Sorry for the Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics to open, but it was that or B*Witched. So as you may have guessed, ScreamRide is a rollercoaster game, sort of. It is at it’s core a rollercoaster game, but it does try to go a little deeper than that.
The game is essential split into three main components; Ride, Destroy, Build and it is these that form the building blocks for the bulk of the career mode as you go through various levels across the world map taking on a number of challenges split into the parts mentioned above.
The game starts you off on the ‘Ride’ levels. Tasking you with taking on a series of challenges whilst racking up scores and beating a par time as you would in a time-trial. If anything it is a really odd concept and one that shouldn’t really work.
You control the speed of your coaster using the right trigger, lean into corners, hit buttons at the right time on certain parts of the track to store boost, then hit the A button to use said boost, whilst also trying to lean into corners and get up on two wheels to get more points.
For the most part this works rather well, the tracks are well designed and offer up a good challenge, but when more ideas get added and the tracks get faster and more twisty, the fun factor slowly starts to decrease, to the point where beating all the challenges doesn’t feel worth it. Which is a shame, because the first levels are wonderful fun.
The second option is the ‘Destroy’ levels, which if you have played Angry Birds, you’ll get to grips with almost instantly. The idea here is that you basically launch a cabin at some buildings to destroy them. You can unlock different cabins that have different abilities and will change how you approach any given level.
The good thing here, is that it borrows very heavily from Angry Birds and as an addition to part of the game it works very well. The issue though, is that in borrowing from Angry Birds, you do get to see after a short while how Rovio did it better. You get to use things like rockets, after-touch, adjust power and angle, etc and it does need some tactical thinking. As part of a larger game it just about works, which is good to see, as it would fall flat as a standalone option.
The third part of the career path are the ‘Build’ levels, which in this case take the concepts from ‘Ride’ and ‘Destroy’ and mix them together. This time you need to complete a section of track that will launch a coaster into a a designated area. The more damage you do, the better your overall score.
Now this for me, is what the bulk of the main career should be, building up tracks to destroy the level itself. This is so much fun and the challenges seem to work well too, such as trying to get you to build only a certain amount of track, whilst still getting a certain score, among other nice additions.
It is here you want to be in career, as the other two parts end up being a distraction whilst you wait to get to the bits you want. Essentially the peas and sprouts before getting to the gateau for dessert. You know why they are on the plate, but you don’t want to eat them and you can see the mouthwatering dessert right there.
That said, the best part of ScreamRide is the sandbox mode, where you can just let your creative juices run free and build the most insane and death defying rollercoaster you can think of. You can build them, then go ahead and ride them. There are so many tools at your disposal, that have to be unlocked via the career mode, but they allow you to go crazy with designs.
Almost anything you can think of, you can build, even replicating real life coasters. It’s not just the tracks you can build too, it’s the islands, the buildings and even your own versions of the other parts of career mode. This is just joyful and reason enough on its own to not only buy the game, but force your way through the career.
It’s not just building in the sandbox, you can also share your creations with the world and go and find other people’s creations too. Much like in games such as Little Big Planet and Trials Fusion, you can just pop into a menu and search for shared tracks and play to your heart’s content. The issue here though, is that leaderboards, which are available for the main career, are not available for user created tracks, which is a shame, because creating your own and setting a score or time attack competition seems like a no brainer.
Overall, ScreamRide is competent game, with some real standout parts offset by some confusing decision making and some distinctly average level structure. It doesn’t ruin the game, which is still fun on the whole, but it does dampen the enthusiasm at times.