When Microsoft made the bold decision to drop the price of the Xbox One twice over the last several months, they did so because they wanted to convince every consumer that now is the perfect time to own their all-in-one console. With quality titles like Forza Horizon 2 and Sunset Overdrive as two of their standout exclusives from 2014, it seemed inevitable that the lineup would only get better as time went on.
Fast-forward to this month and the release of Screamride, a roller coaster construction simulator and their first console exclusive of 2015. After having spent a lot of time with this title, I wanted to give my candid thoughts on this unique game and whether or not it’s worth the $39.99 price tag currently attached to it.
On the surface, Screamride could be classified as the spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon but with a few added bells and whistles to give it some charm and personality. The game takes place in the year 2050 and revolves around a fictional company called Screamworks that specializes in testing the latest roller coaster rides for the future preservation of humanity and sciences. As I mentioned before, this is a simulator and thus every ride you participate in is experienced by a group of employed thrill seekers. Beyond this, there is no particular story to follow but rather a career mode with three separate paths to explore from start to finish.
These three distinct paths are ScreamRider, Demolition Expert, and Engineer. In ScreamRider mode, players are given full control of a roller coaster and are tasked with using turbos effectively to navigate through each track safely and quickly without losing any passengers along the way. Demolition Expert mode allows players to destroy environments by throwing cabins at various structures to gain points. Last but certainly not least, Engineer mode allows players to build their own roller coasters with predetermined requirements and test them out for intensity and fun factor ratings afterward.
All of the modes described above take place across six different lab locations with over 50 diverse levels to conquer. As you progress through each area, you gain access to upgraded tools to compliment the elevated difficulty and skill level of every challenge. It’s worth noting that patience is needed in virtually every career path if you truly want to master the game and get the highest scores. If you’re able to meet the minimum requirements in a level, you’ll still be able to progress forward, but the game definitely encourages you to do better the next time around.
When it comes to the overall look and feel of the game, Screamride has a cartoonish, yet comical vibe to it that falls right in line with the playful nature of the subject matter. There is an AI instructor that critiques your performances and is eerily similar to GLaDOS from Portal. On top of all this, there are also animations that show how the riders react after participating in these challenges. As a whole, all of these elements are entertaining in their own way and clearly illustrate that the talented team over at Frontier Developments had fun making this game.
Once players are finished with the career mode, there’s a sandbox and level creator mode worth checking out. The sandbox mode allows you to create your own roller coaster using any of the six lab locations as your base of operations. You can edit everything from the scenery to how technologically advanced your ride will be. After constructing the coaster, you can then upload it to the level creator mode and allow others to download your creations. This feature is essentially the saving grace of the game because it offers a great deal of replayability for those who are heavily invested in the title.
With so many positives about Screamride, there are at least two things that keep it from being better. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the game requires a good combination of both skill and patience to get the best results. If by any chance you aren’t a fan of games that will challenge you to perfect your craft, then this game definitely isn’t for you. On top of that, you have to be into simulation and puzzle building games to truly get the most out of this experience. Even though this title tries to cater to everybody, the truth of the matter is that it’s better suited for a particular audience and if you aren’t in that group, then I can guarantee you’ll be disappointed.
The other major issue with this game lies in the fact that the gameplay process can tend to get repetitive at times. While some levels do drastically change in appearance, the core concepts always remain the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for more variety then you definitely won’t get much here.
Overall, Screamride is good roller coaster simulation game that is perfect for diehard fans of the genre. If you’re remotely interested in seeing what this world has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to at least try out the demo that is currently on Xbox One. Then, and only then, will you truly know if this game is right for you.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Screamride for the Xbox One provided by Microsoft Studios.