Review: ScreamRide (Xbox One)
Ever dreamed of being in control of your very own, futuristic theme park? ScreamRide offers the chance to do something a little like that. Brought to you from Frontier Developments (ex RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 and Thrillville developers) ScreamRide takes the idea of a theme park to a rather different place, but is it a dull ride or the time of your life?
ScreamRide differs from other theme park type games in that the main aim here is not to create your own park, charge a fee and see how much money you can make. It moves away from this conventional set up into something completely different. ScreamRide takes place at Screamworks where making Rollercoasters is the business and you are sent there to test things out. There isn’t much more to it than that, other than it is somewhat futuristic and has an annoying AI voice narrating the game. I have no idea why they went for this robotic, tedious sounding voice, but they did so there.
It’s is essentially split into 3 different game types in the main career mode. The first is ScreamRider, second is Demolition Expert and the third is Engineer. Other than that there is a level creation room but not a whole lot more. The career mode has you playing the 3 different game types while trying to get high scores so you can get commendations that will help you progress to different levels. There are 6 levels of each mode and they take place in a variety of unremarkable settings. For each level there are a bunch of challenges to add to the replayability per level, but these are mostly cosmetic challenges and nothing overly worthwhile doing.
Looking at the 3 modes, ScreamRider was probably my favourite of the lot, although that isn’t saying too much. In this mode you have to test out a whole bunch of rollercoasters by actually controlling the rollercoaster yourself. You accelerate and break, you collect turbos and decide when to move faster and slower. You can do a wheelie to get extra points and you need to lean to the sides to ensure you don’t derail. That’s pretty much it for all of the levels. Get through the rollercoaster without derailing in the shortest time possible, while doing wheelies when you can.
Screamrider is fun for the first 10 levels or so, and some of the rollercoasters do look pretty cool. The challenges add a little more to try during each stage but not enough to make you want to play them over and over. It’s a tedious affair when you get to the back end of the levels, but it is at the very least more addictive than the other 2 modes.
Demolition Expert is the second career game type whereby you are placed in a cabin in a sling… in front of buildings that are lined with explosives. The aim here is to choose a pace and direction and time your sling so that you shoot your cabin in the direction of a building and try destroy it. You are awarded points for the amount of destruction you manage. There are numerous different cabins to be acquired that each have a different ability. One splits into three pieces, one goes much further, one detonates and so on.
Timing and the aftertouch ability, which allows you to move your cabin slightly after shooting, is key to the destruction of the buildings. There are props on the stages such as magnets and trampolines which add to the variety of how you play each stage but again you are doing mostly the same thing from level 1 through to the end. If you are a fan of games like Angry Birds you might enjoy this mode that is similar in a 3D perspective, but if, like me, you aren’t such a fan, you will find this a tad boring and repetitive.
The last game type is easily my worst, and that is Engineer. In Engineer you are required to complete a rollercoaster for the park. You are given a partly-built rollercoaster and you have to finish it off with a limited amount of pieces. You are given different types of pieces like “loop-di-loops” and quick drops, as well as your standard pieces. The idea is to finish the rollecoaster with as much finesse and awesome that you can possibly muster.
Once you finish the construction of the rollercoaster you can test it out and see where you are scoring points and where characters are getting derailed and costing you points. Like the other 2 modes it doesn’t change much from the original concept apart from giving you more and different pieces. It’s not quite like creating your own rollercoaster from scratch and kind of just feels like a cheap mode which was thrown in.
None of the game types are particularly lovable yet they do all offer a bit of fun for a limited amount of time. Arguably the best part is having a leaderboard for each level as you know there is nothing quite like beating your friends’ scores. Problem with that is, most people don’t have the game so even this is a bit limited unless you have a group who are all buying the game. Other than that there is no multiplayer whatsoever.
You can go to the creation centre and construct your very own designs. By completing career mode missions you earn different pieces that can be used here and that aids you in creating some pretty cool rollercoasters. Creating the rollercoasters is mostly easy enough, but can get quite technical and a bit clunky if you try to explore all the options. If you have the aptitude for it you can probably go mad and share some amazing creations with your friends to try.
ScreamRide truly comes as a bit of a disappointment. When I saw it was Frontier at the helm I was excited having been a fan of their previous games and expecting a new-gen futuristic type theme park simulation game. What I got instead feels like a rushed attempt at making a quick thrill which is anything but thrilling. It’s not a badly made game, it just isn’t much of anything. Perhaps younger gamers would get some use out of it, but for the majority I find it a hard game to recommend.