Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Sometimes games full of in-app purchases and timers can work. They're not all evil, it's just that when done badly they seem to be done exceptionally badly. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is one such example. As the App Store info will tell anyone, it's based on the beloved RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise. Beloved is the right word and no one likes to see their beloved be trampled on, which is exactly what happens here.
Laden with timers and in-app purchases, despite costing $2.99 to start out, RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is all a bit sad really. It does still allow players to set up their own theme park and construct their own rollercoasters, but that's where the excitement ends.
Putting together the park is quite fun, even when steered along by a tutorial. It all looks vibrant and pleasant enough. Constructing a roller coaster is reasonably intuitive and fun too, with multiple different types available plus the option to adapt things to just how one wants them. Timers get in the way though, with the most basic of rides taking a few minutes or more to complete, while some more impressive structures can take half a day to finish. There are tickets, the premium currency of the game, available to skip ahead and the game is reasonably generous early on with these, but eventually there's going to be a lot of waiting around.
The biggest issue with RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, however, is its lack of soul. The wealth of customization options that could have been possible here are very scaled back. It's possible to rename one's park and change the color of the coaster carts, but it's not possible to micromanage staff or adjust prices of concession stands. Bizarrely, it's not even required that visitors walk along paths, with them happy to wander along the grass.
Instead of being a true theme park simulator, RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is a game about tapping at the right time throughout the day and collecting coins, before completing some quests to gain experience and more coins. Essentially, it's the same as all the other free-to-play city building experiences, except that it demands $2.99 from the player before they've even started.
It's all just terribly disappointing for fans of the franchise and smacks of a title that could have been named anything rather than capturing the spirit of such a rightfully loved series.