Screamride - Review
Play Screamride and you’ll inevitably begin comparing it to Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon. It’s inevitable. In fact, it’s surprising that it has taken this long for another rollercoaster-themed videogame to be released.
Unfortunately, the end result leaves a lot of be desired. Screamride suffers from an awkward and frankly bizarre identity crisis. It wants to be a ride construction game, but frequently pesters and puts limits on what you can build. It also wants to (sort of) be a casual racing game, with plenty of online functionality. Lastly, it attempts to be a straight up puzzle game. Suffice to say it pulls none of these elements off in any satisfying fashion.
So let’s take the ride-making component. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the game, and for anyone that’s ever experienced the joy of building their own rollercoaster in Rollercoaster Tycoon, Screamride does manage to offer a similar, giddy thrill. Albeit briefly.
The problem is there’s not a whole lot to do with it. Building a ride is fun, and being able to test it out will no doubt lead to some amusing moments, as your test riders go careering off the track because you made a corner too tight or too many big drops caused the coaster to gain too much speed. But, once you’re done there’s a resounding “Is that it?” - What do you do now? There’s no management element to Screamride, no customers to placate or money to earn, it’s simply building rollercoasters in vacant blobs of land.
Of course, you can post your creations online, as well as download rides made by other people. This is undoubtedly the area that will determine the lifespan of Screamride. Logging on, there’s already plenty of impressive creations that put plenty of real-life rides to shame.
Once you’ve finished building rides in a sandbox, there’s the option to ride through pre-built tracks in what amounts to the game’s single-player campaign. There’s a problem however; you don’t have much to do. Sure, you alter the speed of the ride, and occasionally manoeuvre past a few objects on the track, but there’s very little actual gameplay going on. It’s dull, repetitive, and gets boring pretty quickly.
The alternative is the “Demolition” mode, which effectively amounts to a bland, more expensive version of Angry Birds, as you sling metal balls filled with thrill-seekers and attempt to demolish various buildings. It doesn’t help that the entire game mode feels far less responsive than anything in Angry Birds, with frequent attempts needed until you’ll have scored enough points to progress onto the next level.
The final game type is what could generously be called a “puzzle” mode. Here, you finish construction of various rides and attempt to get a high score (by making sure the ride goes fast, has unique elements etc.) using a limited number of parts or only having a certain length of track to work with. Much like the “Demolition” mode, it feels more like a bonus extra, than a major part of a game. Taking the time to screw on a few extra bits of a ride aren’t all that exciting and Frontier Developments have decided to give it a major focus.
In fact, to compare Screamride to Theme Park, Rollercoaster Tycoon, or even Thrillville, which was also developed by Frontier Developments, is actually misleading. Screamride, oddly enough, has much more in common with Trials HD and its ilk, with a focus on creating small, user-generated levels which can then be played by other people. The only problem is, Screamride isn’t Trials HD; the amount of player interaction is severely limited and the level editor, whilst decent, suffers from an overwhelming amount of bland design and aimlessness.
Screamride is the perfect example of a game you’ll pick up once, maybe twice, and then forget about completely. Its gameplay is more like a distraction than it is the focus, and whilst it looks impressive, it also manages to be completely devoid of personality, with its Sims-like characters bobbing about doing silly nonsense in an effort to trick you into thinking that what you’re playing is entertaining.
Splitting the game over three different game modes means that Screamride comes across aimless and without purpose. It’s a theme park game, but not a simulator, don’t expect the deep decisions and addictive management simulation of Rollercoaster Tycoon. Its more “gamey” elements are fun in a throwaway sense, but this is a game that attempts to emulate Angry Birds but cost almost twice as much. Lastly, it tries to be a puzzle game, but doesn’t give you anything interesting to puzzle over, instead leaving you to fill in the gaps, as if it’s scared you can’t think for yourself.
Even those desperate for a theme park oriented game aren’t likely to find anything they like here. Screamride is the perfect example of a game that tries to be appeal to a variety of players but, in the end, ends up appealing to no one.
Screamride was released on March 6th for the Xbox One and 360.
This review is based on the Xbox One version.
© 2015 LudoLogic