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Game Review #157: RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Nvizzio Creations

Publisher: Atari

Category: Simulation, Strategy

Release Date: 12.13.2018

Price (at time of review): $49.99 (Digital) $39.99 (Physical)

Buy RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (digitally) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Fun Park Open For Business

From a young age I have always enjoyed going to the local amusement park, Six Flags. When I was young I was scared to death of the roller coasters, as I’d get that sinking feeling in my gut. I’d still ride everything else, and had a blast, and then when I hit around high school I finally got over the fear and loved the roller coasters. I then understood why people would travel to ride coasters all over the country. Even more so, when I first saw the game RollerCoaster Tycoon, I saw the reasoning behind why people would want to build and run their own amusement park.

The original RollerCoaster Tycoon was created in 1999 by Chris Sawyer, a Scottish video game designer. Since it’s conception, it became widely popular and has seen multiple sequels, and for the longest time it was only on PC. It finally hit a console in 2003 when it released on Xbox, and even came to Nintendo 3DS with the version RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D. Now, after all those years, it makes its way to the Nintendo Switch.

You Must Be This Tall (High) To Ride

RollerCoaster Tycoon is a simulation game where you work on a strategy to build a successful amusement park.

First off, I’ll preface that this a port of the version called RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, which was a port of RollerCoaster Tycoon World. Now, this may be the first time I’ve played a game that’s a port of a port of the original. On top of it being a port twice over, it was also a free-to-play mobile game that had in-app purchases and wait times galore. Since this was a free-to-play game and now it’s a full-price game ($49.99 Digital $39.99 physical) being restructured for console, the first thing they did was make all the in-app purchases free and added it all in to the game. But the thing that seemed to remain was the ridiculously long wait times. There was also a lack of challenge, as even when you built rides and stores on top of one another, it seemed to just let you. There wasn’t a large risk/reward factor to the overall gameplay when doing mission-based modes.

Pick A Mode, Any Mode

Now I’m saying that there are four modes you can pick from:

  • A Tutorial Mode that gives you two choices of adventures to work through, where they give you small easy scenarios to get a feel for the game and how to play it.

  • Adventure Mode, which is a spin on the classic campaign mode, where you take a struggling park and work to revive it and make it fun and profitable.

  • Scenario Mode is a mode where the game gives you small compact scenarios to play out in a set amount of time. This was one of my favorite modes, I and seemed to play this more than the rest.

  • The last is Sandbox Mode, which is pretty self-explanatory, but to expound, you get a plot of land and are left to go hog wild with over 120 rides, restaurants, and shops being unlocked to just go Zen-mode and build to your heart’s desire. But the obvious gripe would be the lack of challenge, though everything is here for you.

Also, while playing in this mode, I found a bug—or just a miss by the devs—where there is no way to return to the menu at all. I mean, I tried over and over until I gave up and had to restart the game, which was more annoying than game-breaking. The load times can be rather long too, which, added together, makes it feel poorly optimized when ported over.

Fun Times While Waiting In Line

For the most part playing RCT Adventures was a lot of fun, but then I’d hit the “wait wall” it would kind of zap the fun out of it, but I always wanted to push through and get back to it. It was nice finally having the game I’d always wanted to play from PC make its way to a console that I have, I just was hoping for something closer to what was on the PC rather than a mobile device. The handheld controls were not my favorite, as it felt clunky and did seem optimized, even though this was made for mobile. Using the Pro Controller felt tight, and controlled nicely throughout my gameplay. For the most part, when a mobile or PC game makes its way over, I worry how that will transition to a controller, but here it was done very well, with the left stick as the mouse or cursor, right stick for camera, zooming in and out using Zl & ZR buttons, with the D-pad controlling the menus. Even if this isn’t your first go around, I’d still recommend hitting the tutorial before jumping into adventure or scenario modes.

Audio & Visuals

As this is a roller coaster game, you can hear the roar of the coasters and the laughing and screams of your guests. This was a nice detail, and I’m glad made it over. There are quite a few themes from which to choose, but all in all, the music was well-done.

The colors are bright and pleasantly joyful, as we’ve come to expect from the series. I never hand any slowdown or frame-rate issues while playing docked, but as soon as I went handheld and zoomed out to in, I was feeling like I was stuck in the swamp the way it was slugging along. Also, the rumble was done surprisingly well. I see triple A games that miss the mark on using the HD rumble to its full potential, but when the rides are zipping past and you feel the rumble on the turns, it feels more immersive.

It’s A Wrap!!!

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures does a lot that I liked, but also can’t get out of its own way with what I’m guessing has to do with being ported from a mobile version. At its core, it is a very fun game, with scenarios giving us a lot to do; but with sandbox giving you endless amounts of entertainment, it adds huge replay value to it.

Also at that core, however, is a free-to-play game that, though the in-app items are here for free, still feels like a free-to-play game with regard to waiting time. Everything from controls to audio and visuals were what I wanted and expected, except for there being that weird thing were you can’t go back to the menu, and handheld being a slog.

I’d normally say this is what you need to get to finally enjoy the PC classic on a Nintendo console, but the price point is where I think a lot of people will scratch their heads. I would say get this physical for $40 over the $50 price tag on digital, unless they put it on sale. But I’d still recommend it, as I personally had already purchased it physically before I was given the code to do the review. So get in line, because when you get to the front, the rides are great!

Score: 6.5/10

Buy RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (digitally) from the Nintendo eShop here.

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