Planet Coaster Review
Oh were the days of my youth. If I wasn’t playing JRPGs or concocting an evil plan on how I should kill my Sims, I was playing Rollercoaster Tycoon till the wee hours of the morning. Though I haven’t really played this type of game for quite some time, I was presented with Rollercoaster Tycoon 3’s spirit successor Planet Coaster by Frontier Developments. While I’m not one anymore to play a lot of builder games, I couldn’t wait to jump right on this.
The game gets you started with creating your avatar. With a fun and poppy stylized art style, players are able to choose everything from their gender, age, and weight. While the selection is quite limited, I was still quite pleased with choices. Creating an avatar allows you to immerse yourself in the Planet Coaster world and your avatar will be seen by Steam friends and other Planet Coaster players. Don’t fret if you can’t make a decision right now between the five shirts and seven hat choices, you can come back later on to spruce up your avatar.
“The real treat to this game is it’s challenge mode, in which players will have to manage their guests happiness, customization, construction and employees all the while trying to stay within your budget.”
Once you have your character to your liking, the game will ask you where you would like to set up your headquarters by presenting you with a giant rotate-able Earth. Naturally I tried to pick as close to home as possible. Once you’ve laid down where you want to be located, you’ll get a list of game options to choose from.
There’s challenge mode, where you are given a plot of land and a starting budget with the goals of being able to fulfill a few objectives while creating the most kick ass theme you can think of. Career mode, where you can build your skill and level by taking over a park that needs a pick me up by meeting certain goals and advancing to the next level. Then finally we have the open Sandbox mode, where you can build to your hearts content without worrying about problems or costs.
At first jumping into career mode, I felt that it acted as more of a very in-depth tutorial. You are presented with a dying park and it’s up to you to save it by maintaining the park by ensuring you have enough happy staff all the while hitting certain target goals. While career mode can still be quite fun, the parks can be quite limiting and the goals are quite unimaginative. Planet Coaster really knows what this game is about and caters to its long time fans quite well. Among the happy character designs, the cheery mascots and the bright and easily accessible menu options, and it shows in the overall presentation that this is just a great game to be around.
Something I was really grateful for is the fact that Planet Coaster seems to really know that the best part in these builder type games is in the building itself and not so much as the management. With a game that is overflowing with as many options as you can think of and items from themed toilets to trashcans that come in different styles. Not quite happy with the way they look? Don’t worry because the game also includes countless objects and textures that you put together to create something more your own.
The real treat to this game is it’s challenge mode, in which players will have to manage their guests happiness, customization, construction and employees all the while trying to stay within your budget. I won’t lie, I spent a long, long time perfecting my park to my standards, and it was great! Playing through the first couple of career modes really did help me figure out how exactly I wanted my Coaster haven to look. The only gripe that I had was that the longer I played and the more expansive my park became, the slower the user interfaces became which soon made the game a bit frustrating. Especially as there are not batch option for prices or employees, meaning if you want to see if your employees are happy and what their current needs are (whether it be a raise or to further their training), or if you want to adjust the price on the new ride you just put in, you will have to go in to every individual tab to change the settings. A simple “change all” feature would have been great however it doesn’t detract too much from the experience, it just becomes a bit of a hassle.
Players who are more interested in the business perspective side of the park may be disappointment with Planet Coaster. However, for the players who are in it to simply build up their perfect park and glorious coasters, this game is an absolute great way to spend time. With a vibrant art style and terrific music, there’s a lot to love with Planet Coaster. Not to mention the mod community opens up new doors of wonder for it’s players.
***A PC code was provided by the publisher***
- Huge range of rides, scenery and shops
- Charming visuals
- Different modes for different kinds of players
- Park management goals are a bit weak