Rollercoasters have a polarising effect. Either you jump up and down in anticipation when waiting in line for a huge looping monster or your stomach churns at the thought of being hurled through hills and corkscrews. They're fun for some and gut-wrenching for everyone else.
Straightforward gameplay ensures 3D Rollercoaster Rush won't send your stomach reeling, though its unadorned design keeps it from being enjoyable but for a select few.
Buckling in for 40 tracks, your goal is to manage the speed of a train of rollercoaster carts. Tilting your handset left brakes, while right speeds things up. As you zip through loops and fly over hills, you have to adjust velocity to keep the carts from crashing. Running through a loop, for example, means speeding up to ensure there's enough force to keep the carts on the track while upside-down.
Getting through a loop is easy enough, but the real challenge lies in navigating steep inclines and stretches of rolling hills. Speeding through a course is not a viable option: your carts will jump from the track only to crash back down. While your coaster-goers can handle small leaps, they can't land head first back onto the track. This requires pulling back on speed to ensure the carts stay near the track.
As such, 3D Rollercoaster Rush is nothing more than tilting your handset at the right times to keep the carts in play. For such a simple mechanic, it's surprisingly fun. Given how easy it is to play, you're free to enjoy watching the carts fly by on nicely rendered 3D tracks. Points are earned for pleasing passengers with safe jumps, maximum velocity, and other thrills. These go toward a star rating that determines when you unlock more advanced tracks.
It's a tad too easy to earn stars, though, with many tracks easily completed with a top three-star rating on your first go.
Once you've rushed through the game's 40 tracks, you can go back and earn a fourth star by racing a ghost train on each track. It's a small incentive to keep you playing, though more could have been done. There's a surprising lack of variety with all 40 tracks done up in a nondescript southwestern motif. While fun by its own right, jazzing the game up with different themed tracks beyond the wild west theme would make things more interesting.
Additionally, online time trials could give the game a longer tail. Posting times for select tracks would be a simple means of encouraging you to come back for more. It's ultimately a compliment to say the game should pack in more content because it's a reflection on how enjoyable it is to play.
Instead, 3D Rollercoaster Rush fizzles out the moment you whip through all 40 stages. It's too simple of a game to occupy your attention for long, which makes the lack of variety that much more acute. Just like a coaster, it's fun but only while it lasts.