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iPad  header logo

Coaster Crazy

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Around the bend

Product: Coaster Crazy | Developer: Frontier Developments | Format: iPad | Genre: Simulation | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Coaster Crazy iPad, thumbnail 1
Don't let Frontier's experience with RollerCoaster Tycoon and Thrillville throw you off. Coaster Crazy is not a management game, and it's not an amusement park simulator. It's actually a puzzle game.

In each level, you're asked to build a rollercoaster - often under some strict limitations - that satisfies the picky tastes of your passengers. You might have to make it fast, or safe, or cost effective. It might have to go through hoops, boast three drops, or have two seconds of air-time.

Colossos

Don't be fooled by its cartoon and casual aesthetic, either. This is a game with a surprising amount of depth. As you test your creations, you can pull up a real-time graph to show the vertical and lateral g-forces being experienced, for example. Plus, you're always aware of how excited, frightened, and nauseated your passengers feel.

You want to keep all of those stats in the optimal places - your riders should be frightened, for example, but not so terrified that they think the track is going to snap in half any second - to earn a high score.

It can feel a little micro-managey at times, and it can often be very obtuse when you're tying to figure out exactly which section of your coaster is letting down your score - and then what you can do to fix it.

Compare this to another DIY puzzler like Bad Piggies, where you're given immediate feedback on how well your vehicle is doing. If it breaks into pieces and sends a pig flying into the air, it wasn't built correctly.

Fujiyama

Coaster Crazy generally has a hands-off approach to explaining all this stuff, and you're left to experiment with how certain coaster elements affect your passengers' stats and g-force. I had to look up the definition of rollercoaster "air-time" on Wikipedia to beat one challenge. A better tutorial is needed, I'd say.

This constant testing is made all the more frustrating by the fact that you have to sit through a lengthy rollercoaster test ride every time you want to see if your tweaks have made a difference.

You have to watch your cartoon passengers set off, then follow them around the track. There's no speed-up option, and you can't skip the boring bits either. Also, the same god-damn music plays every single time.

Leviathan

You make your rollercoaster in a 3D editor, and while this is a rather powerful tool it takes some time to get used to. Even then, it has quirks and peculiarities: zooming in and rotating often get confused with one another, and trying to manipulate individual utilities on the track (like brakes, chains, or tunnels) is finicky.

Sometimes, you can get yourself in such a mess you just want to start all over again, but there's no 'clear all' button. You've got to go in and delete everything.

Coaster Crazy is free, but - thankfully - monetisation doesn't drag the game down. Once you get going, your successful rides will automatically bring in cash, which will easily give you enough currency to open parks and build rides.

You also can't just bankroll your way to victory - limitations on track length, scenery density, utility allowance, and special sections mean you can't astronomically boost your score by just buying a load of cool stuff.

The only real reminder that this game is free-to-play is the presence of artificial timers on the map screen. Every time you want to open a new park (say, on the White House front lawn, or behind the Sydney Opera House) you'll be made to wait a few hours unless you pay up. It's a tax on the addicted.

Kingda Ka

Coaster Crazy is a fun game, and there's a real sense of reward when you finally make a coaster that not only looks awesome but satisfies all the challenges and demands of that level.

But it can also be frustrating when it's unclear why your awesome coaster is scoring so low, why you keep missing out on that one challenge, or why your passengers are spewing their guts on the third bend.
 
Coaster Crazy
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 16 November 2012
Coaster Crazy is clever and rewarding, but a finicky track editor and a lack of immediate feedback means only hardcore rollercoaster fanatics will stick with it for the long haul
 
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