Bringing the Rollercoaster Tycoon series of games to iOS is likely to have made a lot of fans very happy. Until they started playing it, that is. The games have enjoyed immense popularity over the year, but this version seems to have taken a wrong turn somewhere.
Average attempt at a city-building game
With Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, you unsurprisingly have to build a theme park based around rollercoasters. You can choose quite a wide variety of attractions, including restaurants, food carts, hotels and other special decorations. You then earn money from these attractions, which allows you to build some more and you can speed up construction by using your tickets (as opposed to the hard cash).
You also have a list of goals to work through (a few more of these would be nice) while you get little suggestion bubbles popping up now and again with some "helpful" tips. Although you don't seem to get any reward if you act on these tips. The hints and tips in the game will annoy some users but they only really appear at the start so it's not a major problem. So far, so normal city-building game.
There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to where you build your coasters and other attractions. You can stick them anywhere you like, as it doesn't make a difference to your game success. Even if the entrance to your rollercoaster is blocked by a carousel, that doesn't seem to be a problem.
There aren't really any stand out features worth mentioning, although the game has quite colorful and attractive graphics.
Serious connectivity issues
It's incredibly hard to get anywhere without making in-app purchases and you don't even get in much initial gameplay first.
It's one thing to be hampered by these in-app purchases (you can, at least, play the waiting game) but it's another completely when the game keeps crashing or telling you that you are offline and need to reconnect. Gameplay was fine for the first ten minutes and then it crashed or went into offline mode (despite having strong wifi) around every five to ten minutes after that (if not more frequently). Having checked the iTunes store, this seems to be common problems for users, which is not acceptable from a major developer, especially when there is tough competition in the market; it happens often enough that it will make all but the most hardcore fans uninstall.
While building the theme park in general is easy enough with touchscreen controls, the actual construction of a rollercoaster is a bit tricky. The controls are clunky and it's hard to maneuver each different piece into place to build an entire coaster. The same goes for placing buildings behind other ones. You just can't see where you are putting anything. But you can, at least, zoom in and out to see what you are doing.
Recreate all the fun of the fare
Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is a game full of color and life. Its vibrant graphics provide some visual treats for gamers but, maybe by this point, they should have advanced further. Its cutesy style is reminscient of the early game versions. The music gets old very quickly, but then that's the case with so many of these games and so not a massive criticism. It's certainly not the biggest criticism you could throw at Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile. There are fun sound effects that do recreate (to an extent) the feel of being at a theme park.
This rollercoaster has gone off the tracks
Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile seems like a slapdash, half-hearted attempt at a game that aims to cash in on loyal fans of the series. In reality, the game has been reduced to a shell of its former self and is unlikely to gain any fans unless it fixes the serious connectivity errors and crashing problems.