The RollerCoaster Tycoon series has been around for almost 20 years and we finally have a VR interpretation of the franchise.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride is a weird game. Instead of managing an amusement park, all you basically do is build roller coasters then ride them. However, you don't simply just sit there and enjoy your ride as you're armed with a laser gun that you use to shoot down colourful orbs and other targets. Thankfully, riding the coasters feels awesome as it's genuinely dizzying and surprisingly authentic. I tried to make the fastest and most twisted tracks complete with plenty of loops and upside-down parts in order to make my friends have the ride of their lives. At first, I was so immersed in riding the virtual reality coasters that I had to hold on to the couch behind me because it was a bit overwhelming how realistic it felt. For the record, I usually don't like riding roller coasters at all but I got over my initial intimidation after riding my dozenth or so virtual one in Joyride.
Of course, you can build coasters however you like and doing so can't be done in VR which is reserved exclusively for riding the coasters. Creating your coaster tracks is super-intuitive albeit somewhat disorienting. First of all, you don't have to worry about much as you can build wherever you please as long as the track doesn't go through an obstacle or itself. Making it go all around your environment of choice then seeing how high you can build only to let the coaster drop and bank and twist and turn is just awesome. Once you've completed your track, you can finely tune each point in the track to your liking which is very intuitive as well. Finally, you can select from a variety of unlockable designs for the tracks, station, and coaster if you'd like. It's satisfying stuff and offers plenty of freedom, too.
One aspect of RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride that's very well implemented is the online community. You can easily jump into various menus and leaderboards and download anyone's created coasters then edit and ride them. I found myself downloading one after the other to see what other people made and most of them were pretty cool but some were clearly made just to get high scores as they were flat and slow so you can shoot more targets. Anyway, there's a local multiplayer party mode, too, but it's frankly a waste of time. You just build a track then take turns riding it and see who gets the highest score. The fact that you need multiple controllers makes no sense. What's even weirder is that only player 1's controller vibrates even when another player is playing. Did anyone even test this mode?
Obviously, it's a little disappointing that all you do is build tracks then play a shooting mini-game as you ride them. Sure, it provides a genuinely thrilling experience whenever the track is well-made but that's really all there is to RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride. A couple of other areas are also lacking such as the audio which doesn't feature any noticeable music. I would have liked to hear some exciting tunes whenever I was riding a coaster. Also, there are only 2 environments to play within (Canyon and City) but they are each impressively large and intricate. On the plus side, there are plenty of missions that task you with building your coasters in certain ways that can be somewhat rewarding to master and you can also unlock a couple of extra guns: the Hammerhead Zapper and the Kraken Zapper.
If you've ever wanted to ride a roller coaster in virtual reality then RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride is sure to satisfy. It may not be a fully realised experience but what's here still provides creative fun and exciting thrills.
- + Making your own roller coasters is both intuitive and comprehensive
- + Riding the coasters feels authentic and fun
- + Well-integrated community aspect
- - Gameplay merely consists of building coasters then playing a goofy shooting game
- - Could use some exciting music
- - Currently only has 2 environments