The 8 Best PC Roller Coaster Games
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Deepest Experience: Planet Coaster
Say goodbye to retro and dated graphics with Planet Coaster. This game brings the roller coaster and theme park simulation into the modern age. Planet Coaster gives you all the tools you need to build the park of your dreams with advanced customization and detailed 3D graphics.
You can reshape the landscapes down to the rocks. You can build rivers and lakes. You can even put islands in the sky. And, once the landscape is ready, you can start putting the main attraction into the perfect park with whatever roller coasters you can dream of.
The game features the usual piece-by-piece construction seen in many other roller coaster games, but it has over a thousand building components to work with as you design your park.
You can tackle the game in Career Mode, which sees you managing a park and aiming to keep it successful. Challenge Mode lets you see if you can complete special tasks, and rewards you with bonuses for your park. Or, you can build to your heart’s content in the Sandbox Mode.
Biggest Classic: RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic
You can dive right into the retro theme park simulation that started it all. RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is a remastered version of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and three expansion packs for the games. These new versions are designed to run on modern PCs, so you won’t have to worry about digging out an old floppy disk drive.
In RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, you get to build your own theme park in a wide variety of settings all while aiming to give customers the most thrilling experience possible. Keep them fed, make sure the lines don’t get too long and try not to make your roller coasters too scary. Running a theme park costs money, so you’ve got to be sure yours turns a profit. Or, you can just go wild.
You can run your parks however you want, whether that’s making crowds wait in the world’s longest line to get on the most boring ride, making a roller coaster that no one walks away from or taking up every square foot of the park with one insane roller coaster.
The options are all there for you to build your park and run it how you want. The nostalgia is sure to hit hard if you played any of these games growing up.
Best of RollerCoaster Tycoon: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum takes the formula that was executed so well earlier in the series and brings it into 3D. The Platinum version also includes the “Soaked!” and “Wild!” expansion packs. It’s not just a theme park anymore, as you can build water park rides and populate the park with exotic animals.
Create loopy, high-speed roller coasters that wind right through the middle of equally insane water slides. Add in laser light shows or fireworks to spice up your rides even more. Once you’ve got your rides ready, you can even hop in for a first-person view and see just what the park guests are seeing.
If you like a challenge, there are plenty of different scenarios to play through and three difficulty modes. You can see if you’ve got what it takes to run a theme park. Or, if you just want to flex your creative muscles, the Sandbox mode will let you get crazy with nothing to hold you back.
Most Attractive: Parkitect
If you love the retro feel but want to get a roller coaster game that was made for the modern generation of PC gaming, then Parkitect is the one for you. It blends the old-school isometric and cartoony style of the classic RollerCoaster Tycoon games with crisper graphics and more advanced features.
Parkitect sees you managing a theme park, designing it and seeing to its daily operation. You have to make sure guests can get around the park, have all their needs seen to and enjoy the rides.
Just because the game is retro doesn’t mean that its roller coaster building system isn’t robust. As you build your winding, twisting, turning scream machines above and below ground, you can carefully examine the g-forces your guests will experience at each point in the coaster. This will help you design your roller coaster to be just right. Whether that’s dull, nauseating or a total thrill is entirely up to you.
For a deep theme park simulation with a delightful art style, Parkitect is a winner.
Best for Serious Roller Coaster Design: NoLimits 2 Roller Coaster Simulation
If you want to skip past all the park management and customer satisfaction so you can dive right in on making the roller coasters of your dreams, then NoLimits 2 Roller Coaster Simulation is for you.
Compared to the other games on this list, this one won’t even feel like a game. It’s work. You’re given carte blanche and all the tools you need to manage the landscape and design roller coasters. And, you’re not just slapping together pieces to make some slipshod roller coaster like you might get away with in some other roller coaster games.
The roller coaster building tools in NoLimits 2 are complex, more like an engineering tool than a game. Why? Because in NoLimits 2, you’ll be building incredibly realistic roller coasters with full physics.
But, it’s not all tedious design work, as you can hop in and take a 3D ride of the finished coasters. And, if you own an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset, you can also check out the rides in virtual reality. You can even load up famous roller coasters and give them a spin.
Best VR Roller Coaster Sandbox: Chunks
Chunks is a really simple game. Think a stripped down Minecraft made for virtual reality with the key ability to quickly build roller coasters added in. The graphics are boxy (surely where the name Chunks comes from) and very much like Minecraft, but the roller coasters themselves are smooth.
You can edit the landscape and build custom objects using the games editor. This will let you get the scenery set just the way you want it for your coaster. You can also just chuck blocks of dynamite around to let explosions do the landscaping for you.
When you’re ready, you can quickly build wild roller coasters by hand in VR. The tracks follow the twists and turns you make by stretching it out through space in the game. You can check your tracks out by putting little box people on the rides and seeing how they like it, or you can hop into a seat and ride your own creation in VR. Just make sure the track doesn’t end too abruptly.
Wildest VR Roller Coaster: RollerForce
After you ride enough roller coasters, some of the thrills may start to wear off. This can be especially true in VR where the environments might still be exciting, but the lack of any insane g-forces on your body keep the experience a lot more tame than the real thing. That’s where RollerForce comes in to spice things up.
RollerForce is a mashup for a VR roller coaster and a first-person shooter. You ride along the coaster blasting away at a variety of enemies, so you have to stay on your toes, as you’ll never know what’s around the next bend in the coaster.
The game includes 10 tracks that roar through outer space or among the clouds in the sky. It also offers a survival game mode and a freeride mode if you just want to have an easy ride. If you want a shooter and a roller coaster in one, this is the game.
Best Non-Conventional: The Tower
This isn’t quite a roller coaster game, per se. But, you are on a track and there are plenty of thrills.
The Tower is a VR game the sets you on a conveyor belt winding its way toward the titular tower. Along the way, you’ll be faced with all manner of obstacles and dangers. You won’t get to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
With traps like swinging ax blades, flying spears, hammers, buzz saws and plenty more, you’ll be forced to duck and dodge all along the way up the tower. This game will test your coordination and quick reflexes, and as you get higher up, you may have to face your fear of heights (if you have one).
For some fun on rails that’s a little slower than a roller coaster but not short on excitement, check out The Tower.