Planet Coaster - Review

Author: Tommaso Campion
Date: 2020-07-31 08:51:23
Returning home after a day spent having fun in a theme park is always a trauma from which you never fully recover. And then via videogame simulations to appease that desire to return. The RollerCoaster Tycoon series, for example, has experienced a dozen rewarding springs, but the spin-off that instead of the number has a World in the name, however, went rather badly. So what do we do? What is the innovative cure for missed carousel melancholy? We take a large dose of Planet Coaster, that's it.

Frontier Developments is a development studio which, by creating video games, plays with the users themselves. Just think of Elite Dangerous, a spatial simulation that lives on our aspirations to the cosmos, to the unknown, to what is out there. Elite and its spaceships play with us, take the human drive towards the universe and turn it against us, "forcing us" to hours of wandering between one star and another, always leaving us amazed by the wonder and beauty of boundless space (virtual). Planet Coaster does the same, in fact, it is even worse because the amount of features available, of things to do, try, see, experience are half an infinity more than what its spatial relative proposes. The new Frontier jewel is able to kidnap immediately, making us become children again and giving our inner children various tools to create the Luna Park of our dreams. The philosophy that led to the birth of this game is clear from the title, in which heads a "Planet" as big as a house. Planet, our home, us, because the new iteration of making roller coaster kilometers high comes from the players and gives them all the attention. The initial screen, in fact, is presented as a stylization of our beloved globe, on which the peaceable avatars of friends and videogamers scattered around the land are headed. Clicking on them will open a drop-down menu with the creations of each user, in a sort of digital showcase from which to freely choose this and that object that surely fit in with our project.

Planet Coaster, as you may have guessed, rests heavily on the creativity of its users, enjoying excellent support for the Steam Workshop system. Who has an idea can give it a concrete form thanks to the excellent editor present in the game and with the immediacy of a click you can share it with the whole world, making it possible for anyone to download and use it freely in their own personalized parks. I have seen sandwich shops transformed into Star Wars walkers, pirate villages to be envied by the designers of the most famous parks, fairy castles, and even whole worlds reproduced thanks to the simple tools offered by Planet Coaster. Positioned in any way (and one above the other, without limitations), the building "blocks" and the multitude of objects for the scenarios (such as barrels, anchors, robots, skeletons, etc.) transform the game into a simulation very close to the philosophy of LEGO, extending the life and versatility of the technological product out of all proportion. To crown this drift of the scenographic do-it-yourself the excellent tool for modifying the land also thinks about it, thanks to which it is possible to shape the landscape as we please. A small gem is the fact that the modified terrain, even when enlarged, does not incorporate the tracks of the roller coaster, allowing us an even better and easier result if you decide to create evocative attractions such as the classic locomotive launched among American canyons. Then there are those who create Looney Tunes' Taz, but when we review sandbox titles we take into consideration human manual skills, not extraterrestrial ones.

There are three modes: Career, Sandbox and Challenge. During my test I tried to space as much as possible, hopping here and there, but I often ended up willingly playing a stimulating free game in Sandbox, where the money is unlimited, just like the fantasy required by this playful variation. In full Hakuna Matata philosophy, this mode puts a completely empty space in our hands (initially selectable among some biomes, from which a rocky desert and a beautiful green prairie stand out) and with a bank account from Uncle Scrooge leaves the player complete autonomy creative and decision-making. The management drift of the gameplay is totally abandoned in favor of a more playful, sparkling and open to experimentation approach. Starting games in Sandbox for me was like knocking over the box of toys, a magical moment that led to the creation of the most absurd and improbable stories and architectures. The theme of childhood is very strong and felt in Planet Coaster, so much so that every single new construction unconsciously contains that pinch of boyish inventiveness inherent in each of us.

For the more serious, however, there is the Challenge mode, which starts in the exact same way as the aforementioned Sandbox, without however the benefit of unlimited hard cash. To enrich the game we will think about the continuous challenges, which will offer prizes once completed. The finances will therefore have to be managed carefully and the creation of the definitive roller coaster will not always be possible. Poverty, on more than one occasion, led me to build carousels for children and families, cheap and able to bring a less extreme and more approachable catchment area to the park. The administrative management is easy to read and use, with the classic items to keep in mind, such as advertising, staff wages, ticket prices and the management of turnouts at various attractions. Everything is still very enjoyable and fun, with curious little things like the priority passes that allow the lucky ones from the full purse to skip the line, an option among other things implemented in many large really existing amusement parks, or the possibility of assigning members staff to specific areas of the park.