Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition Game Poster Image
Whole lot of building fun in one package.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While nothing's overtly stated, the better the park, the more customers will flock to see the exhibits and ride the rides, which will increase the park's profits.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are no role models or representations. 

Ease of Play

While the control scheme is simple to use, there are a lot of options that can take up the boundaries of the screen. That said, though, this is a simple drag and drop game that makes creating the park easy. 

Violence & Scariness

This is the latest game in the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition is a simulation game for Windows PCs. This title comprises the base game, plus its two expansions - Soaked and Wild. Gameplay allows players to use their imaginations to create any type of amusement park they wish, although the game itself is broken down into the original title, and separate launched games for the two expansions. A player can't incorporate elements from one expansion into the other. The game is also about micromanaging the theme park and while the Sandbox Apprentice game allows players unlimited resources, other campaign-driven scenarios will require financial responsibility. There's no inappropriate content to be found in any one of the three games.

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What's it about?

ROLLER COASTER TYCOON 3 COMPLETE EDITION takes three titles and wraps them up in one package, giving players access to the original game and its two expansions. The idea is relatively simple -- take a plot of land, with either limited or unlimited financial resources -- and build a theme park. There can be water rides (under the Soaked expansion), or animal exhibits (under the Wild expansion), or just straight-up theme park rides. While there's a lot of micromanaging that needs to be done -- and don't forget to watch your customers to get their reactions -- the game lets the imagination run wild and allows players to create whatever type of part they want. The game has more than 300 rollercoasters and pre-built rides (which can be customized to some extent), 500 scenery pieces to give your park ambiance, 60 shops and services, and 20 animals to show in a variety of habitats. The game does have a tutorial, but also features career (campaign-driven elements here), sandbox (wide open, so you can do what you want) and custom scenario modes (want to create your own challenges? This is the place).

Is it any good?

If you are looking for the kind of game where building and creating from the imagination is a central idea, then this is your time sink that will keep you coming back for more. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition looksnice, but while both the visual and audio elements are sound, neither are where the game excels. This is a value-packed (three games for a relatively low price) building sim that's delightful to drop an hour or three into during a game session. The scenarios and career campaign elements are nice, but the sandbox is where the game really shines. Given nothing more than a blank plot of land, players can go Apprentice with an unlimited budget or customize the outing to keep a budget in place (the two other modes are Entrepreneur and Tycoon). From there, you'll then work every aspect of the park, from designing rides to keeping attendees happy. The controls stay clearly out of the way and allow players a lot of freedom in design. 

Building sim fans will enjoy this immensely, but this is a game -- with sometimes wacky themes (really, octopi?) or the animal enclosures (do NOT try to put a deadly animal behind a flimsy wooden fence) -- that should have really good appeal to younger gamers. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition is built for fun, but the financial elements and micromanaging may well give younger players a simplified, but fun lesson in economics and creativity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about amusement parks and what there is to like about them. Are the rides the most interesting thing about these places? What's your favorite ride? What type of animals do you like to see in a theme park and why?

  • Do you like a directed experience, or the opportunity to create your own adventure? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Frontier Foundry
  • Release date: September 24, 2020
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Topics: STEM, Wild Animals
  • ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: October 5, 2020

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