As of late, we’ve been seeing a lot of games getting announced literally out of nowhere for Nintendo Switch from both third-party publishers and even Nintendo themselves. Some have been less surprising – take the long-rumoured Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection for example – while others have been far more so.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition definitely falls into that latter category, a game well over 15 years old at this point and from a series that has definitely lost its way in recent years. Still, my memories of the third entry are fondly looked back on and after RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures failed to capture the magic that made the original trilogy so fun and addictive in the first place, I’m more than eager to revisit what many see as the last truly great entry in the franchise.
Right off the bat one of the first things to note is just how much content you’re getting in this game. Outside the main game – which is pretty sizeable in itself – you’re also receiving the Soaked and Wild expansions both of which pack in more rides, themes and campaigns to tackle. In fact, what makes them so interesting is that they branch the series out beyond typical amusement rides.
For example, Soaked allows you to build water parks complete with slides, lazy rivers and even aquariums. The Wild expansion meanwhile introduces zoo elements. What that means is far more freedom of choice as you pick from literally hundreds of ride options. It also means that you’re able to replicate Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Animal Kingdom… or at least try to in my case.
So, the biggest question I had going into this game (and really any game that originates on the PC and heads over to a console) is how the controls translate over. Not only are you managing everything from finances to the testing of rides to your employees through a range of detailed menus, but you’re also creating rollercoaster designs and layouts for your park itself. Easy with a mouse and keyboard but how does all this work on the Switch?
First things first, there are no touch controls at all in the game. The menu buttons can be rather small so a finger might be a little too big to accurately pick and choose options, however, as Super Mario Maker 2 proved, a stylus works pretty well at offering that much need accuracy.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition has seen some work done to the interface to cater to controllers though and, similar to Super Mario Maker 2, it opts for wheel menus. Pressing the left shoulder button will bring up your main menu involving things like financial details, pathways and rides. Meanwhile, the right shoulder button is used for attraction-specific menus. Holding a button also acts as a shortcut, where, for example, clicking in the control stick changes the speed of time. Getting your head around where everything is will certainly take some time and right now roughly a handful of hours in, I can already feel myself darting around menus at a faster and less confused rate.
While the game’s visuals feel a little dated, the performance so far has been encouraging. An issue I always had on my computer was the framerate dropping as I moved the camera across my increasingly crowded park and here that has yet to be a problem. Granted my parks have yet to be too ambitious and jam-packed, so we’ll see how the game copes as the screen fills up more.
So far, my time with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition has been an enjoyable one, a blend of nostalgia and creative excitement. While PC players will likely stick with what they have, this looks like it could be a great alternative for those without that option. We’ll have a review later this month.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition will release on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch worldwide on 24th September 2020.