Screamride Review

UNDER CONSTRUCTION


Frontier Developments appear very much at home when rollercoasters are at the forefront of their games. From the famous Rollercoaster Tycoon series, to the slightly less-known Thrillville, Frontier is now bringing their rollercoaster construction (and destruction) expertise to the new generation in the form of Screamride. But just how fun is the ride?

Screamride is not your standard rollercoaster construction simulator. Set in the year 2050, you are introduced to a corporation that goes by the name of Screamworks. Their mission: to let their thrill-seeking employees experience extreme rollercoasters in the name of science. That is about as much story as we get before diving into the the three main game modes — Screamrider, Demolition Expert, and Engineer — that make up the career for Screamride.

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Screamrider is a trial-based mode where you must navigate your rollercoaster safely around tracks of ever increasing difficulty. Speed isn’t the only important aspect here, as you are awarded bonus points for collecting turbo, landing jumps, and riding on two wheels. Once you reach the end of the course you are assessed an overall score based on your performance. There are additional challenges for each course such as: “don’t derail the coaster,” “finish in under one minute,” etc. All of this — along with the online leaderboards — give a huge amount of replayability to the 20 courses on offer.

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Screamrider was my personal favorite of the three modes, and I must applaud Frontier for the real sense of speed that they have been able to deliver to their game. My only real criticism would be the difficulty spike that occurs right at the end. With the exception of the odd corner, I didn’t have any problem navigating these courses until I reached the final couple of levels. The last course in particular seemed to be a case of ‘let’s see how insane we can make one course.’ Despite the fact that I “derailed” 38 times, I still managed to place myself inside the top 50 on the worldwide leaderboard. This is just a minor detail, and if anyone has ever experienced the expert courses on Trials Fusion, then Screamride is a breeze by comparison.

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Next up in career mode is Demolition Expert. For a mode that entails launching coaster pods at buildings in order to destroy them, Demolition Expert actually requires a lot more precision than one might think — especially in the later levels where restrictions are placed on your power bar. The key is to identify the weak points on the buildings and try to destroy them — it is a real sense of success when a shot comes off.

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Demolition mode is a real achievement all around. Not only is it a whole load of fun (I mean who doesn’t love a bit of demolition), but the destructible environments are some of the best that I have witnessed in a game to date. The dynamic building physics result in the collapses varying every time. A full skyscraper coming down is a real sight.

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Falling buildings are not the only strength of the presentation in Screamride. The bright color palette and art style makes for a beautiful game. Whilst I noticed the odd frame rate drop, they were so few and far between it is barely worth mentioning. Also, make sure you listen carefully to the GLaDOS-like arena announcer who comes out with quirky lines from time to time. Little things like this just help add enjoyment to the experience.

Unfortunately, as great as Screamrider and Demolition Expert are, Engineer mode does not maintain the same level of quality. What is most frustrating about Engineer mode is that it does give a glimpse into the possibilities, but then undermines itself with a couple of key issues. The main problem here is the terrible camera angle. For a game mode where precision is key, I found myself constantly getting annoyed with the camera for not being in the right place. You can create a marginal improvement by zooming into the track camera, but then you sacrifice the ability to see the rest of your creation.

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The camera isn’t the only problem within Engineer mode. You are given very little guidance on what to do, and restrictions are placed on the type/amount of items you can build. Whilst Engineer mode is all about working with the resources you have, if you want to enjoy the experience of rollercoaster construction, then you are better off spending your time in the Sandbox mode — which at least gives you more free reign.

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Talking of sandbox mode, whilst the camera problems do still exist, I found this to be a much more enjoyable experience — at least I could attempt to build the coaster I wanted. That being said, don’t expect everything to be available in Sandbox mode from the outset. In order to  unlock various different items — from track items to environments — you must progress your way through the career mode.

Of all the creation tools, the best feature is the ability for users to share their tracks with the community. Whenever you allow a community to add content to a game, it can only be a positive. This provides Screamride with potentially thousands of courses that we can all ride for our amusement. I strongly suggest heading over to the level center now, to check out some of the crazy designs people have come up with.

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The Verdict: 7.7 out of 10

Screamride is a perfect combination of fast-paced racing and destructible mayhem. The Screamrider and Demolition Expert modes are a lot of fun and have the potential for replayability. Unfortunately, the less said about Engineer mode the better, but Sandbox mode is a solid alternative for the construction fans — if you can get over the horrible camera angle. For $40, I believe there is more than enough entertainment in Screamride to recommend you check it out.

For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.


Matt Southwell is an Associate Writer for MONG. In addition to video games, he loves Hockey, Soccer and Pizza. Follow him on Twitter, IGN and Facebook.

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