Review: Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic
When it comes to the perfect roller coaster simulation game, personally, I look no further than Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 & 2. Growing up, my computer didn’t have the graphics to run Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 properly, and more technical simulators like No Limits are a little advanced for my particular skill set.The original RCT and its sequel were some of the first coaster games I played, and I found myself constantly coming back to RCT1 & 2 as I grew older. I never got to the point where I could create works of art like several online communities (seriously, check out /r/rct – there’s some incredible stuff there.), but I could kill plenty of time in RCT2’s Coaster Designer mode, and create semi-functioning (enough to pass the objectives anyway) parks when I was bored.
As technology progressed, it got harder to play the original RCT games, as they were designed for earlier versions of Windows, so it became difficult to get my coaster game fix. Recently, Atari revived the original Roller Coaster Tycoon game system for a mobile platform, and released Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic on iOS and Android operating systems. I knew I had to check it out.
For those familiar with the early Roller Coaster Tycoon games, Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic provides a very similar experience. With each scenario in the game, you are given an objective at the respective park to complete in a set amount of time in the game.
If the parks look familiar, they should be. Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic consists of 95 from the original Roller Coaster Tycoon, its expansions Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes, and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. (Roller Coaster Tycoon 2’s expansion packs — Wacky Worlds [17 Scenarios] and Time Twister [14 Scenarios] are available as well as expansion packs for an additional cost.)
Like the original Roller Coaster Tycoon games, as you complete scenarios, you unlock further scenarios. When you first begin the game, there are 9 scenarios available; the first three scenarios in each of the Graphite, Emerald and Ruby groups. As you complete groups, you unlock further groups.
Like in the PC games, many parks have a set amount of money that can be increased with a loan.
I was pleasantly surprised how well Roller Coaster Tycoon translated to a mobile platform. Like its PC predecessors, the “place, click, build” construction method is the same in Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic.
Unlike the PC versions, you can’t drag your cursor in order to make your attraction fit in a specific location. You place your attraction with a tap, and then tap on the build button to build the attraction. It takes a little getting used to, but once I figured it out, it works very well. If there are trees or other obstacles in your way while building, they will be automatically removed, at a cost.
Playing through a scenario feels nearly identical to the PC versions of the game. Rides break down, requiring mechanics to fix them. Park guests throw trash all over the park, requiring handymen to sweep it up. New rides are funded, with the end goals to get a certain number of guests at the end of October, Year 3, or increase the park value to X amount.
The buttons are in a slightly different location, and require a delicate touch at times. I’m currently playing on an iPhone 6S with larger fingers, and sometimes find it difficult to build paths in the correct direction using the “bridge” feature. (Though I have found that the bridge feature is the easiest way to build paths.) To zoom in, you simply expand or contract your fingers like you would in other apps.
Note: If you need to close a ride and get the ride vehicles off the track, the quickest way to do it is close the ride and immediately click on the construction button. Unlike in the PC version, you can’t “double close” to get everything off the track.
Many of the pre-designed roller coaster options are available in the game. While building roller coasters, I’ve found, especially in parks with space and height constraints, that it’s almost easier to build custom coasters, especially since you have to sometimes play guessing games where a pre-built coaster will fit.
With any custom coaster, be sure to check your intensity ratings to make sure that your park guests will ride!
As you progress through the scenarios and finally complete it, the guests will give you a brief ovation before resuming their activities. One of my favorite parts of the original RCT games returns in the mobile version. If you have a balloon stall in your park, all guests a with balloon in their hands will release them simultaneously.
The buttons on the screen all have the same function as they did in Roller Coaster Tycoon for PC, but some have been moved or consolidated.
- The Park – Brings up your objective, park rating graph, guest attendance graph, park admission, report, and awards the park has received.
- Park Rating – This bar fills up green and fluctuates based on guest attitudes. Be sure to pay attention to your announcement bar.
- Guests – Organizes guests’ actions and thoughts, can be individual or as a group.
- Park Staff – Hire Handymen, Mechanics, Security Guards and Entertainers in this button.
- Rides – List of rides and attractions in your park.
- Money – Check your finances, increase/decrease your park loan.
- Rotate – You can rotate to one of four views. A new addition for the mobile version is the ability to change views in both directions, rather than just clockwise.
- Land/Water/Bulldozer – Formerly 3 Separate Tabs, this button raises/lowers land, builds water area, and bulldozes scenery.
- Scenery – Places scenery, plants, and fences.
- Paths – Builds pathways.
- Build Rides/Attractions – Self Explanatory
- Date – Changes with the time.
- Pause – pause the progress, or increase the speed. Can also save, quit, and screenshot from this button.
Three Improvements from Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 & 2
There are several features in Roller Coaster Classic that are not (at least to my knowledge) available in the PC versions of the game, and enhance the overall experience.
- The Fast Forward Button
- When clicking on pause, four arrows pop up above the date and pause button for various speed increases of gameplay. You can’t construct anything while the game is in fast forward, but it’s a great way to speed through scenarios or get out of debt during the game.
- Track Boosters on the Junior Roller Coaster
- It’s extremely helpful to have a flat booster track on a junior roller coaster. They max out around 32 mph, which is perfect levels of speed for the Junior Coaster.
- Pop Up Money Amounts
- When money is made, the amount pops up on the screen in light green. It’s helpful in knowing where your money is coming from.
There are a few things from the PC version of RCT that haven’t made their way to Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic yet.
Inclined track on Car Ride and Go-Kart Tracks. While the pre-built versions of the Car Ride attractions have inclined tracks, if you custom build Car Rides or Go-Kart tracks, they have to be on level ground, as there is no option for inclined track.This has been fixed. Thanks RCT Classic Development Team!
- In parks that have pre-existing benches, lamps, and trash cans, vandalism always seems to be a problem, definitely more than the PC versions of the game. You can hire a ton of security guards and replace these scenery items, but the park guests will continue to vandalize them.
- Money when demolishing a tracked attraction
- When demolishing a tracked attraction, be sure to deconstruct it one piece at a time to retain money. If you trash an attraction at one time, you seem to lose a large portion of the money.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m playing on an iPhone 6S, and have almost gotten the button pressing precision down, even with fat fingers. I imagine that it’s a little easier on an iPad with some more screen surface to work with.
If you’re like me, and have been craving the nostalgia that comes with playing Roller Coaster Tycoon for a long time on your mobile device, Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic is an amazing jump for the classic game to be playable on the go with today’s technology.
The main version of the game, featuring the aforementioned 95 scenarios, is a very affordable $5.99, with each scenario expansion pack costing $1.99. So for under $10, you get over 120 scenarios which promise hours of gameplay. If custom scenarios and “sandbox” mode are your thing, there is also a Tool Kit available for $5.99 that also features the custom coaster designer from Roller Coaster Tycoon 2.
You can buy Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic by clicking on the links below.
Android: Google Play Store
Have you played Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!