Review: RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile

Published by Atari and developed by On5, RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is the continuation of the beloved Microprose series, originally from Chris Sawyer. I got quite excited when I saw that this was being released, as I played the first RollerCoaster Tycoon for hours as a kid, and it remains one of my favorite games.

Watch the trailer:

Graphics and Sound

RCT4M Screen 1 Avail Now

I left out the plot section because there really isn’t one; you’re a tycoon building a roller coaster park, which is the extent of it. There’s not even a plot in the “missions.”

Graphics are extremely colorful and one of the only things I enjoyed. Everything is eye-catching, which captures the feel of the original games very well. The music, however, is repetitive to the point that I had to play with the sound off.

Gameplay

RCT4M Screen 2 Avail now

After a brief tutorial, which includes building your first roller coaster from scratch, you’re let loose to build your park. I was never a big fan of building my own coasters, preferring to just pick from the pre-built list, so I found the fact that I had to build my own immediately annoying, especially because of the very limited space in the park at the beginning. There is, however, a “finish this for me” button you can hit to have the game finish building the custom coaster for you, which is useful if you’re like me and can’t get it to line up to save your life. If you really like building custom coasters, you’ll probably be annoyed to discover that every time you want to build a coaster, you get charged a ticket, which is RCT4M‘s premium currency.

Play is copy-pasted from every freemium game you’ve ever played. The game gives you missions, which you dutifully complete in exchange for money. With enough experience points, you level up, which unlocks more rides, stores, and decorations to build in your park. Everything you build requires you to wait. The very first thing I built took fourteen seconds, but the most recent thing took eight hours. So I boot up the game, play for two minutes, and shut it down, unable to make progress in my goals for another eight hours.

Also, if you’re playing offline, the game produces a pop-up every time you try to collect money, saying that the in-game economy depends on being connected to the internet. This is really annoying, and nowhere on the App Store does it say that it requires an internet connection. This message would also intermittently pop up when I was actually connected. There’s also a goal to connect Facebook, which would be impossible if you didn’t have one or didn’t want to connect yours to the game.

I really wish RCT4M had been a good game. It’s not.

In-App Purchases

  • Pack of 10,000 Coins / Pack of 5 Tickets – $0.99
  • Pack of 55,000 Coins / Pack of 28 Tickets – $4.99
  • Pack of 130,000 Coins / Pack of 65 Tickets – $9.99
  • Pack of 150 Tickets – $19.99
  • Pack of 900,000 Coins / Pack of 450 Tickets – $49.99
  • Pack of 2,000,000 Coins / Pack of 1000 Tickets – $99.99

Enough said, I think. The $99.99 price point on IAPs will always infuriate me. The difference between the IAPs in this and, say, Shattered Planet is that in RCT4M you have artificial barriers put in place that can only be removed by a) waiting a ridiculous amount of time or b) coughing up actual cash. In-app purchases of this kind especially aggravate me when they’re in a game that you’ve already paid for. Why not make RCT4M completely free if you’re going to do the microtransaction model? They give you tickets worth over $5, but still. Ugh.

Final Thoughts

RCT4M Screen 3 Avail Now

Not worth your time at all due to in-app purchases and time restrictions. Go buy RollerCoaster Tycoon ($5.99) or RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 ($5.99) on GOG if you’re nostalgic for the game; at the moment, there are no good mobile alternatives. If anyone knows of any, please let me know in the comments!

Score: F

Get RollerCoaster Tycoon 4: Mobile on the App Store for $2.99. It requires iOS 5.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It’s optimized for iPhone 5. Check out the official site, like the game on Facebook, and follow Atari on Twitter and YouTube.

[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]

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