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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about science, math, and economics by playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. When kids build rollercoasters, they must use basic geometric and physics skills to ensure the coaster can function safely and flawlessly. In addition, players watch how much money is being spent compared to how much is coming in via customer spending. They need to decide whether to wait until they can buy a very expensive ride, or quickly build a bunch of smaller rides to generate revenue more quickly. Rollercoaster Tycoon engages kids in learning about science, math, and economics all under the guise of building the best amusement park possible.
In the game's story mode, players work to build the best amusement park in the world. The game constantly encourages the player and provides positive reinforcement when a specific goal is reached. It also provides players with a sense of empowerment, as they build the park of their dreams from the ground up and see their hard work and efforts pay off.
Positive Role Models
This game focuses on the player and uses the story to help provide direction on how to build a park. As such, the player becomes the main character, and the game acts as a support system to empower and encourage the player.
Ease of Play
Rollercoaster Tycoon has a bit of learning curve as players learn the mechanics of building roller coasters and understand all the different customization options, such as charging different prices for each ride. That being said, it isn't difficult to figure out how to construct the various rides and buildings, and there are tutorials to guide players as they figure out the controls. The game requires both creative and cerebral skills in order to successfully create a masterful theme park, but it encourages players to learn and enhance these skills rather than assume they already have them.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rollercoaster Tycoon for the 3DS is a revival of a classic game franchise that was popular for years on the PC. It allows players to design and build their own amusement park. Players manage every aspect of the park, from the price of soda and snacks to the landscape of the park. There is also a robust tool that lets players construct rollercoasters from the ground up; and good tutorials that help players learn the complexities of the building process. Rollercoaster Tycoon is very user-friendly and offers great replayability.
Is It Any Good?
Rollercoaster Tycoon is a great game because it mixes very cerebral concepts like money management, changing economic conditions, and basic physics, with the incredibly fun environment of an amusement park. The result is a game that challenges players but keeps them excited and engaged at the same time. Players may fail at times, by either creating a ride that none of the guests like, or realizing that their high prices are turning customers away, but this just results in players altering their strategy to create a better park. Players cannot "lose"; they can only keep moving forward and that is why there is such longevity to the game. There are some limitations with this sim being played on a handheld system, such as a finite number of different rides and rollercoaster types, and graphics that are probably not as polished and perfected as they could be. But anyone who has entrepreneurial dreams -- or just loves rollercoasters -- will find a lot to enjoy in this game.
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.