RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Switch review - "Has its ups and downs"

RollerCoaster Tycoon, like Michael Myers or Freddie Kruger, refuses to stay dead. Every few years the series gets wheeled out for another run around the block to see if there's any life left in it before it shuffles off for some much-needed rest once more.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is the latest rehashing of the franchise, this time taking its cues from mobile entry RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, but without any of the free-to-play gubbins involved to impede your park-building.

And it's fine. It really is. But it still feels like a mobile game designed to be played in short bursts before locking off your time, instead of a deep sim that you can sink hours of your life into in the pursuit of the perfect theme park.

Build 'em up

You've got three modes to choose from in RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures - Campaign, which gives you a blank canvas and a little cash to grow your park; Scenario, which offers specific tasks in pre-built parks; and Sandbox, which is, well, a Sandbox.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Switch Screenshot Sci-Fi Park

Each mode has the same basic set of rules. You place rides, attractions, shops, food stalls, services, paths, and whatever else you need around the place, before opening the gates and raking in the cash.

You need to keep an eye on the fun factor, cleanliness of your park, and amount of food stalls on offer to make sure your customers are happy, as well as adjusting prices accordingly to either please the punters or increase your profit margins.

You'll also need to drop decorations around the place to make your rides more attractive to go on, and research new attractions as you level up to keep things fresh.

And, of course, you can build your own rollercoaster. These can be as simple or complex as you like, and a lot of attention has been paid to the finer details of coaster-building, which will likely please the fans of the series.

Knock 'em down

But when all's said and done, the whole game feels a little lacking. Achieving goals is super easy - just keep throwing stuff down and raising the meters. You're unlikely to ever run out of money for long, and you can't go into debt or have to lay off staff to keep your business afloat.

And customers are stupidly easy to please. You can create a theme park which consists of one toilet, one burger stand, and 100 Whack-A-Mole attractions and visitors will exclaim "this is the most fun I've ever had!" every other minute. That's not a joke - we tried it out.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Switch Screenshot Tropical Park

This lack of consequences for your idiotic management makes the Campaign mode almost entirely pointless. It claims to have a story to follow, but this just boils down to having to make binary choices in dialogue boxes every so often and receiving a reward if you pick the right one.

Scenario mode at least offers some variety in its missions, but they're not hugely interesting. And Sandbox, as we say, is Sandbox. It's where you're likely to have the most fun as you build ridiculous parks stupidly large coasters, and ultimately try and kill everyone (you can't) with your designs.


Which all leads to one simple question - what is the point of RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures? It lacks the depth and freedom of the original games, replacing them instead of mobile game design which doesn't quite fit playing on the Switch.

There's almost no consequence for doing completely idiotic things, making progress a snap so long as you place enough items on the map. And, criminally, you can't screenshot the game at any point, meaning that even if you do create the ultimate death maze, none of your friends can see it.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures feels like a wasted opportunity. It could have been a wonderful management simulation on a console which desperately needs one. Instead, it's a perfectly functional, but ultimately boring, take on a classic series.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Switch review - "Has its ups and downs"

RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures does an OK job as a theme park sim, but it lacks the depth that would make it fun to play
Ric Cowley
Ric Cowley
Ric was somehow the Editor of Pocket Gamer, having started out as an intern in 2015. He hopes to take over the world the same way.