A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Microsoft Studios' SCREAMRIDE fuses action and simulation ("sim") in a unique offering. At its core, your goal is to design, build, and ride roller coasters in a near-future amusement park of sorts (which you also can design). But, unlike in the hit series Rollercoaster Tycoon -- where it's very bad if your coaster breaks down -- your riders seem to enjoy when this happens in ScreamRide. In fact, destruction is as important as construction in this game, depending on which mode you play: engineering, racing, demolition, and sandbox creation (only unlocked for partaking in career events). In other words, you must use your imagination to create ridiculously tall winding coasters and see what happens when you strap some people in and crank the speed up to 170 miles per hour, or launch them off a huge and rotating arm into skyscrapers. Because of this, ScreamRide might not appeal to the same audience as Rollercoaster Tycoon, since it focuses more on reckless action and demolishing things than slowly and painstakingly designing a successful roller coaster without any hitches.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how ScreamRide offers both construction and destruction opportunities with play. Do the learning opportunities and action-packed demolishing of buildings satisfy both kids and parents?
Talk about thrill rides. What is it about thrill rides that appeal to people? Why are people terrified of these kinds of rides?
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Science: engineering, electricity, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, hypothesis-testing, thinking critically
Creativity: making new creations
Self-Direction: achieving goals, time management, work to achieve goals
Tech Skills: digital creation
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: March 5, 2015
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.