Friday, November 27, 2020

"Planet Coaster: Console Edition" Review

 In a time when open amusement parks are hard to come by, "Planet Coaster" slides in as a welcome escapist fantasy. Managing, pleasing and exploiting happy-go-lucky crowds can be as much of a rush as partaking in a thrill ride, once you overcome a sluggish start to get your momentum going.

As with most management sims, most of the fun in "Planet Coaster" comes after you've put in significant time sewing your seeds. What starts off as a slog can quickly turn into a frenetic juggling affair, requiring you to zip from one area to the next, putting out fires, optimizing the finely-tuned facets of your empire while building for the future.

Developer Frontier Developments put in similarly heavy work on the console adaptation of the 2016 sim, taking care to make the menu interface flow as naturally as it would with a mouse and keyboard setup. There's also a narrated tutorial to help get you going.

A nostalgic feel pulses throughout the game. As you prop up coasters, kiddie rides, concession stands and other attractions, a certain pre-pandemic innocence and optimism pulses throughout. 

The "Minecraf"-style sense of freedom stokes players' creativity by offering ample ways to explore, innovate and spectacularly fail. There are already four years of walkthroughs online, thanks to the enthusiastic PC community, to stoke your visions.

"Planet Coaster" loses little in its transfer to consoles, moving as briskly and smoothly as a cart shifting its tracks. A tinkerer's dream, the game is limited only by the heights of your imagination.

Publisher provided review code.

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