When I was growing up many years ago, I used to head to a local town call Neath in the valleys of Wales, every year, there would be a huge fairground attraction set up on an unused area. Everything from Bumper Cars, Carousel, Helter Skelter, Waltzer, Octopus, The Cage. You name it. Then you had loads of stalls selling junk food or games to win cuddly toys. Fairs would be noisy, full of people enjoying themselves, and the music would be Techno or Trance, nothing like the playing a game in the same sort of field. Some games would use voice actors https://www.voquent.com/english/characters/ in tutorials, but the majority of the game you would hear the fairground rides and crowd sounds which just plays over and over.
As a gamer, back in the 90s RollerCoaster Tycoon was amazing, sold well, did well and is even now a beloved franchise, however, its downfall was inevitable after programmer Chris Sawyer departed. He left a massive hole in the franchise that needed to be filled by somebody that could bring the same love and care he did.
Now there have been other iterations of the game, on mobile, and there was RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. In 2016 RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch was released on iOS as a free-to-play mobile port of Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Now in 2018 RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures launches on the Nintendo Switch.
With bated breath, my partner was gagging to get this game so it was a no brainer when we got offered a code to give the game a review. However, I have a question, because we both love the original franchise. Will we be judging this game way to harshly because we are fans? Well, I guess, the only way we can answer this is by playing the game and then putting out a review with our thoughts. You can then decide if we were fair or not. So here we go.
Well, the first thing to note, RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is not free, and the Micro-transaction system has been removed. Thank God for that, because that mobile version was an absolute nightmare.
After installing and waiting for it to load and finally playing, I noticed the first bunch of issues. Load times were long, and we have frame rate drops. The more animation on screen the more the frame drop, regardless if you are docked or playing anywhere through handheld mode. These frame rates cause a delay when actioning buttons and a choppy camera makes things worse. The game does not become unplayable, but it does take away the shine of a franchise I love a little.
So as this is a new version of the game, the best thing to do is to check out the tutorials which to my surprise were short and sweet and gets right to the point. After you feel comfortable you can bounce right into the game. For me, it is always been about sandbox mode, so I can create what I want, do what I want and enjoy everything the game has to offer. Maybe this is not for you, you may want to jump into adventure mode classed as the campaign mode to us old folks, or you might be willing to test your skills in Scenario mode.
The worse thing about a game originally being on mobile is the transition to console or even pc and the control system that goes with it. Now we have seen Civilization VI on Nintendo Switch which is a triumphant port, thanks mostly to the conversion to iOS. Can Atari do the same thing with this port, well, yes. The analog sticks with button bashing works well and even the touch screen, if you are into that, also works well. You can zoom in and out, build, manipulate, control the camera, and everything is there and incorporated very well in this port.
As you already know, I love the sandbox mode, it simply unlocks everything in the game, so you have everything to play with, which is approx. 120+ rides restaurants, and shops. You can do what you want, create what you want and not have to worry about unlocking amusement rides and other things. You also do not have to worry about money, as it’s endless. For myself and my partner sandbox mode gives us total creative freedom, even though my creative ideas suck, compared to my partner’s. That could possibly be due to her being a teacher and teaching creative arts, or she simply is better when it comes to creating amazing worlds. If you still like the idea of sandbox mode but with the feeling of success, you can choose Career mode which removes time restrictions, but you would need to unlock and earn things to make your park.
There was one aspect I noticed that changed from the originals to this new version. You no longer need to tell a cleaner to clean up messes or get an engineer to fix a park ride. Everything was done automatically. Was I happy with this? NO, I like the idea of running the park myself. Every aspect is important so having something that might seem small taken away from the game is not good. Especially when I thought this made the game so fun back in the day.
You can also check out adventure mode, which starts you with a decent size plot of land, and slowly builds you up as you unlock new attractions. You unlock new attractions with research, permits, and money. If I recall correctly from my time with the original games, money is made from entry tickets, shops, and fairground rides. This is the same here, put a price on everything, but do not be too greedy and put the prices way too high or your rating for your park will go to shit and you will simply lose your paying visitors. There is more than one adventure to take part in, so get ready to sink some of your game time within this wonderful game mode.
Designing your parks can be fun, especially in sandbox mode and the controls were OK. Playing through adventure mode took some time with what the game expected you to achieve before moving on. I always found money an issue, pleasing everyone is never easy, a bit like Brexit in the UK. Creating your own rollercoaster rides is just as fun as it used to be, twists and turns, loop-de-loops, oops and I forgot to finish it death rides… This for me is what makes this game so much fun.
Everything is relatively easy to control and learn, but the loss of frame rate, which in turn affects camera and input, along with the missing engineers and cleaners to control by yourself just leaves me wanting more and more. The game feels like it wants to hold your hand a little and I do not want that. I also would love to be able to change the landscape to reflect some of the rides I created. Oh yeah almost forgot, Scenario mode, this mode sets you up with challenges which need to be completed. In total there are 16. I found these not too hard to start off, but they got harder as I progressed through them.
So, my final thoughts on RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is that this game should be on your radar if you like simulation games. There is a lot of fun to be had and you can sink a lot of time into the adventure mode and sandbox mode. There are just some flaws that may put you off from buying the game such as the hand holding, and drops of FPS.