Screamride Xbox One Review

March 8, 2015

If you’ve seen any trailers or publicity for the game, you might think that Microsoft is positioning Screamride as the new Rollercoaster Tycoon, given from the outside it appears to be a rollercoaster construction simulator for the next generation. This is partly true. It’s a Rollercoaster Tycoon game by way of the iPhone App generation, with three gameplay types and an overall structure reminiscent of games like Angry Birds. For a downloadable title, this isn’t a bad direction to go, the only question is whether Screamride is able to hold your attention for longer stretches than the mobile games it cribs a few notes from?

In the game’s main campaign, you’re taken through a number of locations around the world owned by ‘Screamworks’ – a company that seems to exist purely to create fun physics-based mini-games for omniscient player overlords such as ourselves. They can’t possibly exist for the benefit of that world’s denizens, who live only to have their insides scrambled by G-forces, be flung out of carts or be fired into exploding buildings (of course, they never actually die, as the game is careful to show everyone surviving in amusing little vignettes throughout). However, that’s beside the point – within each location you’re offered a set of around five challenges in three gameplay types. Advancing enough through each stream will unlock the next location, as well as parts for use in the Sandbox mode. You’re awarded a score out of five stars at the end, just like almost every puzzle-based App in existence in 2015.


The first ‘Engineer’ gameplay type is a scaled-back spin on rollercoaster construction, presenting you with a partially completed coaster and allowing you to fill in the missing bits. Sometimes this means adding in loops and dips yourself, maximising excitement and nausea, while other times this means creating a ramp to launch your victims- I mean, riders- into a building for total destruction. While limited in scope, it is amusing that you can actually get points for losing riders along the way, on the ludicrous corkscrews and death-spirals you send them through.

The next type puts you in the driver’s seat of a jet-powered cart flying along various tracks, awarding you points for completing the track more quickly or dangerously. Your cart can actually leave the rails, and you’re rewarded for grinding along on two wheels for as long as possible. Turbocharged sections of the track can be absorbed for boost power, as can quick-starting the race and boosting from jumps, a lot like a kart racing game, but the way you do this is a little odd. Your cart automatically draws energy along blue sections of the track, but you won’t actually collect it until you ‘bank’ the energy (for lack of a better term) with the X button. It takes some getting used to, as you’d usually expect to hold X to draw energy along the track or something similar, and it’s this timing mechanism that influences how well you actually score on these levels.

Finally, the destruction mode is pretty much Angry Birds powered by Xbox One tech. You’re given control of a Speed or pendulum-type ride, where you can fling different types of cabins at buildings to demolish them. Some buildings have explosive canisters you can target for even more destruction, and some types of cabins have different abilities (like being able to break apart to spread the damage). Hey, Angry Birds is popular for a reason, and being able to unleash that kind of destruction on the big screen with decent physics is definitely satisfying, if ultimately feeling derivative.


The Sandbox is where you’ll be able to have the most control over the various amusements on offer. There are far more components and combinations possible in the Sandbox than in the campaign Engineer mode, so if you were looking for a more comprehensive rollercoaster simulator, this is where you’ll want to visit (after unlocking all the content in the single-player first). Levels you create can be saved and shared online, potentially creating a lot of replayability down the track, assuming the game catches on among budding Xbox engineers.

Screamride is great for short bursts of fun. I never felt compelled to power through several of the single-player maps in a session, but I enjoyed the freedom of being able to play a level on board the rollercoaster, then to step outside and play a level creating a death-trap to send my friends hurtling along. The Destruction mode is nothing new, but I enjoyed it on the same level as Burnout‘s crash mode – it’s primally satisfying watching stuff splow up. If you’re looking for a lightweight counterpart to Sunset Overdrive‘s self-aware and fun atmosphere, it’s worth checking out Screamride for quick gameplay breaks.


Fun to be found in all three gameplay types


Somewhat short | A little derivative

Overall Score: