Building an amusement park from the ground up while watching it expand and become more popular is satisfying stuff. RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is a brand new theme park management sim for Switch so get ready to design some radical coasters.
I haven't played much of this very specific genre until I tried Theme Park Roller Coaster for PlayStation 2 way back in the day. As soon as I started building my own parks in that game, I couldn't stop and it remains one of my favourite games for the console. Since then, I've played a few theme park simulation games but none have ever quite matched the immediately gratifying and almost arcade-like feel of Theme Park Roller Coaster. Now that I played RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, I'm happy to say that it's a very similar game. That being said, this simplistic approach likely won't appeal to those who are looking for an in-depth and challenging simulation experience but folks like me who just want to chill and build an amusement park will have a ton of fun with RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures. Because of this, it acts as an easy to learn entry point for gamers who'd like to get into the genre without worrying about too much micromanagement.
Building your park in RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is super-easy. The basics merely involve laying down paths then selecting features such as shops, restaurants, prebuilt rides, utilities, and decorations in order to make your visitors happy, keep the park well-maintained, and, of course, generate money. As you play, you can research new types of installations as well as unlock features by reaching certain thresholds of overall park value which is rewarding stuff. Anyway, the most interesting aspect to build is the roller coasters and doing so is extremely intuitive. You basically just trace where you want the track and it gets built as you go. You can also adjust the track's height and banking at each of its nodes as well as add special features like loops. After testing and validating your ride, it's quite satisfying to see it in action. If you'd rather not build roller coasters then you can select from a wide variety of already made ones, too.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures includes some very cool core modes and I enjoyed playing them all for their own reasons. For starters, you can learn the ropes in a couple of handy tutorials. Next, Adventure mode allows you to select a theme (either Flowery Forest, Inspiring Island, Marvelous Moon, or Calming Canyon) then you basically keep working on it while occasionally being interrupted with decisions that can have either positive or negative consequences. Scenario mode is my favourite as you have a list of challenges to accomplish within a time limit. Considering there are 16 unique scenarios, you're looking at dozens of hours of gameplay in this mode alone. Finally, Sandbox mode can be played in either Creative mode which has everything unlocked and you have unlimited funds or Career mode which is basically an endless mode where you unlock features. Overall, it's a great collection of content.
Speaking of content, I should mention that I'm blown away by how many rides, shops, and other attractions there are in RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures. There are dozens upon dozens of rides and I often found myself stopping just to watch peeps ride them as they look genuinely fun and authentic. That being said, I wish you could actually ride the rides like you could in Theme Park Roller Coaster. I always find that to be very fun as it adds a layer of realism to your creation even though it's still a little goofy to do so.
Before I wrap this review up, I want to mention how frustrating the loading times can be. Sure, the initial loading screen before you get to the gameplay portion is lengthy but what's especially annoying is that you sometimes have to wait mid-game for something to load. For example, I chose to edit a roller coaster track and it kept loading for minutes and I finally decided to just quit and restart the game.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures may not be an in-depth amusement park management sim but what's here is a ton of fun. Plus, the amount of content is superb so if you're looking for a less demanding theme park simulation experience then this is a game for you.
- + Accessible casual simulation gameplay that gamers of all ages can enjoy
- + Good variety of enjoyable challenges
- + Tons of rides, shops, and such to build
- - Simulation enthusiasts may be put off by its simplicity and lack of difficulty
- - Load times can be problematic
- - I wish you could ride the rides