Frontier Developments is back with a brand new theme park simulator. Find out what we thought about the game in our Planet Coaster Review!
I was a big fan of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series back in the late 90s and early 2000s. It was one of those games the gave you the tools to do almost anything you wanted. It was just fun for the sake of being fun and it allowed me to be creative unlike I ever had before in a video game. Planet Coaster brings back those memories in a big way while still managing to make some great improvements to the genre.
Planet Coaster is a complete re-imagining of what a theme park simulation game should be. It takes the best pieces from previous games in the genre and adds in a ton of different customization options to give players a new level of control. The menus and interfaces feel instantly familiar if you’re a RollerCoaster Tycoon fan, but this game goes into so much more detail than those games ever have. Freedom is at your fingertips to construct your theme park however you’d like.
If you’ve never played one of these games before, the controls and the different types of adjustments you can make can be daunting. Once you play for about 20 minutes, you can see how well-crafted and easy everything is to understand. Planet Coaster gives you the ability to place, reposition, resize, recolour, and edit pretty much all rides, shops, walkways, and scenery. This allows you to make give your park a certain theme with great ease. You can even set custom angle-snapping and widths for the paths in your park. There’s a ton of possibilities just by tweaking the assets that are already in-game, but there’s also full mod support. There’s a Steam Workshop interface inside the client that expands more and more each day.
Being called Planet Coaster, this game includes a fantastic coaster editor that allows you to choose between many different coaster types to create your own vision. Players are able to control the bank, turn, and slope of a track as well as some pre-made loops and turns that can be mixed in too. It’s a pretty easy experience and you can really create some amazing coasters in a fairly short amount of time. The only question you have to answer is, will anyone want to ride it?
There are 3 main stats for each coaster: fear, nausea, and excitement. You want your coaster to be exciting, you want people to have a bit of fear, and you don’t want them to get sick. It’s quite a balancing act but, Planet Coaster gives you a lot of information to tell you exactly what’s working and what isn’t working with your coaster. Heat maps can give you an exact location on what part of your coaster is exciting and what part is vomit-inducing. It’s a good visual representation of the information that is easy to understand and so valuable when you’re trying to make a quality coaster.
I played some of the Career Mode scenarios in the game, but I did feel they were a bit uninspired. Career Mode consists of you taking control of a pre-made park to do certain tasks for a bronze, silver, or gold medal. More medals unlock more scenarios. It was cool to see what the developers could make up, but I’ve always been a build from the ground up player. For that, there’s Challenge Mode which allows you to build your park with a budget, research, and loans to deal with. That’s the type of gameplay I really enjoy. There’s also Sandbox Mode if you’d prefer a park with no rules. There’s definitely something for everyone in this package, although I am kind of curious why a scenario editor hasn’t been added to the game yet.
As with most management games, it can initially be hard to get your park off the ground, but you start rolling if you keep improving your park. Eventually, your profits can get quite high allowing you to build almost anything you want. The prices can be sets for entry to the park, rides, and shops. Rides will sometimes need to be replaced or refurbished if they become old and worn out, but I never had much of a problem with that. It added some realism in there that I enjoyed. It’s nice to have little things to worry about here and there like that.
The staff was probably my biggest annoyance, more so in scenarios than anything. It didn’t matter how much security and cameras that I had, there were still a ton of vandals and thieves running around in my park. I had the same problem with litter in the parks. I’d put a bunch of garbage cans and assign janitors to areas and guests would still throw their trash all over the place. It didn’t affect my rating too much, but it’s annoying to see those pop-ups constantly.
The scenery is every bit as good as the rest of the game with the ability to make pretty much anything your mind can come up with. You will have to create your own building and things, but that’s a small price to pay for the tools that you’re given. The recent Summer Update even added the ability to use fireworks which look pretty amazing at night in a theme park. It’s a lot of fun to not only make a great functioning park but an awesome looking park as well.
I loved my time with Planet Coaster. This game has been out a little over half a year and has already received numerous updates that have added to an already solid package. You can tell that the team behind this game is passionate about making something fun and creative and they’ve done that here. The lack of a scenario editor is a bit lame, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here. I’d recommend this game to everyone. It’s something that will keep you busy for a long time and is a fantastic spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.4
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Frontier Developments for review purposes*