June 27, 2018

E3 2018: Hands on with Rollercoaster Tycoon Switch

The Rollercoaster Tycoon series has had a long life, starting on PC it made a lasting impression with all its mechanics, when it made the jump to mobile, it removed a lot of elements that people liked and simplified the series for the mobile games market, now it is back for Switch and it kinda looks the same as mobile.

But that is to be expected, the studio that developed the mobile game, is also working on the Switch version, but it is not a port of the mobile version, it is a newly developed title, but it does share some assets from the game. Looking past that, the game offers up a few modes, Adventure mode, which is where you will get to attempt to the top of the theme park food chain, the Scenario mode, which gives you 16 preset parks, where you have to meet a series of conditions to win and finally, the one that everyone body knows, Free Build, where you have no restrictions.

The game offers up a lot that returning fans will know, like the locations, the alpine was what we got to play with, but there is also a tropical/desert island type location, a canyon location, perfect for those wild west parks and finally the lunar, there you will find things like a crashed ufo and more. Each location has themed decorations that match it, so you won’t have to have a wild west themed toilet block in your lunar park and such, though you can if you want. One aspect that purists may find to be a letdown, is that you are unable to modify the terrain, you can build up on level of dirt, to act as walls and boundaries, but you are not able to build big hills or valleys.

When it comes time to actually build your park, the game does a lot of the minor lifting for you, when you draw down a path, you just need to select where you start and finish and it puts the path down for you, but it also fills in lights, benches and more, something older games required you to do manually. When you place down a ride, you now no longer have to draw a queue, as long as it is attached to a path, at any point, the ride will open up and begin to operate, same with shops and food places. For those that want more details about rides or locations, you can go in and view all the details, see what people think of the ride, any bonuses you have from it and more. The game is built with a more casual player in mind, letting them jump in a create a park in a matter of minutes and not having to worry about all those other pesky little items like trashcan placement.

Of course, there is still a lot for traditional players to find, research is still a massive thing and you will need to undertake research, if you want to build more advanced entertainment options for your park, how deep it goes though, it is hard to say at this stage. Of course, given that the game is called Rollercoaster Tycoon, there are a number of coasters to select from, in fact there are seven types of coaster (Wooden, Steel, Winged, Hyper, Inverted, Dive, and Accelerator), each with a handful of premade rides and then a builder, should you desire to craft your own. All of the tides, coasters included, can be painted in a variety of ways, meaning that you could have multiple of the same ride next to each other, but all with different colour schemes.

For those with a love of tech specs, the game is going to run at 1080p and 30fps when docked and will scale down to 720p when you go handheld and when you take it from the dock, you can play the entire game with the touchscreen, if that is your preference.

Rollercoaster Tycoon for Switch does not seem to be attempting to bring the complete PC experience to the platform but merging that with the mobile version and so far, I am ok with that. How much the game has to offer in the long run, is something only time will show, but I am optimistic and as someone who loves their RCT, I am on board.

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