ScreamRide review

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I spent far too much time at Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park in my youth, I loved getting the chance to go to the park with school, it would always be quiet so you always got extra time on the different rides. My kids are a little too young to go but I know that when I do get the chance to take them it will be just like the episode of Modern Family where the dad tells his son just how much he loves rollercoasters only to start feeling sick after a few rides, it will be just my luck.

For now I have ScreamRide and after playing the demo for most of the past week with my 6-year-old son Max, we are already having masses of fun, but would the full game just be more of the same? Knowing the game was developed by Frontier, famous for Disneyland Kinect, we were hopeful they would deliver.

ScreamRide does actually have a bit of a story to it, set at some point in the future it seems that people are disenchanted and bored with merely virtual satisfaction, which has led to us seeing humans indulge in ever more extreme pastimes to feel alive. Enter ScreamWorks, a company that are developing a class of rides that no simple theme park could ever dream of creating. The magic is created at the ScreamWorks International Research Facility, they want to deliver danger on tap and to create rides that give you the ultimate rush of adrenaline.

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That’s where you step in. Your job is to test all the mad creations across the different types of rides, once you are done you can then create your own rides and levels. ScreamRide is split across four different modes, spread across six different areas. The first is called Screamrider. In this mode you’ll be tested on how quick you can control the coaster around the pre-built tracks. Not only will you need to be quick but you’ll have to make sure that the car is under control or you will crash. The levels start off fairly easy, which serves as a tutorial introducing you to the controls. As well as controlling the speed of the car you can lean it in to corners or even get the car on to two wheels for extra excitement. Certain sections of the track allow you to gain a turbo boost by hitting the X button just before the section ends, once you start to fill your turbo meter you can press the A button to really pick up speed.

It isn’t just a case of finishing the rides though, there are different objectives to meet, such as achieving a perfect boost rating three times in a row or not derailing the coaster. Some tracks have blockers on one side that require you to get the car onto two wheels to avoid them, there are also monorail sections to take on and jumps that will test your timing to get a good landing. I really enjoyed this mode but I found some of the extra objectives quite challenging. As you finish the levels you’ll unlock other areas of the game and various equipment to use.

I found Demolition mode to be particularly addictive, which probably says more about me than it should, in this mode your goal is to destroy everything in your way by launching amusement cabins or coaster cars. There are a wide range of buildings to destroy and it’s worth having a look at the map before taking aim, hitting the right weak spot can cause some fantastic building collapses, as with the Screamrider mode there are objectives you need to try to meet in order to improve your score. There’s TV screens to smash, hoops to shoot through and the more skilled players will be able to hit the speed boats that are speeding around the island or hit the blimp that’s taking it in all in from above. There are different types of cars that you can launch at the buildings including ones that separates into two, causing even more destruction. There’s also a stick bomb cabin that can be donated whenever you feel the time is right. Blowing up stuff is fun and it’s great watching the huge structures crumble if you manage to hit the sweet spot.

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Engineer mode was easily my favourite mode, it requires a bit more thinking – you are faced with the challenge of creating exciting coasters from unfinished designs, which must meet certain criteria. This mode is split into two playstyles, Build to Thrill and Build to Destroy, both are a lot of fun and thankfully there are plenty of ways to solve each of the puzzles. You can access the Coaster Technology Palette to add booster tracks, monorail sections, corkscrews and much more to ensure that those riding on the coasters have the best time possible. Surprisingly this was the mode my 6-year-old enjoyed the most and at times he came up with better ideas than me! You can test the coaster at any point which is great to see how it performs, you’ll get scored on how much the riders scream, how sick they feel and how much G-force you put them through – there’s lots to consider and it makes for quite a time-consuming mode.

Equally as time-consuming is the editor mode, which is best described as Minecraft for rollercoasters, you can use all sorts of materials to create the perfect island before putting together the best rollercoaster possible, as more players come online you’ll be able to download, score and edit other player’s creations. You can easily lose hours in this mode, and I’ve already downloaded a couple of insane rollercoasters to try out, I expect some amazing creations to come out from this mode. You get to use the same tools that the designers had to create the shipped levels so there is clearly some potential in this mode.

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ScreamRide is a nice enough looking game but it won’t be winning any’ best ever looking game’ awards any time soon, the same goes for some of the sound design, it’s pretty repetitive. The voiceover robot does a good job of explaining the game and its rules to you, but the music is best ignored.

On the surface ScreamRide doesn’t appear to have much content and can begin to feel repetitive quite quickly, dig deeper and you’ll find that Engineer mode and Level editor more than make up for it. Children and adults alike will spend many an hour creating new coasters and islands to build them on, ScreamRide will keep everyone happy for months to come and for me that’s more than enough reason to buy this game.

Thanks to Xbox for supplying TiX with a download code

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Dave is the co-owner of TIX - When the site breaks, it's his fault! You'll find him playing a lot of FIFA and removing heads with ease on Gears of War with the longshot...