Back in 1999, gamers racked up countless hours on Rollercoaster Tycoon, building theme parks with a multitude of thrilling rides and attractions. Fast forward to 2015, and the development team behind the original Rollercoaster Tycoon are back with ScreamRide on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Set in the near future, Frontier Games’ ScreamRide is a rollercoaster simulation title that takes place on a remote development lab, where the world’s most thrilling theme park rides are created and tested. The game’s campaign (which contains over 50 levels in the full version) is split into three level types: Scream Rider, Engineer and Demolition Expert.
Scream Rider has players racing rollercoaster trains along pre-created tracks, as they accelerate, brake and execute speed boosts in order to get it round the track as quickly as possible. This involves executing perfectly-timed prompts, while also ensuring the train doesn’t swerve off the track by evenly distributing the weight. The game mode offers bonuses for spending time on two wheels, among other challenges such as completing the course within the time limit.
As you would expect, Scream Rider is an extremely fast-paced game mode as players can almost feel the intensity of the ride as they tear round the loop-the-loops. While the demo was limited to one of the beginner tracks, it’s clear that this is a game mode which will take a considerable amount of skill, time and persistence in order to rack up the higher scores.
Next up is Demolition Expert, a brilliant showcase of ScreamRide’s physics engine. The game mode sees players tearing structures and buildings down in an Angry Birds-esque fashion by skilfully catapulting test subject occupied objects at the target zone to trigger a chain reaction of explosions.
To make things a little easier, the game mode incorporates an aftertouch feature, similar to the one evident in the Burnout series, which can be used to maximise the destruction. On the whole, Demolition Expert is a solid game mode, and there’s a particularly satisfying feeling as the buildings collapse in real-time fashion.
Finally, Engineer is a puzzle mode which requires players to finish a half-completed rollercoaster by strategically planning the design based on the specification. As far as track editors go, building soaring, twisting tracks is an easy task. This is largely down to the easy-to-use interface, which allows players to change the direction or twist of the track at the press of a trigger or a flick of the left stick. Not to mention the large number of pre-built ride pieces and modular scenery to help your rollercoaster look the part.
Previous creation simulators (for example, Project Spark) have shown that such tools are better suited to the keyboard and mouse. However, Frontier Games has ensured that ScreamRide is one of the rare exceptions, as each game mode is fully accessible using the Xbox controller.
Nevertheless, it seems that ScreamRide’s main issue is whether it can maintain the player’s interest. There’s certainly enough variation within the gameplay to keep gamers occupied for a few hours, although any more than that could prove problematic.
ScreamRide launches for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 on Friday, March 6th, 2015.