Planet Coaster – Part 1: Let’s Get Loopy!

I have decided to split my post about Planet Coaster into two parts. Part 1 will focus on the aspects of Planet Coaster that I love, and Part 2 is going to focus on the things that I really don’t like about the game. I am also going to preface this post by stating that I am a huge fan of the Theme Park Sim genre.

I’ve played a lot of Planet Coaster, nearly 150 hours, and I still feel like I could play more. It’s close to my most played game on Steam, and with all those hours I feel like I have concluded my thoughts on this game. I’ve built almost every type of coaster, played a significant amount of the missions, earned almost every achievement and spent ages managing my parks. So here we go, let’s take a spin on Planet Coaster.

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As a theme park creator Planet Coaster is the best. Nothing comes close to the amount of customisation this game offers with its variety of coasters, scenery items, building tools, landscaping and rides. I’ve spent dozens of hours meticulously crafting buildings and scenery to go around rides and the final product is always great.

Since today we’re talking about the good, let’s talk about the coaster designer. It’s really good. The tools are unlike any of the other theme park sim games, but after you’ve messed around with them for a few minutes they are rather intuitive. They let you bend the track into any free form layout you like and it has a good selection of pre-designed loops and rolls. You can send the coaster round while you build and it’ll show you the ride statistics (excitement and fear etc) in real time. Afterwards you can tweak sections of the coaster easily to create banking or smooth out sections that aren’t quite right. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of Planet Coaster, and when you’re done you can give it a ride.

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The game also has a decent selection of flat rides (carousel etc) and track rides (log flume etc) which you can ride also. The best part about of all this is that you can then add scenery objects around your park and rides to your hearts, or wallets, content. The amount of customisation you can do is crazy. I’ve built coasters that dive through the hull of a pirate ship, rides that fly around a space station and an entire wild west town full of shops and restaurants. Some of the building can be quite laborious, but if you’re willing to spend the time you can make some amazing looking stuff.

Planet Coaster looks great, but is somewhat of a system hog, especially for CPU. The game runs well most of the time, even on my ageing PC, but the developers, Frontier, have a history of producing games that are not optimised well (RCT3). Still, the art style is great and with the huge amount of options available you can really build the theme park of your dreams. Whilst everything looks amazing, managing your park is where the game starts to fall apart for me, and we’ll get to that another day in Part 2.

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