Maxx Force Review: A Force to be Reckoned With
Those brave enough to take a spin on Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America are launched like specks of dust behind a can of compressed air from 0-78 mph in under two seconds. The coaster opened to the public in early July, and I finally made it to the park over the weekend to give it a try.
Maxx Force is the work of S&S – Sansei Technologies, a coaster manufacturer known for leveraging pneumatic power (pressurized air) to launch roller coasters to lightning-fast speeds in mere seconds.
The coaster has a commanding presence from nearly everywhere in the park. And if you can’t see it, you can hear it. More on that later.
Maxx Force Ride Experience
For my inaugural ride, I scored a seat on the front row. Maxx Force’s surprisingly efficient operations (for a Six Flags park) are thanks in part to a “grouper,” an employee at the entrance to the station who quickly assigns soon-to-be riders to rows. Don’t expect to request a specific row.
Maxx Force’s two trains are both comprised of 16 seats divided evenly across four cars.
The seats are comfortable. The lap-bar-only restraints are secure but not restricting. The seatbelt makes you feel as though you’re buckling up in a race car.
Even though the coaster has only been open for a little over a month, the handlebar-like grips were already worn. And I can see why. As the train departed the station, the palms of my hands began to perspire, and I gripped the bars like my life depended on it.
The wait for the launch seemed longer than the 23-second ride itself. I could hear and feel each heartbeat. The train shifted forward and backward as it aligned and latched onto the cable that would catapult the train down the launch track.
The 0-78 mph-in-1.8-seconds launch is blistering fast. It’s the fastest acceleration on a roller coaster in North America. It’s the first of three records you’ll break on Maxx Force.
The loud, sometimes-startling “boom” created by the whooshing release of compressed air can be heard throughout the park. There’s a slight delay in the sound — so once you hear it, the train is already well on its way to the finish line.
I think I kept my eyes open through the launch. Maybe. I hardly remember passing under what will eventually become a train bridge.
The track rises slightly immediately following the launch track. Don’t expect much airtime here. Its purpose seems to be to create clearance for the train exiting the “dog tongue” element.
Once I gathered my senses, I was blasting up that double-inversion “dog tongue.” At 175 feet, the dog tongue is the tallest double inversion in the world.
The train slowed slightly between the first and second inversions of the dog tongue, allowing me to appreciate the view of the park while partially inverted. The drive tire wheels seen at the top of the element can push the train forward should it become stuck.
But with the speed of the launch, I can’t imagine that they’ll be needed often.
Exiting the dog tongue, the train hurdles toward the ground, veering to the right as it approaches the next record-breaking element.
Maxx Force’s zero-G roll — the fastest inversion in the world at 60 mph — is smooth like butter.
I was expecting something more intense, but I appreciated that it was more fun than dizzying. It makes the coaster very re-rideable.
The last element — a double-inversion dive loop — was my favorite. The train flipps upside down, but instead of rotating a full 360 degrees, it stops at roughly the 270-degree mark.
You pause briefly — sideways — before inverting back the way you came, upside down once again as you dive to the ground, slowed gently by magnetic brakes.
Maxx Force is a coaster you’ll want to get right back in line for. It left me speechless, not fully able to comprehend the 23-second adrenaline rush. All I could do was clap.
I have to give a shout-out the Maxx Force ride ops. They ran the boarding operation like an actual pit crew. The two on the station floor ran down each side of the train, buckling seatbelts for riders and checking their restraints. There was no lack of hustle.
I know Maxx Force’s relatively low capacity has been a concern for some. But if the ops are always as efficient as they were during my visit, I don’t think it will be an issue. In fact, my wait was always shorter than the posted wait time.
Maxx Force might not be my favorite roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. At least not as of this posting. That honor goes to a neck-and-neck battle between Goliath and Raging Bull. However, it’s a stellar addition to a park that already has a lot to offer coaster junkies.
An on-ride camera appears to be in the works, but I couldn’t figure out where it will be positioned — hopefully somewhere on the launch track. I’m sure my mid-launch facial expression was worth the price of a souvenir photo.
Riders exit through the new Victory Lane gift shop (formerly known as Carousel Plaza Gifts) where you can get plenty of Maxx Force-branded items to take home with you.
A Few Maxx Force Disappointments
This wouldn’t be a true Maxx Force review if I didn’t air some of my grievances. But thankfully, most of my gripes with Maxx Force have nothing to do with the ride experience itself.
The area surrounding the coaster — including the queue — seems like an afterthought. I know the park was rushing to finish everything before the coaster’s July 4th opening weekend. But for a coaster themed to racing (or at least branded as such), there is little if any reference to racing, race cars, etc. There isn’t even a “green light” at the launch.
The queue is a giant swath of concrete. I can’t imagine waiting through it on a hot summer day. The last block of switchbacks is covered, but only by canvas. The supports holding the canvas are unpainted. Thankfully, most of my waits during my visit were confined to this covered portion of the queue.
To me, Great America has always been the Six Flags park that makes things look just a tad bit more polished than its sister parks. Perhaps those days are gone.
I do like that the park reused the entrance sign and walkway that led to the giant-screen Pictorium theater, which was removed last year to make room for Maxx Force.
And of course, I wish the ride was longer. But it beats a flat ride (or no ride) by a long shot. And I’d rather ride a coaster that maintains its momentum through the end rather than one that crawls to the finish line.
But the pros of Maxx Force far outweigh the few cons. I commend Six Flags for choosing Great America to receive such a fun coaster.
Watch an on-ride POV video of Maxx Force below:
Have you ridden Maxx Force yet? Share your thoughts about Six Flags Great America’s newest coaster in the comments section below.