If there is one thing we remember from gaming as a child, it is the RollerCoaster Tycoon series. Sitting up to all hours of the morning building our ultimate theme park, riding our favorite roller coasters that we built from scratch, and even water slides. Well, when we received a preview code for Planet Coaster, the reboot of the classic RollerCoaster Tycoon series, all we hoped for, was that the game paid as much tribute to the classic as possible. Spoiler alert; it did.
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Although it was only an alpha build, the content and the engine of Planet Coaster was fantastic. We were given a massive open space to work with, and we went completely crazy with all the rides. Planet Coaster looks great, and the controls are pretty easy to master, which makes the task of building our dream theme park, a dream. After laying down some path, we then jumped right into the building mode, which saw us choose attractions like a burger stand, a Ferris Wheel, and even toilets. We placed them all down as we would expect to see them while visiting a theme park.
In the alpha build of Planet Coaster, there were three themes that we could choose from: Pirates, fair tale, and a witches theme that has some freak-looking trees and torches that set the scene for the area. Guests in Planet Coaster are rather fussy as they want the best of the best from our park. Every queue into a ride needs to be highly decorated with trees, plants, vases, and whatever else you can think of. After a while of being frustrated at the high demands of the guests, we realized that the park actually looked really good with all these decorations, so it came naturally.
We also tried very hard to keep the three themes apparent across the park. We designed half the park with a pirates theme. Sunken ships, the Kraken, skeletons, and a themed ride. The other half we mixed in the fairy tale theme with a fire-breathing dragon, some knights, and a castle. All we hope for however, is that come the final release of Planet Coaster, there are more options to choose from.
Building a roller coaster in Planet Coaster is just as fun as it was in the original games. Deciding how high you want it, to then speed into a loop, then a curved corner, all to finish off with an upside down curl. It was easy to understand and easier to build. The testing phase is then just as fun as you get to sit in the seat and experience the coaster for yourself. Sights and sounds make it all too realistic, and to ride your creation, reminded us of the classic games.
Planet Coaster also makes use of the Steam Workshop, which lets players from all over the world create decorations, coasters, and even full parks, and upload them to a server for everyone to enjoy. We expect this to be a massive feature in Planet Coaster as it opens doors to new user generated content.
There are a few issues we hope are addressed by the time Planet Coaster hits final release. We would like to have the ability to play Planet Coaster with only our mouse, instead of using the keyboard for rotation. We would also like to have more lighting options in Planet Coaster to light up our park. We found these limited to one spot light and a few torches. Staff management, where you can manage your staff members like the entertainers and janitors, is a bit clunky and needs some tweaking. Keep in mind that this was still an alpha build, so we are sure there will be some major tweaks to come in Planet Coaster.
For those who want to get their hands on Planet Coaster, there will be an open alpha test from 6 to 10 October 2016. The final release version of Planet Coasterwill hit Steam on 17 November 2016. Check out some more of our park creations in Planet Coaster below.