Who doesn’t love roller coasters? OK I see a few hands, but the thrill of riding these mechanical machines is certainly an adrenaline boost most of the world thrives upon. That said, games like Rollercoaster Tycoon have won the hearts of many gamers by offering up the ability to create their own thrill rides. Screamride takes that concept and runs with it, creating a playground of chaos that is certainly unique, and definitely enjoyable.
If the concept is familiar, it is because developer Frontier Developments has a track record with these types of games. They worked on Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, and even the underrated launch title for Xbox One, Zoo Tycoon. They also worked on Elite Dangerous on PC, which simply blows my mind. Needless to say they are a talented group.
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Multiplayer: Leader boards and content creation/sharing
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Screamride is broken down into three sections, with each one spanning over six worlds offering up new challenges. There is a Trials-esque coaster-riding section, a destruction segment akin to Angry Birds, and finally Engineering, which tasks players with completing coasters while meeting certain requirements. I really liked that I could move between sections if I grew bored of a specific one at any time, and there are enough missions to keep players busy for quite some time.
The coaster riding segments feel like twitch challenge modes not unlike Trials. Players are tasked with completing the race while meeting objectives. Doing tricks such as riding on two wheels earn extra points, and higher scores unlock new parts and objects for the sandbox mode. Frontier does a decent job of keeping things fresh by adding longer tracks, jumps, and more obstacles. I really enjoyed when I was tasked with tossing riders into structures. The demolition physics in the game are amazing.
The demolition segments are an easy favorite. Launching pods with riders inside to destroy structures is addictive. The physics are fantastic, and hitting the weak points and watching buildings tumble never gets old. I have heard that this is the same engine that will house destruction in the upcoming Crackdown title, which if true, makes my mind explode with happiness.
The final section started out as my least favorite, and quickly morphed into one of the coolest sections of Screamride. Engineer gives players an incomplete track and tasks them with completing it, while also meeting certain objectives. Think of it as a puzzle with multiple solutions. The quick edit and restart features keep it from becoming frustrating, and even in failure I had a good laugh when my coaster tossed riders into the deep blue.
This all fits into the sandbox mode where I could craft my own coasters, and upload them to the server for other players to try and rate. The community is obviously small as of this writing, but the possibilities are there to craft some really cool designs. I am looking forward to people re-creating existing coasters from around the world with the engine.
Visually Screamride looks good, but what stands out is the physics engine within the game. Buildings crumple and tumble with a satisfying wallop. My son (who is almost five) was engulfed in the destruction. He would jump up and cheer when a building came crumbling down. He begged me to keep playing Screamride, so he could watch in amazement as I caused entire skyscrapers to come falling down with ease.
With all that said the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether this package is worth $40. yes this is not a small download title, it is clocking in at retail, disc and all. $40 may seem steep, but the content justifies the price tag, players should just know if that content is something they want to invest in. The demo gives access to all three types of game play, and if players enjoy that, then a purchase is certainly worth it.
Screamride is unlike anything else I have played, and certainly packs a ton of fun.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.