I really do not like the simulation aspect of Planet Coaster and I’ve reached the point where I only play on Sandbox. The first problem I encountered was with money; you either have too much or none. When you’re first starting out with your park it seems impossible to make any money without increasing the speed of the game and just waiting for it to roll in. Once you’re able to afford your first coaster, and if you build a good one, you start raking it in, to the point where I couldn’t spend it fast enough. The flat rides and shops seem to be terrible at making money and it’s just boring to not be able to do anything during times when you have no money.
The money problem flows into my issues with the campaign missions in the game. The objectives are incredibly dull and some of the later levels are made hard simply by restricting the amount of money you have. It’s just not fun. Normally objectives in these games are things like get 1,200 guests into the park or build three coasters with excitement of 6.0. There are a few of these, but generally I feel like I’m not struggling with the objectives, I just have no money. There are at least two missions in particular where you start the game completely laden with debt, and it’s the opposite of enjoyable simulation. Gone is the joy of building the theme of your dreams and instead your time is replaced by looking at the money tab of park management and fast forwarding the game until you pay off your loan.
My other gripe with the simulation is just how incredibly slow everything is. Now I’m sure Frontier are trying to make this realistic, but I just can’t stand it. The guests move around the park at a snail’s pace and they take so long to enter and exit a ride. It became so annoying I stopped building rides like the log flumes because the guests take so long to get on and off it causes traffic jam. It’s not just the guests that are slow, it’s also the staff. The mechanics take an age to get to broken rides and the janitors basically crawl around the park sweeping up litter. On the subject of staff, one aspect of Planet Coaster I loathe is the staff wages and training system. The staff moan and quit constantly and it’s just not fun to manage. This also applies to the shop workers and when they aren’t happy they’ll just quit and the shop will close. On a large park I ended with so many notifications about staff I just gave up. It became easier to let them quit and rehire them than it was to manage their wages and training.
I’m no expert on simulation games and, aside what I mentioned above, I can’t really explain what’s going wrong, but what I do know is that I hate managing a park in Planet Coaster. These days I put the game on Sandbox, hire too many members of staff and just build until my hearts content. For me, that’s where the fun is. Planet Coaster is an incredible theme park builder, but a terrible simulation game.