Back in October a new Rollercoaster Tycoon game came out exclusively for the PlayStation 4 here in the UK, called Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride – was anyone aware of this? I wasn’t until I received an email asking if I would like to review the game as it came out in North America (still Playstation Exclusive) just over a week ago. Developed by Nvizzio Creations, the team behind Rollercoaster Tycoon World on PC, Joyride nicely comes packaged with a PSVR mode! Imagine that, creating your own spectacular rollercoasters and then riding them in full Virtual reality!
One thing you need to keep in mind here is that this isn’t a new ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’ game, despite the name. It’s more a rollercoaster creation game with a PSVR mode which also involves some gameplay rather than just enjoying your creations. However, the potential and amount of creativity on offer here does, in fact, surpass what I was expecting. So, strap yourself in and let’s go on a ride to see just how scary it can get!
Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride contains both single-player and multiplayer game modes. For the most part, everything you can do in single-player mode is there in local multiplayer as well. First up, you have the single-player only ‘missions’ – these comprise of 10 simple missions with three objectives within each. So far, these have been a walk in the park – I’ve had tasks like ‘build a track at least x-meters long’, ‘go through at least x hoops’, and ‘edit x pieces of tracks’. It’s all very simplistic and you can achieve three stars for the mission just by meeting the requested criteria – never mind the actual secondary gameplay mode.
Secondary gameplay? Yeah, first you build the rollercoaster, then you take it on a joyride and go for a spin in it, only you’re not just sat there enjoying the sights! You pick one of three unlockable weapons as you’re tasked with shooting differing coloured floating orbs as you joyfully ride the rollercoaster you just created. The aiming mechanic is very simple – in or out of VR, the DS4 uses it’s motion controls – so you simply move the controller to aim and tap L2 or R2 to shoot the orbs. The faster you destroy them, the higher your combo and the final score will be. Personally, I enjoyed this gameplay aspect of riding your creation, especially in VR as it looks pretty cool, but I would have liked an option to just ride the rollercoaster as well, without the gameplay element to it.
There is a sandbox mode within Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride in both single and multiplayer options. This allows you to simply go crazy and create whatever you want within a few backdrop locations. There is no money or material restrictions so you can create whatever your heart desires! this is where I suspect a lot of people will spend the majority of their time as it is quite robust and feature-rich. Once you’ve placed a station, you can either create the track one piece at a time via using the DS4 from a first or third-person perspective with the ability to create twists and turns manually. Alternatively, you can ‘add Specialities’ which consists of twenty pre-built track sections (which are mirrored for left and right – so 40 in total).
This is where you can openly express and create masterpieces by adding massive boosting drops, create intense overhangs before you drop, spin the player upside down as you approach the city below, go in and out of caverns in the desert, and even make the player physically sick with loads of corkscrews! Not only that, you can change the colour and design of your station, carts and even the track itself – This whole process would be awesome if it wasn’t for one thing…
The controls are a pain in the arse. Technically, the controls do ‘work’ but the camera doesn’t seem to want to follow you correctly when creating your track, and the first-person mode (which it defaults to) makes it impossible to judge what you’re doing. However, if you have more patience than me and you actually become accustomed to the controls, then I’m sure you could make something special within Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride. Again, once you’ve built your creation, you can ride it either in or out of VR and play the shooting mini-game (no option to just ride it).
Easyriders and Headspinners
These two options (Headspinners is locked at the beginning) offer a set of pre-built tracks for you to simply jump straight into and begin the ‘joyride’ portion of the game. I enjoy these as not only are they pre-built by the developers, so you know they’re made with more care than I could ever put into making one, but they load up in sandbox mode. This means you can actually modify the track, add new sections, or even customise the colours if you wish to do so. I’ve actually jumped into a few of these just to look at them and get ideas for my own rollercoasters.
Now, this is a very interesting option – it’s also a part of the game which would welcome a guide or tutorial on as I have literally only just seen how it works whilst writing this review! The game states you can download and play other peoples rollercoasters, yet I couldn’t figure out how as the ‘blueprints’ section is always empty. However, I’ve discovered that if you goto the Leaderboards section on the main menu, you can see world-wide scores people have achieved on their own creations. If you press Cross on any of these people, it will download the track they created so that you can play the same one and try to better their score. But, whilst doing this, it also downloads the blueprint for said track and stores it locally so you can play it whenever you want in the future.
I’ll admit – it’s a rather cumbersome way to share and download other peoples tracks – as you can’t see them before you play them, or even search for people via some kind of ‘marketplace’, but just like I said before, it technically ‘works’. Also, any downloaded tracks can be used in both the single and multiplayer options.
So, that’s about it. If you’re playing it on your own then you have the option of participating in the ten pre-defined challenges which revolve around some rather simple design requirements. If you’re playing solo or in multiplayer then you can explore the sandbox mode and create your own entertainment or opt to play the developers tracks or the communities if you can navigate the cumbersome download process. However, the big disappointment is the fact you can’t just ride your track, you have to participate in the rather simple ‘shooting gallery’ style game. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s entertaining and fun to ride around shooting balls, but I want to just enjoy the ride sometimes. I have just put my controller down and ignored the targets a few times, but an option to disable them would be awesome.
Now for something confusing and annoying – the issues I had (bar the controls) with Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride.
