What happens when a former developer of a beloved series, decides to go at it alone and make a competing game? Right, Roller coaster Tycoon World just sucks. But luckily there it the competing game: Planet Coaster.
Now I have absolutely no shame in saying that I pre-ordered the game about 8 months in advance. I was riding high after playing quite a bit of Cities Skylines and was hoping that this particular coaster game was going to be somewhat similar to the successful city builder. That may have put the bar a bit too high. But boy howdy it sure is a fun game to play. (Click here for some gameplay tips)
Anyone who has played a tycoon game before, knows the basic premise. You build a preferably profitable enterprise in whatever sector the game is about. In this case: a theme park. Now don’t be fooled by the title of the game. Yes, coasters play a big part in the game but there is more to be had. It is also, and actually mostly, a full-blown management game that will keep you busy for hours.
The usual problems will arise once you start building your park: lack of money, lack of new rides to build, lack of enthusiasm among visitors and a whole host of other problems. You’ll have to deal with those while you build your coasters and expand your park. And that ain’t easy. Especially once you raise the difficulty level, things come to a head in a hurry with bankruptcy as an ever-present danger. If you’re like me though, you will sacrifice beauty for hard cash and that is where you might get into trouble in this game.
The devs have made quite clear that there is more to Planet Coaster than pushing people to spend as much in as barren a setting as possible. Beauty counts. Well, they call it prestige but the peeps in Planet Coaster sure do care about the icing on the proverbial cake. So dressing up the queue makes a large difference in the attractiveness and patronage of a certain ride. Just playing for cash isn’t an option in Planet coaster.
And while we are on the topic of beauty, Planet Coaster looks incredible. From the trees to the rides themselves, they all look awesome. As you might have guessed, this also comes at a price. This eye candy will make your computer sweat like it’s trying to render the seventh circle of hell. Even though I got a very decent gaming computer, I can never get it above 35-40 fps with dips to the 20’s even at medium settings. As long as it stays above 30 fps however, it is playable and annoyance-free.
Resource hogging aside this game is absolutely great and if you buy it, you’ll have loads of fun. It’s fun, upbeat and the devs have promised to keep the game up-to-date for a good while. Hopefully that will include some optimizations to make it run just a tad faster.
Replay value: 9/10
Total Score: 9/10
Planet Coaster is on sale now at the Steam Store for around 25 euro.