Theme Park Insanity

Why Planet Coaster is an absolute must have for any die hard theme park enthusiast this festive season!

Growing up it’s very fair to say that we had a serious passion for everything theme park and roller coaster related!

This therefore meant that from an early age not only could we be found darting between one ride after the other every time we visited a park, however our love for the industry was so great that visiting the parks and riding the rides just simply wasn’t enough.

This therefore meant that we were constantly at home building k’nex roller coasters (with the original k’nex) and making our own imaginary lego funfairs and theme parks.

Recreating our passion this way however of course had its limits as there is only so much you can achieve with imagination, toilet roll tubes and a good amount of PVA glue before you realise that there has to be another way.

Enter Roller Coaster Tycoon!

Now, it’s fair to say that when the first ever Roller Coaster Tycoon launched back on the 22nd of March 1999 it fastly became THE must have game of the year, so much so that even those who didn’t necessarily have a passion for the industry became enthralled by the brand new avenues of recreation this exciting new gaming experience opened up at the tips of your fingers.

Again however, after time passed it became fastly apparent that as brilliant as the original Roller Coaster Tycoon was it too had it’s limits.

With no way of riding your creations (something which stayed the case up until 2nd of November 2004 with the release of RCT3) avid gamers and those with a general interest alike still craved that intense rush which came with being able to board their own creations.

In 2004 came the release of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and as such that all changed, however no matter how much RCT tried to create an authentic and unlimited way to recreate your own theme parks in a virtual space it wasn’t until b that this was in our opinion finally achieved!

On the 17th of November 2016 after receiving a gigantic amount of hype Planet Coaster finally made it’s debut!

With the release of this brand new (and in our honest opinion virtually unlimited) theme park simulation game every younger and older enthusiast’s dream was effectively realised overnight.

Planet Coaster appears to possess a tool box of creative options so vast that the only real limit you have when creating new rides and attractions within the game is your own imagination!

This fantastic new way to build and interact with a virtual world of roller coasters and attractions ultimately puts the control at the fingertips of the player in ways not seen before in prior competitors gaming experiences.

Not only do you have a full 360 degree virtual space in which to build within, however you can also fully manipulate your surroundings to either enhance the landscape or adapt it to any attraction or ride you may wish to construct.

Where as landscaping your environment was rather rigid in most other theme park sims, Planet Coaster utilises a whole new way of adapting your terrain with a brand new terrain building tool.

This therefore mean you can literally shape the surrounding landscape however you see fit, and for recreating such rides as terrain focused roller coasters or underground rides this new tool from our experience of the game makes it a breeze!

It’s not just the terrain tool that’s a game changer here either.

Since the game was first launched there has been a constant range of brand new DLC packs released too. This means that players have had the chance to create immersive experiences of many different kinds further brought to life by well crafted and unique theming items and building materials.

The many different additional add on packs released between July 2017 and now have featured everything from some fantastic IP based themeing items from the likes of Ghostbusters and Back to the Future to everything ranging from Heritage style rides and attractions to even theming items and scenery inspired by the Universal Studios parks themselves. 

It’s fair to say that Planet Coaster really have gone above and beyond when it comes to enhancing the gamers creative experience, however let’s face it, the real reason most play this game is so they can create some the biggest and fastest roller coasters they can!

Image Credit: Xbox Wire.

Let's Talk about the build!

Now then, let’s be realistic here! As much as we may dream of creating our own rides and roller coasters in the real world in reality that just ain’t going to happen unless you have a specific degree or years upon years of experience doing exactly that.

The Plus side when it comes to playing Planet Coaster however is this! You don’t need all of that to build your own rides and attractions.

Since the games release each and every theme park enthusiast and content creator worth his (or her) salt has flocked to try this game out for themselves.

This has resulted in wave upon wave of YouTube videos and gaming streams showing off exactly what Planet Coaster can achieve when it comes to creating the rides and attractions of your dreams (or even just making the most ridiculous rides you can possibly think up for that matter)!

Through this being the case we have been able to see just what Frontier Developments are capable of when it comes to creating a truly authentic and easy to navigate gaming and creative process overall.

When it comes to building the many different types of roller coasters within the game (which has been expanded upon over the years) the building process remains the same throughout.

Where as the likes of RCT employed pre-created track sections to place whilst creating the rides, when it comes to Planet Coaster the game enables full unrestricted manipulation of each and every track section you place.

This means that you can create some Insanely realistic creations enabling you to bend, twist and shape the track to suit your needs.

