Planet Coaster - Critique
Planet Coaster has everything I could hope for for the Theme Park genre resurrection - and probably more. Its impressive diversity in terms of rides and attractions is reinforced by the multitude of options available (almost absurd) allowing you to modify the terrain, the structure and the roller coaster also makes me wonder: where had been gone this type of production lasting so many years? So admittedly, he is still a long way from an interesting simulation based on economic management, although he definitely wants to come close for certain types of structures available, but many of these weaknesses are likely to be erased over time. thanks to the smart addition of full mod support.
Developing and running your theme park manages to be simpler and more intuitive than its extreme versatility might suggest. I used simple keyboard shortcuts to place, reposition, change the color, modify souvenir shops, ice cream stalls, roller coasters, rides and other alleys. While the subtle controls, including custom tuning allowing you to change the lean angle and lane width, may seem almost overwhelming at first, they ultimately allowed me to customize every square inch of my fleet. 'attractions, so that it resembles exactly what I had imagined it, down to the smallest detail. The range of possibilities allowed by the customization of the various basic items is gargantuan, and it continues to expand on the Steam Workshop, in which you can easily navigate thanks to the well thought out and responsive interface of this famous platform. .
The available roller coaster editor undoubtedly symbolizes the spirit of freedom and experimentation that drives Planet Coaster. You have 28 different types of roller coasters right off the bat, ranging from all-wood, rack-and-pinion to hydraulic propulsion, and each one has behaviors and restrictions relative to its primary characteristics. This gave me full control over the slope, turns and structure of the ride, which allowed me to create the ideal roller coaster. As each roller coaster comes with its own set of pre-designed loops and turns, you can incorporate, resize, and reposition them as you wish. The only downside: being able to build the roller coaster of your dreams does not necessarily mean that it will become an attraction that people are snapping up.
To some degree, that makes sense. Each roller coaster, when tested, receives different ratings for arousal, fear, and nausea experienced. A high rate of excitement is always good to take ... and a high rate of nausea is bound to be bad. Fear must be carefully balanced, and you will have to find the right balance. We can also credit Planet Coaster for the fact that it offers you the right tools to determine where these different ratings come from - at least in theory. For example, you have access to a heat map that displays, segment by segment of your attraction, the parts of your roller coaster that will entertain your visitors and those that will see them unload their deluxe caramel sundae at the unfortunate onlookers roaming the surroundings. The real problem remains that the construction of a super roller coaster has never succeeded in arousing any enthusiasm from visitors (who decently did not wish to submit to such torture).
If my first creations suffered from obvious flaws, including a maximum lateral force representing almost 48 times the earth's gravity, the following ones, much more refined, also had small snags that prevented me from maintaining a level of excitement. sufficient to make the attraction economically viable. Even when the heat map dedicated to excitement proved to me that more than half of the track had a level above 10, or that I was swapping its slow lifting cable for a launch via synchronous linear motor - bought at a price of 'gold - in order to minimize the time it took for the wagons to get up the first slope, I would end up irreparably with an excitement rate of less than 1. In fact, the only noticeable difference when I compared my own creations to the pre-designed roller coasters that hit the public eye seemed to relate to their size. And it's really disappointing that the algorithm driving the creation of your fantastic roller coaster is punishing you for seeing the big picture.
Of the three available modes, I mainly played the Challenge mode, which ultimately turns out to be the closest to the model popularized by management games inviting you to build your park from A to Z (brick by brick), but which show itself also extremely dependent on loans and budget and must also spend a lot of money to develop new shops and other types of roller coasters. The career mode is like a series of scenarios, which I did not find inherently interesting, in which you manage and develop a pre-designed amusement park in order to meet the various objectives set. The main interest of this mode remains in my opinion the possibility of seeing the extremely detailed theme parks created by the developers, who offered me a good overview of the follies that I could achieve thanks to the tools made available to me free of charge. Sandbox mode is roughly similar to Challenge mode, with all items unlocked and their purchase cost disabled, and this allows you to build whatever you want while paying each of your employees. to the tune of a million dollars a year.
The management aspect of Career and Challenge modes certainly has a certain depth, but it is never really demanding and even ends up becoming useless when your fleet becomes profitable. The first piece of land I acquired took a lot of time and loans to develop, but I finally hit a tipping point when my annual profits were nearly enough to allow me to demolish it entirely before rebuilding it in the identical. You have to set the prices for the entrances, specific attractions and different stands - if you are more of the greedy type, you can even charge for access to sanitary facilities and drastically increase the fees associated with transactions made by your visitors through vending machines of the park. You will need to pay your staff, and your employees will revise their salary expectations upwards as they gain experience. Each ride has its own unique running cost, as well as a wear rate that can be lowered when you pay for the occasional needed repairs. As some rides prove to be more reliable than others, at the risk of being less thrilling, this last aspect injects a welcome strategic dimension. But in a world where money eventually ceases to be a problem, such considerations quickly become anecdotal.
Speaking of the staff, one of my biggest disappointments is that all of the staff share the exact same character model, regardless of their position within the park. The employees all look like the escaped high school guard caricature of a Saturday morning cartoon, and each mechanic is portrayed onscreen by a cheerful Hispanic man proudly sporting a handlebar mustache - even when the interface tells you that her name is "Patricia Faust". Knowing that visitors to my park have a randomly generated appearance, it would have been wise for this same technique to be applied to the employees, in order to make the whole more immersive and believable.
Managing your staff is also more complicated than it should be. While salaries, skill levels and functions are all listed on the register, they cannot be directly edited from here. I had to click on each employee on the list to open a menu specific to them each time I wanted to pay them a raise or assign them to another area of the park. In a similar vein, the choice regarding the pre-designed sets available without resorting to modding is quite limited. Unless you want to build Fairy Tale Land, Pirate Land, Robot Land, or Spooky Land, you'll need to thoroughly customize each structure and environment - and this task won't be suitable for everyone given the time it takes to complete it. That being said, the tools prove to be flexible enough to let your creativity run wild and allow you to build anything you can imagine. If you want a huge statue symbolizing your company to overlook your vertiginous roller coaster freshly commissioned, go for it! If you prefer a pizza stand whose style is largely inspired by Trogdor the Burninator (a famous character from the Homestar Run web-cartoon) and wrestler Randy Savage's Macho Man gimmick, time and effort will be your only obstacles.