Against all reason and logic, Coaster Crazy puts you– presumably a person with zero experience– in charge of designing roller coasters for theme parks around the world. In each level, you must create a coaster that meets certain criteria set by picky patrons called Crazies. Their lives are in your hands, dude.
Thankfully, Crazies are impervious to pain, so even if your coaster flies off its tracks and sends them crashing to the ground, they’ll be lined up and ready to go for another ride as soon as you can flip the switch.
Do the twist.
Even though they’re forgiving, they’re also very demanding, and you can’t open your coaster for business until you’ve satisfied their whims. That may means your coaster has to make them travel upside down for five seconds, or they may want to reach certain benchmarks of fear or excitement. Meeting these demands is where the challenge comes in.
You have many tools on hand to design your coasters, and you gain access to more as you progress. You can add things like loops, twists, turns, and spirals, all of which affect the coaster’s fear, excitement, and nausea levels. Each of these values has a corresponding meter onscreen, with green, yellow, and red zones. As you test your coaster, you’ll have to watch the meters to make sure your Crazies are enjoying their ride.
If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. It also leads to our biggest problem with the game: scoring can seem unpredictable. To pass levels, you usually have to meet certain point values, but it’s not always clear what adjustments you need to make to your coaster, and where along the track they need to be made. Sometimes shrinking a loop is enough to put you over the edge, while other times you need to re-plan your entire layout. Figuring out the tweaks takes a lot of trial and error– something that some players will find more appealing than others.
The ol’ Vomit Comet.
But mostly the game is a whole lot of fun. The controls are terrific, with lots of easy-to-master taps, drags, and drops. An interactive tutorial walks you through everything you can do in the game. The graphics are bright and colorful, and the game is full of hilarious details. The Crazies have stomachs weaker than house cats, so they barf at the slightest provocation as they test your nauseating designs.
The game has the usual freemium elements, but they’re usually not all that intrusive. Whenever you want to build a new coaster, you have to obtain the land rights, which starts a real-life timer that can take a long time to run down. Every new element you add to your coasters costs in-game currency, but you also earn it fairly quickly. It’s a game that rewards players for checking in often, but it’s fun enough to make you want to check in often.
Coaster Crazy surprised us with its strategy, charm, and ease of use. You may be an amateur coaster designer when you start, but if you stick with it and accept the trial-and-error nature of the game, you’ll become a master before you know it.