RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride was reviewed on PS4 with PSVR where is is exclusively available.
I’ve always lived by the motto that VR is a gimmick, and that we don’t have the tech to make it more than that. Then I checked out Wellington’s Hologate setup, and my mind was changed. So when the folks at Atari hooked us up with a code for their RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride on PSVR, I had to give it a go. For those living under a rock since RollerCoaster Tycoon hit the market, the game is basically a build your own theme park Tycoon game. The latest outing, in the form of a VR game, lets you not only build the coasters, but also experience the thrill of riding them, whilst shooting a laser gun. Pew pew pew.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride has a few game modes to keep you occupied; There is the Single Player only ‘Missions’, then Sandbox, Easyriders and Blueprints available in both Party and Single Player. Single Player missions tasks you with a series of missions, each with their own set of three goals. Completing goals and finishing the track whilst shooting these crazy little spheres nets you points. The Sandbox mode, as you would expect just lets you build a track on the one of two available locations. Easyriders is stocked full of fun coasters to ride and shoot your way through the fun, and Blueprints lets you play maps made in Sandbox mode.
Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds good in theory. And reading it here made me believe the same, unfortunately for RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride though, 1+1 does not equal 2. RollerCoasters are fun to ride and to build, on the rails shooters… eh… not so much. But the biggest issue is down to the gameplay itself, not the game. Everything feels very skin deep. The missions in Single Player are incredibly simple and feel as if regardless of how you build the tracks, anything is possible. Sandbox mode lets you build a track without limitations, and sadly feels pointless as the same thing is possible in Single Player. Easyriders and Headspinners are by far the most enjoyable, letting you ride and shoot your way through tracks, but the fun only lasts so long, and all you’re left with is an on the rails shooter which is also in VR. Partymode is essentially the same except you pass the controller, again this is odd and the round system is broken (You can find out why on your own).
By far the oddest thing about the entire game, is the lack of a soundtrack. The only noise is when you place tracks. When you think about a party game, a music track would be pretty damn near the top of the list of requirements.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed by RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride. What could have been something awesome, is instead pieces of awesome in a very underwhelming pie. The VR is awesome, and it’s just a pity that the few minutes of fun you have when you ride your first coaster couldn’t be replicated through the rest of the game.