The game isn’t very clever and likes to break down. Let me explain. If you boot up the game on a 4k TV or if you have Super Sampling turned on, on a 1080p TV and a PS4 Pro, then you’re presented with a message upon boot (above). The said message will inform you that the game is running in 4k and if you want to use the PSVR then you have to close the game, turn on your PSVR headset and then load the game back up. Word of advice – doing this will NOT stop what I’m about to tell you from happening! Basically, when in ‘4k mode’, if you initiate a rollercoaster ride segment, it pops up with the “please turn on and wear your PSVR headset” black screen message we’ve seen many times. If you turn on your headset and put it on – the game will crash to a blue screen of death and fully close.
If you turn on your headset, wear it, load up Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride, then get to a riding segment and opt to use the headset – the game will crash to a blue screen once again (this is how the game says to play the game if you want VR).
What I had to do was disable Super Sampling via the PS4 system settings (takes about 10 seconds) and then when I was prompted to turn on my PSVR headset in-game, the whole thing worked flawlessly. If you have a 4k TV, I imagine you’ll have to set the PS4 to output its resolution at 1080p rather than 2160p via the display options on the PS4. This issue will only affect PS4 Pro owners.
Also, if you don’t have a PSVR headset, or don’t want to put it on, the PSVR message will always pop up when you enter a rollercoaster. Simply press Circle to cancel the message and you can hold Cross (as advised on the screen) and then you can ride it in flat mode (without PSVR) – so you’re not missing out on anything.
Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride isn’t a bad game, it’s just not very good in certain aspects. The controls are very fiddly, the issue above with getting PSVR to work correctly is annoying and should really be automated by the game (as games on the PS4 can actually opt to play in either 1080p or 4k mode – even via an option in the menu or boot-up), and the way you download other peoples tracks is really cumbersome. However, when everything is working as intended, the game is a fun rollercoaster creation kit as well as an interesting (literally) on-rails shooter which you made. Also, the visuals within VR are quite good – it’s not the level of recent blockbusters on the platform, but you can make everything out and the drops make you believe you’re actually on a rollercoaster.
Audio-wise – Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride gets a big fat zero from me! Well, that’s a bit mean, maybe a one. There’s no music – the whole game has literally no sounds outside of placing the tracks as you create them. When you’re riding the rollercoaster, you’ll hear the multipliers and the electrical hazards, but other than those and the sounds of your gun – nothing. I don’t know if this is because they want you to use your own music or maybe they couldn’t get any rights to put any music within the game? Either way, it feels like something is ‘missing’, and I’m not talking about the literal music tracks!
I went into Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride with an open mind. I’d read the reviews for Rollercoaster Tycoon World on PC beforehand, so I knew it wouldn’t be anything spectacular, but I wanted to judge it on its own merits. What I’m left with are a few mixed emotions. I really like the customisation and the freedom to create pretty much whatever rollercoaster you want, either manually or with the help of the pre-built segments. However, the controls you use to actually put the tracks together feel a bit unpolished and I would have liked a bit more refinement in the controller controls. Similarly, I love the fact you can download and play other peoples creations, yet it’s let down by the fact there is no built-in ‘marketplace’ to view or search for them and also no explanation on how to actually download them unless you stumble into the leaderboards section!
One aspect I really love is the ability to don your PSVR headset and experience the newly created coaster in this new reality! However, the lack of an option to simply ride it without the mini-game is upsetting, and the annoying Blue Screen crashes just because it won’t auto-adjust itself to 1080p is more than annoying. I don’t know if that’s a technical issue with PSVR or the game (as Tetris Effect also wasn’t defaulting to the right resolution if you tried to swap mid-game – yet I believe they have now rectified that.)
If the developers can refine the controls and make them more responsive and less ‘random’ (i.e have the ‘perspective building’ work in both view modes), fix the issue with crashing if you don your headset by allowing the game to actively change its own resolution, and add some sort of in-game place where people can upload and download tracks with a small preview first, then I would most likely have given this game an 8.5 or 9/10 for its creativeness and unique gameplay. As it stands though, there were too many issues that affected my enjoyment and too few customisations to satisfy what I would have wanted in a game like this.
Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride is so close to being a game I would highly recommend, but it’s let down by a few issues. If you can overlook and get used to its cumbersome controls and you remember to set your PS4 Pro to 1080p output, then the game isn’t bad. You can create your own rides, ride them whilst participating in a mandatory shooting gallery, and then either play with friends locally or try out other peoples tracks online. It has a tonne of potential but it’s let down by a few things which appear to have been overlooked or ignored.
For its budget price, Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride isn’t a bad purchase if you like creating rollercoasters. However, if you’re looking for a full-on Rollercoaster Tycoon game then this isn’t what you’re looking for – the ‘Joyride’ part of the name basically sets this game aside from the usual formula of owning a theme park as it focuses on one aspect – creating tracks you can perform an on-rails shooting segment on.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride£15.99
- - No restrictions on what you can build (no money or resources)
- - Ability to download and play other peoples creations
- - Replayability sparked by your desire to make new rollercoasters
- - The PSVR mode is really fun and immersive
- - No music or ambient noises
- - The controls are fiddly in creation mode
- - No ability to just ride your creation without the mini-game
- - Finding and downloading the community tracks isn't backed up with a guide or very user friendly
- - Those with no interest in creating rollercoasters wont find any enjoyment here - it's not a Theme Park running simulation this time