RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Switch
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Nvizzio Creations
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I’ve always liked games like SimCity and Cities: Skylines more in theory than in practice. While I love the idea of city planning, the reality is that I don’t have the patience to meticulously lay down electrical grids and other bits of essential infrastructure that cities need to function. On top of that, I always find the level of freedom in sandbox games like those a little overwhelming: given a massive blank canvas, it’s as easy (at least for me) to become paralyzed by too much choice as it is to start creating.

You can imagine my surprise, then, to discover that I absolutely loved RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures.

Admittedly, there’s a pretty fair argument to be made that RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is more sim-lite than SimCity. Unlike many of its more intense (and intensive) management sim brethren, there’s not a lot of micro-managing to done here. You don’t have to tell janitors exactly where to mop, nor do you have to send out mechanics every time a ride breaks. Even the R&D aspect of the game is fairly hands-off — you just tell the game what you’d generally like to do more of, and it does the rest of the work for you.

Now, in the game’s defense, it never claims to offer the full-on RollerCoaster Tycoon experience. This is a port of the game’s mobile version, RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, which gives players a streamlined experience, which in turn means the game is built around touch controls and more intuitive gameplay than what you’d get on a PC.

Besides, what RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures lacks in complexity, it makes up for by being…you know, fun. Okay, that’s a little glib, and I know that, for many people, the fun of these games comes from the feeling that you’re controlling every little aspect of your game’s world. But if you’re looking for something that’s a little more structured — as I am — then this will hit the spot.

After all, right out of the box, it offers you a wealth of different options — including, crucially, a quick and easy tutorial mode, that gets you acquainted pretty quickly with the basics of creating your theme park. From there, there’s both an Adventure mode and a Scenario mode: the former offers you a slightly more structured experience, while the latter gives you a chance to test out what you’ve learned in the service of meeting specific criteria. As someone who, again, struggles with the lack of structure these games often afford players, I found having goals and targets to be a welcome addition.

Obviously, if you’re in the market for a game that does have relatively little structure, then that won’t do — though I’ll hasten to add that the game also includes a sandbox mode, where you can build to your heart’s content. But if, like me, you’re a more goal-oriented sort of player, then you’ll find that RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures offers a perfect blend of creativity and structure.

Atari provided us with a RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A