A lot of video games are total thrill rides. Emotional and mental roller coasters that take us on long epic journeys. So it is odd to think that there aren’t many video games about actual thrill rides. Well Screamride is here from the creators of the most recent Roller Coaster Tycoon games is a game about building coasters, riding them, and oddly enough destroying buildings. So is Screamride a scream or a kids ride?
Well the core gameplay is surprisingly entertaining. There are three main modes ride where you ride the coaster, timing speed boosts, button prompts, and balancing on the rails. The better you do the higher your score is for leaderboards. Ride mode is fun and simple, though can get boring quickly and honestly there is only so much enjoyment you can get out of riding fake roller coasters.
Build mode is where you build coasters to be as terrifying, thrilling, and dangerous as possible. Build mode is really deep with tons of options to make a rad coaster with whatever limited amount of resources the game gives you for that particular level. Build Mode becomes a puzzle where you must build the most exciting terrifying coaster with the least amount of resources. Typically in games like this on a console, building levels is very difficult, but developer Frontier Developments did a fantastic job mapping the controls to a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse.
The final mode is demolition which is reminiscent of old Burnout crash modes, where you have to fling a giant metal ball with passengers riding inside into towers to destroy them for points, it is fun and cathartic. That said it isn’t nearly as much fun as that old Burnout crash mode. Finally there is one mode that is separate from the main single player called Sandbox where you can build whatever kind of coaster you want with unlimited resources, then share them online. This is a neat little side mode for the more creative folk out there. The gameplay all together is very entertaining especially for those of you who like to create things and then promptly blow it all to pieces.
Visually the game doesn’t impress, it has the very clean sterile testing lab look, which I understand is intentional, but unlike Portal which also goes for a sterile lab look it has a lot more personality, this just feels soulless. That said the physics are awesome especially in demolition mode when your crash into a building just all the different pieces go in different directions. The music is mostly high energy electronic stuff that fits the tone of riding roller coaster at high speed. Most of it is pretty good, but it didn’t stand out. I actually feel the game would have benefited from some licensed music like the older EA Sports titles. Overall the presentation actually comes together quite well and fits the mood the game is trying to convey, it just isn’t anything special either.
Screamride was a real surprise. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. I can see myself spending weeks making crazy coaster and insane building set ups for crash and ride mode. It isn’t a perfect game; the presentation is very vanilla and the creation tools only go as far as your imagination, but Screamride can still be thrilling and put a smile on your face.
Final Score: 7.5/10