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    Rollercoaster Tycoon World: Where Ice cream meets Terminal velocity

    The Rollercoaster Tycoon series has been around for a fair while, with the first game having been released in 1999. Wildly successful both critically and commercially, Rollercoaster Tycoon charged player with building and maintaining a successful theme park designing and placing a range of appealing rides to attract customers and then maintaining them at peak performance so as to maintain visitor satisfaction. Attracting visitors rewarded the player with funds that could then be used to improve the park with new rides and landscaping as well as pay for any needed maintenance and cleaning. The popularity of the game gave rise to an underwhelming Xbox port, a number of expansion packs introducing new rides and scenarios for the player to complete, as well as three direct sequels.

    Both Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and 3 were widely liked by fans but also criticised for being more akin to large expansion packs than fully fledged new games. Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 nearly killed the franchise, as the smartphone/pad only game relied heavily on microtransactions and time-gating of content. Thankfully Area 52 Games, the developers of the latest iteration of the series, Rollercoaster Tycoon World, have promised that the new instalment will be a completely different game from the mobile title and will be free of microtransactions and time-gating.

    In keeping with the style of the series, Rollercoaster Tycoon World sees players building and maintaining a successful theme park, placing rides and amenities, monitoring the budget, research, visitor satisfaction and the like, but the approach taken in the latest game is quite far removed from previous entries. A new 3D engine allows players to ride their coasters and other rides in either first or third person perspective but more importantly allows the player to use a spline system when building a rollercoaster, clicking and dragging tracks to make curves and drops rather than having to rely on the tile based system of previous games. This should allow for a great deal more creativity when creating rides, as should the “Architect Mode” which will allow players to plan and layout their rollercoaster before they actually construct them in the park.

    As with the previous games, Rollercoaster Tycoon World will feature three kinds of track wood, steel and inverted each with their unique characteristics to attract different kinds of visitors. There is little current information about the other rides available, but a new “Park Pulse” system promises to give players a fast way to discover how well their park is functioning so changes to ride availability, speed and the like can be tweaked on the go. The game will launch with four themes for parks: Americana, Wild-West, Sci-Fi and Adventure but more themes will become after release as free updates and in paid expansions.

    Far and away the biggest new feature for Rollercoaster Tycoon World is the whole World aspect of the game. For the first time ever, RTW will feature a multiplayer aspect to the game in addition to the offline single player mode. The multiplayer allows players to visit other people’s parks and ride on their coasters but this is the least interesting part of playing with other people. Players will be able to trade rollercoaster designs online or team up with three other players to manage a giant theme park, with each player being responsible for a section of the park.

    This should pose a challenge for even the most hardened RCT fans, and each player will have to take responsibility of not only their territory but the welfare of the other players as well, ensuring that budgets are equitably used and that no individual section detracts from the overall experience.

    As it stands, RCTW doesn’t look much different from the mobile-only Rollercoaster Tycoon 4, with low polygon models, jerky animations and an erratic frame-rate. Hopefully by the time the full game is released we’ll see something that looks like it was released in 2015, not 2004.

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