A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn engineering, architecture, design, physics, and the inner workings of theme parks with the personally created roller coasters of ScreamRide. It encourages kids to design, build, and test-drive their own roller coaster creations before sharing them with friends or letting them create havoc in the single-player mode. Controls aren't always the sharpest with the game, and it can take a lot of figuring out how to best create structures that will withstand the rigors of constant use. There's also a destructive element, wherein kids are encouraged to demolish buildings, but this is more for player enjoyment than the promotion of harmful actions. ScreamRide is one of the better video games for learning and sharpening digital skills while having fun.
Payers can get creative with their designs, but things can go wrong, roller coasters can break, and people can get hurt, virtually.
Positive Role Models
No role models, since your main focus is creating roller coasters and getting park-goers to test your creations for you.
Ease of Play
Bit of a learning curve: Players must use the Xbox controller to create the roller coaster, something a mouse and keyboard would be better for. Some in-game help, if needed.
Violence & Scariness
Although cartoon-like in nature, some mild animated violence. Riders might get ejected from their seats, flung into the air. The cart can break off from the coaster and smash into a building. You can ignite bombs to blow up buildings (which causes screaming human characters to run away from the wreckage).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ScreamRide is a roller coaster-building game that challenges players to design, build, and test their creations. Although it sounds like a game of construction rather than destruction, there's quite a bit of the latter, too. Things can go wrong and people can get hurt (or worse) after being ejected or a cart goes off the rails. There's also a demolition mode where you can fling people in pods toward buildings in the hopes of creating massive property damage to earn points. Players also should be aware that they'll have to create and manipulate coaster tracks with the Xbox controller, a task a bit better suited to mouse and keyboard.
Is It Any Good?
Gamers won't want to pass on this over-the-top action sim with equal construction and destruction. Despite seeing human limbs flailing in the air as a roller coaster cart breaks off from a loop-the-loop, its content also is great for young tweens because it's fun to build and to destroy (and to ride your creations, too). Four unique modes and side challenges add to the replayability. But it's the demolition mode that likely will keep you coming back: Using real physics, you're aiming to launch a cart off a rotating arm and into various structures in the hopes of causing mass carnage -- and being awarded points for it (hint: Aim for the explosive barrels).
Though unique and fun, ScreamRide suffers from some confusing controls (in part due to a console controller's limitations compared to a mouse and keyboard) as well as occasional but ill-timed frame-rate hiccups (not great in a game about roller coasters). And don't expect the same toolset depth for building dream coasters as you'd find in Rollercoaster Tycoon. So long as you understand it's a different experience altogether, you'll be fine. Even better, you'll enjoy the ride.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.