Coaster Creator 3D Review (3DS eShop): “Coaster Creativity On-The-Go”

Coaster Creator 3D Logo

During the late 90s, PC gamers were graced with a specific simulation game that won over the hearts of many, Roller Coaster Tycoon. Over the years, we’ve seen that series make a few sequels and expansions, giving the player tons more content to ellaborate on their ultimate roller coaster creation and theme parks. However, the series has dwindled down and aside from the new one released on the 3DS, roller coaster creation games have been a bit rare to come across, especially on consoles. Thankfully, the team over at Big John Games have accepted the challenge of bringing a roller coaster simulator for on-the-go gaming for the 3DS with Coaster Creator 3D. Does it succeed in bringing the genre over to the 3DS? Let’s find out.

Coaster Creator 3D allows for two main modes to choose between: Career and Sandbox. Choosing the Career mode, you will partake in 20 challenges that progress in difficulty. Each challenge will teach you a certain attribute that you could adjust for your coaster, such as the G-Force, corkscrews and loops on a track, steep drops and adjusting the track positions entirely. You’ll adjust all of this through the bottom touch-screen. On there, you’ll see a blueprint of the coaster that’s on the top screen (which shows the 3D environment and full rendering of the coaster being designed) and move around the tracks of the coaster to your liking. You’ll have a ton of tools to utilize to ensure you create the coaster of your liking. When you click on the track you want to adjust, you’ll be able to twist the track, add a track in between to make it a peak point or lower curve, corkscrew, loop, etc. It’s simple and intuitive to use for the most part, but was sometimes hard to distinguish the angle I was viewing the track from. Granted, you can rotate the camera of the blueprint with the D-Pad, but it occasionally looked a bit off. The Career mode will definitely be the staple that gives you an idea of how to create an amazing roller coaster down the line. Also, progressing through the Career will allow you to unlock other features for your creations between the 3 Track Types, 5 Locations, 17 Cart Styles, 10 Decals and 10 Special Fronts. The one gripe with the Career mode is that while it may serve as a tutorial for your custom creations, there’s no “proper” tutorial to what the tools do exactly. However, there is a “help” menu you can access in the pause menu, which gives you a more detailed breakdown of each tool.

Coaster Creator 3D Gameplay 2

Aside from the Career will be the main attraction to Coaster Creator 3D, Sandbox mode. This will allow you to bring out your creative side by creating the craziest, most thrilling ride you can imagine. When you begin, you’ll start by creating a new track, which allows you to pick from particular parameters: Location, Track Type, Lifter Turn and Height. Upon choosing those, you’ll have the chance to draw out a rough layout or outline of your coaster. You’ll have 70 Sketch Points allocated to draw out your design from the start point and end point. You can then place hills between the tracks so that you can elevate your ride. Afterwards, when you’re ready, you’ll advance the creation and enter the park in its 3D environment, alongside the blueprint for editing on the bottom-screen. Naturally, the tools I mentioned in the Career are in full effect here, with no restrictions. As you’re editing your coaster, you can test it out in the editor mode in slow-mo, standard and fast speed, as well as rewinding…allowing for precision editing when trying to find the specific point where you need to edit your coaster. When you choose Quick Ride in the pause menu of the edit, you’ll be able to view your final product from a variety of camera angles. You can view the ride from the front of the cart, showing all the riders, as well as through a first-person perspective to get a personal feel of how the ride plays out. More interestingly, you can view the ride from any seat of the coaster.

Coaster Creator 3D Gameplay 3

Big John Games also went the extra mile by providing a feature to have your Mii characters participate on your coaster creations (which is unlocked through the Career mode). When you’re done with your roller coaster creation, you can exit out of the edit and build up the park a bit. You’ll be able to choose a variety of props and storefronts to plant around your track, but you can’t place an unlimited amount. You’ll be able to place at most, 20 objects, and you only have $32,000 to spend. You can choose between generalized items (such as Bumper Cars, Bounce Castle, Soda Stand, etc.) and themed items, which all depend on the location you chose to place your coaster in. Lastly, you can finish up the track with some customization. The track and support’s colors can be altered, as well as the cart style and seats’ colors. Once done, your coaster is ready to ride at any time. Additionally, you can play a mini-game called Star Roller, which has you riding your coaster while moving your character’s hand to grab the stars randomized on the ride for a high score. It’s nothing amazing, but a neat addition nonetheless. Now you can share your creations with friends, but not in the way most would expect. There’s no online connection, nor any local connectivity to be found here. However, Big John Games have implemented the ability to export QR codes. These will allow you to share your creations with anyone that scans the image, which will then be stored into their game. While it’s strange that there’s no wireless connectivity to share creations, it’s nice to see there is at least a way to do so.

Coaster Creator 3D Gameplay 1

Coaster Creator 3D’s visuals are bright, crisp and colorful, with a solid amount of detail put into the environment, coasters and riders (even the Mii characters look really good). While playing without the 3D slider, the game ran at a near 60 fps, but occasionally dipped depending on how much detail was on screen. When playing with the 3D slider up, the game drops to 30 fps, so some of that smoothness is gone. Thankfully, the 3D effect is very well done, never overdoing the depth at all and is fairly easy on the eyes. In terms of audio, the audio effects of the wind zipping by and the cart rolling down the tracks are spot on, nailing the feel of being on an actual roller coaster. While there’s only a handful of music tracks, the mixture of cheery songs during the creation, to the atmospheric menu music all work very well. It’s an enjoyable audio experience that helps with the overall game experience.

Coaster Creator 3D does exactly what it’s supposed to do, provide players with the tools to create their own roller coaster on-the-go. However, Big John Games provides a game that has plenty of depth that will keep roller coaster enthusiasts entertained for quite some time. With it’s simple and intuitive design system, crisp visuals and audio, and overall engaging gameplay, roller coaster fans would do very well to download this on their 3DS for the $9.99 asking price.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = Buy it!

A special thank you to Big John Games for providing us a review copy for Coaster Creator 3D!

Enjoy our review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for the latest in gaming news and reviews.

Curious to how our review system works? Check out the About section.