You can also smooth, extend and alter the track as you go and this means that if for some reason a train doesn’t make over a particular hurdle you can physically alter the offending section so this doesn’t happen again.

You can even test as you go meaning that you have the chance to become aware of any potential issues before you finalise your ride’s design (something not available in any prior roller coaster or theme park simulation game).

The physics of the gaming environment also interact realistically as well meaning that any roller coaster created will run in real time at the speeds it would have done had it have been a ride constructed in real life (or at least that’s how it appears).

This alone is a game changer in itself and only further supports the realism recreated within the gaming environment of Planet Coaster.

To be honest here we could go on and on, however there is far more to this fantastic game than just the rides.

Creating an experience

The one major difference that sets Planet Coaster apart from all previous theme park sims has to be the full creative ability given to the gamer!

By this we not only mean the rides, but also the buildings within the park, lighting, plants, facilities and so, so much more.

Every aspect of the park’s creation whether that be the staff facilities or even the catering outlets are all within your control and fully interchangeable.

This means that you can LITERALLY create anything and everything you can think of.

From the biggest castles to the smallest of cottages you have full control over how the buildings look, what pieces are used to create them and how the overall look of the surrounding area appears once complete.

This is due to the fact that whereas building in previous games already came pre-constructed you have the chance within Planet Coaster to build each and every building piece by piece, wall by wall if you want.

There are of course premade Blueprints should you wish to use them and these are readily available to click and drop within the game, however if like us you want to create something a little more unique then this new creative avenue is definitely the way forwards.

Career vs Sandbox!

Like any good game nowadays you do have the choice of game play you wish to engage in.

This means that you can either follow the constraints and financial restrictions of career mode adding that all needed sense of realism to the creation and operational process, or you can of course choose absolute, unbridled freedom and euphoria with Sandbox mode meaning the only limits are your imagination (no financial constraints here).

Personally for us here at TPI we always favour Sandbox mode as the freedom to construct is unlimited and as such it’s extremely easy to lose 2 to 3 hours of your life without realising it (as it always feels more like 10 minutes haha).

Navigating Career mode however does  give you chance to gain rewards, earn achievements and build your stats overall.

The choice really is in your hands, however if you want the freedom of being able to build whatever you want then Sandbox Mode is definitely the way to go.

Dawn of Console Planco!

Now, like any high spec PC game it’s no secret that in order to play the game as lag free as possible you will very likely need the best possible gaming PC you can get your hands on.

For this reason many have been held back from being able to enjoy the experience that Planet Coaster provides, however it was in late 2019 that Console gamers were finally given the great news that Planet Coaster would finally be heading to console for the first time since it’s launch back in 2016!

Set to launch officially to all console formats in Holiday of 2020 (November/December which it now has of course) console gamers would finally be able to launch themselves into the unadulterated coaster building euphoria that this great game provides.

There are of course bound to be a few inevitable differences when transfering a game of this size to console.

Firstly, the Console edition does include a tutorial which we believe was previously left out on the PC edition.

This means that new players will have the chance to complete the tutorial prior to playing game enabling them to get to grips with how the controls work, how best to build rides and attractions and ultimately how to operate the game scenario overall.

Secondly the Console edition has also received a revamped career mode which now contains voice acting. This is brand new for the console and as such it’s not an element which was previously featured in the PC edition.

Finally, Players will also see a guest counter on their screen for the first time too and this is aimed to help players monitor the amount of guests in their park at any one time.

Overall the rest of the experience remains relatively unchanged with players still being able to construct everything from rides and attractions to buildings, staff facilities, plantlife and more (although most buildings are now available in a premade blueprint format for convenience and ease of application).

So why add Planet Coaster to your collection this Christmas?

Ultimately from our experience of playing Planet Coaster over the last 2 years we have found this game to not only be the perfect form of escapism when not being able to visit the parks, however we have also lost many a good hour being totally engrossed in creating our own unique parks and worlds in the process!

The fact that Planet Coaster is now available on not only PC but console too just goes to show how popular and well loved this game really is.

This also means that Planet Coaster is far more accessible than the likes of No Limits 2 or most other simulation games of it’s kind making it far more playable and universally well received overall.

So if you’re stuck this Christmas for gift ideas when it comes to buying your very own theme park enthusiast a present and they have a console then why not treat them to Planet Coaster? You won’t regret it!

Incidentally, if you fancy being in with a chance of winning your own copy Planet Coaster Console Edition this festive season then why not check out Lift Hills and Thrills latest giveaway on the below link?!

*Entries close on December 31st 2020.

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