Posted: April 21, 2014
What can I say about this game?... Well, it’s fun. It’s frustrating. It’s simple. It’s small. Did I mention it’s fun? That said, it's not worth $10, and I'll tell you why;
Roller Coaster Rampage is pretty different from every other roller coaster game I’ve played. The coasters in this game are virtually “created” as you ride them. Trust me, it’s a very unique experience, and often that is where a lot of frustration comes from.
There are 2 modes you can currently play in Roller Coaster Rampage. There’s the Campaign mode where you basically try to collect as many gems as you can while linking your on-the-fly track with already pre-constructed pieces of track. Then there’s the Free Ride mode, in which you just make a coaster any way you like. You'll find yourself spending most of your time in Free Ride, as the Campaign mode is rather easy and only has about 30-ish challenges to finish.
I found quite a few things dissapointing about this game. One disappointment with this game was the content seemed to be drastically lacking. It’s virtually impossible to build the same coaster, but you only have one location so the scenery all around you is always the same. The location is rather small as well, leaving you struggling to build any ride that lasts longer than a minute or two. The coaster itself was also always the same. You couldn’t change to a wooden one, or a hanging one, or any other coaster than the standard metal one. The starting station was always the same, however in Campain Mode it was sometimes rotated a bit to make your launching and landing directions different.
Element impacts (crashing into objects) were random as well. Some things like the coaster track legs would get out of your way as you crossed them and other times you would ram into them and your hard work would come to an immediate and very violent end. Occasionally when legs did move they would interfere with a part of the track you already built, leaving you to sloppily go right through a track leg when you went back and rode the coaster after it's built. It was impossible to know if it’s safe to cross under another track or not. This made most of my coasters climb as they progressed and then dive back into the station at the end, instead of having a large hill at the very beginning. It also kept me from doing several cool maneuvers, like having a loop run through the center of another loop. Scenery was also touch-and-go as well. It was hard to tell what you could safely pass through and what you couldn’t. On occasion, sometimes an object would be deadly to your coaster one pass and safe the next. It was a mix that made it hard to do the quick decision making that the game requires you to make.
Another thing that brought frustrations was the control layout. I found the controls really awkward, especially since you have to really think fast while playing. Your acceleration/breaking and “roll” was controlled by the WASD keys while the arrow keys controlled left/right and up/down movement. You also had the numbers 1-3 for “stunts” like left/right corkscrews and looping. It probably would have been a much better setup with Q and E for the corkscrews and maybe R or F for looping. That would be more common, and easier, for those who are practiced in FPS games.
It’s not all bad though. I really enjoy this game as a simple time waster. It’s fast to load and you can quickly get yourself into the “Free Mode”. Even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to waste you can get a few rides in before you have to shut it down. I often find myself firing up this game in those few minutes before leaving for work, just because I know it’s a game that you can be satisfied with only playing it 5 minutes.
The purchase price of $9.99 is very high, and it's the main reason I'm not giving my recommendation for this game. There's just too much lacking. A lack of content makes it nothing more than a quick time waster. The controls are frustrating. The unchanging scenery is just lazy game designers. It's not worth $10.
I bought the game as part of a 4-game bundle for $5.99 which makes my purchase worth it. If you can buy it like that, or on sale for no more than $2, then go for it. Otherwise you're just paying Cadillac prices to own a Ford.