If you’re a fan of theme park construction and management games, chances are you’ve probably followed along the progress of Planet Coaster from Frontier Development. Planet Coaster, releasing this week is what could quite possibly be the best theme park game ever. Planet Coaster puts you in control of your own theme park, from building to managing the employees to making sure guests are happy, challenging you to construct the biggest and best theme park ever.
Having been playing this game since closed Alpha, I’ve been able to get a good look at their progress, and the evolution and polish that this game has received. Frontier, having been the developer that previously made the “Roller Coaster Tycoon” series, definitely had the design chops and experience to set about making a fabulous game. Using real physics for the coasters, piece-by-piece building and coaster design, terrain editing capabilities, and massive amounts of micro-management capabilities, Planet Coaster delivers in a big way.
While the engine the physics and all the various bits and bobs are all important factors to note, in a game like this what it really comes down to for this writer is, how much fun will I have building all these things? Well the answer is, massive amounts of fun! Creating the terrain, the feel and the flavor of your own theme park is beautifully done. With visitors, at first slowly, then very quickly filtering into your park, each with their own wants and needs, this game quickly feels vibrant and alive. Making sure that little Johnny has a bin to place his trash from his burger that you just over-charged (or sold to him at a reasonable price, your choice) him for, or that Mary has a peaceful ride because she’s scared of the massive steel coaster you just built, all of this is woven masterfully into the game world and feels quite rewarding when you can step back and say “I built that”.
If, like me, you’re not into the piece-by-piece construction and simply want to make a really cool one-off park, the games already massive library of Steam Workshop integrated community content is incredible. From the very first time you log into the menu screen, you’ll be able to see featured content creators as well as select a tab where you can browse creations from in-game friends. The availability and already massive amount of user created content is incredible. Playing through the game on the last day of beta, I downloaded a Star Wars X-Wing, a Death Star themed ride, and several other Sci-Fi assets and made an “out of this world park” that I never could’ve made on my own.
This game truly is impressive, both for fans of the previously made Frontier roller coaster games and for those that may be new to the genre. With several modes, and the ability to export your parks to your friends and really to the world, this game should offer plenty of replay value and is a solid pickup. Do yourself a favor and grab this one and go out there and become the best them park owner you can.