RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition, developed and published by Frontier for Nintendo Switch, is a remastered, updated version of the classic 2004 construction and management simulator. While the heart of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is present in the Switch version, the gameplay is painful and difficult to navigate, creating a disappointing and frustrating experience.
In RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, players build and manage their own amusement parks, either in free play modes or a career mode that requests certain milestones from your park. The complete edition of the game also includes the Soaked and Wild expansions, letting players create waterparks and exotic animal exhibits in addition to regular rollercoasters.
The goal of the game, even in free play, is to create and manage a fun and exciting amusement park. To do this, you not only place and build your own rollercoasters, but manage every aspect of the park. This includes food stands, staff, prices, and more. The gameplay is ultimately a fine balance between going all out and building the park of your dreams and a business simulation of supply and demand and safety regulations.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition is certainly full of great content, especially for fans who grew up playing the original versions on PC. There’s no shortage of different rollercoasters to create and almost everything is customizable. The ability to spice the park up with the expansions was fantastic as well, allowing creativity for players who want to focus on the design aspect of the game. Personally, I enjoyed messing around with the two expansions included in the Complete Edition. While the instructions on how to make the water rides actually function weren’t explained well, I did like the variety that swimming pools and exotic animals added to the park. Not only could I make ridiculously shaped swimming pools, but I could make my visitors stare at lions and tigers while I did it.
Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch port is so difficult to control that the joy of creating a park is almost nonexistent. The game is very obviously a PC port, which would be fine except the controls are so poorly adapted that it feels impossible to play efficiently on console. Additionally, the game feels dated, which I expected considering it’s just a remaster instead of a total remake. However, the gameplay is still so clunky and poorly adapted for console that I’m not sure newcomers to the series would fall in love with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 like I did in 2004. It doesn’t feel like an older game made available to modern audiences – it just feels like a chore.
The game relies too heavily on holding down the trigger buttons. For example, to build shops or rollercoasters, you need to hold down the left trigger button and select options from a circular menu. However, as a simulation and management game, there are so many menus to dig through that it becomes increasingly difficult to navigate.
The camera angles typically aren’t the best either, making the map a little tricky to figure out. Generally, it wasn’t an issue when placing pre-made stores or rollercoasters. However, when trying to build your own rollercoasters or implementing water rides, it’s hard to see exactly what you’re doing without spending a lot of time toying with all the controls.
Overall, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is a great game, but not on Nintendo Switch. The controls are too difficult and not well optimized for a console experience. The menus are hard to navigate and park customization is difficult to do using only buttons when it is so clearly meant for the finesse of a mouse and keyboard. My time with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch was incredibly disappointing – I was hoping for a great nostalgic trip to the early 2000s, but instead, I was met with bulky and burdensome gameplay that made an originally fun game tedious.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
Overall, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is a great game, but not on Nintendo Switch. The controls are too difficult and not well optimized for a console experience. The menus are hard to navigate and park customization is difficult to do using only buttons when it is so clearly meant for the finesse of a mouse and keyboard.