Planet Coaster Console Edition is one of the few games on Xbox Series X that actually has its own version for the new console. Many games are playable through backwards compatibility, but this is a full-blown entry for Microsoft’s new consoles. I’ve been playing a bit of the game on Xbox Series X thanks to a code that was kindly provided by those behind it. I’ve had a great time with it and I’m looking forward to more, but how well does it play on the console with all of this new technology?
The first thing to point out here is that the game looks phenomenal. The Xbox Series X has been used to push it to look better than PC versions running with ultra graphics settings. It’s a marvel that a game like this can look so good on a console, but that’s the generation of consoles we have. Everything is sharp, from the UI, to the people complaining that there aren’t enough bins at your park. You’ll never notice the change if you haven’t seen the game running on machines with less power, but as it is, this is a great game to play if you want to see what the Xbox Series X is capable of.
Once again, this is exceptional. The game has been taken to a new level in terms of console power, and that’s definitely reflected in the sounds that you hear. The guests screaming, and even the music that you have blaring around your park is all far better than on the original version. Still, it won’t make much of a difference if the gameplay is rubbish.
Planet Coaster Console Edition is exactly what you want from a theme park management game. As someone who used to pick up Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and play it through the night, I’ve had loads of fun plowing hours into a single park, right up until it fails. That is, of course, the central concept to this game.
You have a few options to choose from in terms of playing. There’s the core campaign mode, which is great for learning the game. This puts you into a number of pre-made parks, and tasks you with a set of goals to accomplish. Once you’ve completed all of them, you can move onto the next campaign level. It’s a great way to learn how to play, but it feels disheartening to leave a park after putting any amount of work in it. You do have the option to stay, but if you want to complete the campaign you’ll need to move on at some point.
The second mode is a challenge mode. Here you have a park to build, and a set of challenges to complete. This might apply certain restrictions to your game, or ask you to meet a certain goal. It’s a good way to justify creating a new park. Sometimes it can feel pointless when you mess around making one, but challenge mode gives you a reason to play outside of the campaign.
Finally, there’s the sandbox mode. This is exactly what you need it to be. A fresh slate on which to build your own park, with no one telling you what to do. It’s great, and you can succeed or fail on your own merit. Any challenges you face are caused by issues you’ve made, and it’s incredibly satisfying to overcome them and feel as if you’ve learned. This is where you’ll probably spend most of your time, and it’s amazing.
However, there are a couple of downsides to the console edition of this game specifically. For example, designing a rollercoaster, or any aspect of your park, is far easier with a mouse and keyboard. This makes sense since the game was built first for PC, but it doesn’t feel like the game is as easy as it could be on consoles. There’s no sense in something looking great if it doesn’t play well. With that said, this aspect really is only an issue when it comes to designing specific aspects of your park.
Outside of the control scheme, the game holds up extremely well. There’s also a wealth of creator content to pull from if you can’t make exactly what you want, or don’t have the time and energy to do so. In a way, it feels like cheating, but it’s also a great excuse to make something new and justify trying it out with the rest of your park.
I don’t offer review scores here on PowerupGaming, but I do want to give you an idea of whether you’ll enjoy this game. If you like any sort of management simulator, you’ll love it. There’s so much here to enjoy, and making ort losing money feels as good as it does in any release from Frontier Developments. Rollercoaster Tycoon fans will enjoy it, and there’s enough of a lull when you need there to be one that you can sit back and let the park do its own thing for a while. If you like to build businesses and then only tweak them over time once they’re done, then you’ll adore this game. There’s so much potential here, and it would be a shame if you missed it.
At the time of writing, the game is also part of Game Pass Ultimate. You can grab it as part of your subscription, and try it before you need to put any money down.