so you can pick up your management fix on another machine during your lunch break or wherever you feel like it. However, the cloud save is only of the park itself. There is no cloud sync of the Story mode, or of the things you have unlocked. So all that content that you grinded the story mode for at home is all locked away again! I don’t even understand this oversight.
From the very first moment RollerCoaster Tycoon World loaded up, and front and centre in the main menu was “Free Content Coming Soon”, I had a bad feeling about it. It was the same feeling many people had when they played the latest Sim City release from EA. Both titles were eagerly awaited, and both have caused massive disappointment. But at least both have suitable alternatives 😉
5 useless Blueprints out of 10