Review: Roller Coaster Rampage really struts in 3D

Review: Roller Coaster Rampage really struts in 3D
3.5

Platforms:

Steam

Game Name:

Roller Coaster Rampage

Publisher(s):

Pantera Games

Developer(s):

Pantera Games

Genre(s):

Simulation

Release Date:

June 19 2012

Developer Summary

Roller Coaster Rampage is a fast paced, high-scoring, competitive rollercoaster simulator with destructive environments! Players compete to perform the best manual maneuvers, collect the most gems, link to the most track sections, and gain first place on the leaderboards!

What We Think

Roller Coaster Rampage, takes the fun of riding roller coasters and then ups the ante by allowing you to be the creator. With a total of thirty different pre-designed levels and the ability to drive freely around the amusement park grounds creating whatever track you desire, RCR definitely has forward to momentum, but does it keep itself on track?

Off the Rails

The amusement park that RCR takes place in, though fairly simplistic, does a great job of creating an atmosphere conducive to exploration. The bright cotton-candy colored buildings and expansive surrounding landscape paint a picture reminiscent of early Looney Tunes theme parks. Nice little visual touches accentuate the park, such as a reflective lake that runs throughout, and a variety of other popular rides that you would find at a local carnival.

The models themselves, though not terribly unique, do manage to fit in nicely with the cartoony visuals that are used throughout and the textures are clean and effective in adding some life to the basic structures.

“None Aboard!” RCR’s park is pretty, but feels pretty bare.

The game does offer a true 3D experience, if your computer is sufficiently equipped and you have 3D glasses. I unfortunately wasn’t able to take advantage of this, but I can imagine that the tracks would have looked pretty awesome in three dimensions.

Editor’s Note: RCR received a 2x platinum award from MTBS3D for Nvidia 3D stereo support (part of the latest patch) and Gold award for Standard 3D stereo support.

One of the more interesting visual aspects of the game comes from watching the track build itself as you roam the grounds. Every track you create seems fairly believable, with interesting twists and turns manifesting themselves where you deem most entertaining, in addition to the support structures that physics would require placed beneath them. Watching your Frankenstein coaster play out from a first person perspective really helps to immerse you in the atmosphere of the park. I think that 3D would have worked fairly well even if only just for this feature.

It’s a shame there are no people roaming the grounds but from an indie game perspective it is understandable that they made this more of a “test” situation.

Overall the park is nothing stellar, but does just enough to create a unified atmosphere that makes you want to visit each area, if only just to whiz through it.

On the Rails

Though catchy, the name Roller Coaster Rampage is slightly misleading. While some of the objects that you pass by are in fact destructible, the bulk of RCR’s gameplay simply involves driving from section to section of pre-made track all while trying to collect gems that give your coaster more energy which allows you to speed up and slow down. The game plays out as less of an arcade-like rampage and more like a combination of roller coaster / airplane simulation. In much later levels the number of destructibles doubles, however we are not certain why such a fun-adding design element would be suspended until later, particularly when Rampage is in the title.

Your coaster operates very much like an airplane: Pressing up goes nose down, and down goes nose up, left and right pitch you left and right respectfully. Certain hot keys also allow you to perform stunt moves at will such as loop-de-loops, corkscrews and barrel rolls which increase your point multiplier and add to your total. It’s a stream-lined control structure which is instantly accessible for anyone looking to pick up and play. Levels do ramp up on the difficulty so you’ll need to master your speed and turning abilities to be successful in later tracks. One small mistake will often lead to the derailment of your train, but for better or worse it seems to be a test track as there are no people in the cart at any time.

Though you’re always allowed to take your cart in any directions the levels do a good job of keeping you focused by placing the gems just so. The camera can be a little wonky at times and in situations that force you to raise or lower your altitude it can be difficult to tell exactly where the gems are.

RCR features thirty levels, though at first this may somehow through a design choice, be overlooked: for keyboard, on the top of the level select page, there is a yellow arrow with the word ‘next’ underneath. If you press this button, it scrolls to the next page. For 360 controller, there is a right bumper indicator for next page.

The developer also made note that the game has 360 controller support and evidently makes the experience even more accessible, though again, this review is not based on use of this feature.

We’re goin off the rails on a crazy train! Tracks can get pretty epic if you put the time into them.

You need to use your energy properly as certain sections of the pre-designed track require you to be traveling at a precise speed, so there is very little room for freestyle track design. While this does help to keep you focused on your direction, it also makes some tracks feel confined, or limited.

Loop-de-Oops

Though overall there are some really great ideas behind the bulk of the game, the level designs do at times falter. On one of the levels you are asked to get your cart up to 105 MPH right out of the gate, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get the cart to any more than 90. Perhaps it was user error, but the game definitely didn’t do anything to make it clear what I was doing wrong. On another level I was told to smash through a giant Octopus ride, only to be stymied shortly after by a hot dog cart, and while this is not exactly a flaw, I do feel like there were some missed gameplay opportunities here.

On the Right Track

The majority of the game is handled with finesse and care, and provides enough of a learning curve to be entertaining for a few hours–the later levels will definitely require a few attempts to master. This reviewer feels, however, that at $10 for the download, a little more is required from the designers to make this fare worth while. To justify the cost of admission, I think there should have been a little more rampaging and a little less coasting.

Roller Coaster Rampage – Official Site

Get Roller Coaster Rampage on Steam for USD $9.99

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

primofimo

Primofimo has been involved in designing and launching a variety of indie titles, including for WIndows PC and XBOX Indie Markets.

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