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ScreamRide Review: A Roller Coaster Game for This Generation

/ Mar 25th, 2015 No Comments

ScreamRide Review

RollerCoaster Tycoon debuted in 1999. There have been several iterations since, including plans for a new title in 2015, but the formula has essentially gone unchanged. The RollerCoaster Tycoon series remains in high regards to fans, but it is a product of the 1990s, and that shows. Enter ScreamRide, a roller coaster building and management game designed for a new generation.

Created by Frontier Developments, a team that previously worked on RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, ScreamRide is somewhat of a spiritual successor to RollerCoaster Tycoon. It takes the classic construction sim formula and combines it with modern puzzle fare. The game takes players to ScreamWorld, an ironic future setting in which people seek extreme adventure to combat the virtual experiences that have taken over. The result is an imaginative thrill, despite the fact that it seems to be dealing with an identity crisis.

Price of Admission

At times, ScreamRide feels more like a collection of mini-games than a full-blown release, and this is acceptable given it’s $39.99 price tag. The campaign mode consists of three career arcs, one of which is closer to Angry Birds than RollerCoaster Tycoon. Players can switch between being a ScreamRider, Engineer, and Demolition Expert.

Each career arc has its own unique gameplay style. Engineer mode plays like a traditional sim. Players are given goals and funds, and must complete an unfinished roller coaster. As a ScreamRider, gamers experience those tracks first hand. Rather than simply going along for the ride, players must avoid obstacles, keep their car on the track and complete the coaster in a timely fashion. When frustration sets in, switch to Demolition Expert and destroy levels. The physics-based mode has players flinging cabins of riders into structures, tearing them down in a satisfying way.

Story mode often feels like a glorified tutorial, but it stops hand-holding and introduces new elements at the exact right moments. However, this balance is offset as the three game modes are not intertwined in any way, and ScreamRide makes little effort to pretend they are related. While each mode provides its own brand of fun, players will likely latch on to their personal favorite and be left wanting more of it.

Creative Thrill

The game’s real bread and butter comes from creating outrageous levels in Sandbox mode. In this mode, players can create environments for coasters or demolition levels from the ground up. Surprisingly useful controls make scrolling through objects and materials and placing them easy. The mode is especially rewarding for creative players. The futuristic setting and tools available give players the ability to create insane roller coasters that cannot actually exist in the real world. Skipping the coaster altogether gives the mode a Minecraft-like feeling.

ScreamRide level creator

ScreamRide level creator

Before jumping into the sandbox, it is recommended that gamers play through at least some of the campaign. This will unlock tools and blueprints that make building easier. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the bad camera angles used while creating, and the lack of a true tutorial means construction can be frustating as well. However, the soothing background music eases tension away.


Due to the nature of the game, ScreamRide draws comparisons to RollerCoaster Tycoon, but it makes its own mark on the genre. Gameplay sometimes conjures up memories of classic sims, but that is not where ScreamRide is at its best. The game inspires creativity, but not in a 1990s way. Instead, players are moved to fulfill their craziest roller coaster fantasies from top to bottom. Combined with the ability to destroy objects when frustration sets in, ScreamRide builds a solid foundation for a new generation of roller coaster gaming.

Note: ScreamRide was reviewed on Xbox One using a code for the game provided by the publisher.


Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



ScreamRide seems to be suffering an identity crisis, but the three unrelated game modes each provide their own distinct brand of fun.


Graphics are stylized in an interesting way, and watching riders fly out of cars into building is weirdly satisfying.


Soothing background music sets the perfect mood for building coasters, and it speeds up accordingly with the rush of riding coasters.


Those who enjoy creating will love the game's Sandbox mode, and the campaign provides a satisfying break from construction.

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