Sunday, March 8, 2015

ScreamRide (Xbox One) Review

When I first heard about ScreamRide, I figured it to be a Rollercoaster Tycoon-type game.  I was only about 10% right.

ScreamRide is split into three distinct sections.  First is Scream Rider, where you actually control the coaster cart as it goes around the track.  While you don't fully steer the cart, as you are on a track, you are instead tasked with balancing the cart, racking up points and getting to the end on time.  You can accelerate and decelerate while rolling along, and even collect turbo from special sections of the track.  The turbo helps you go faster, but if you don't balance properly on the sharper curves, you can fly off the track and into the scenery.  It's strangely entertaining when this happens, but it will definitely hurt your overall score.  Instead, you want to go fast enough to get the cart up on two wheels (think Policy Academy driving... assuming you aren't too young to get that reference).  It's a tricky balancing act, but it gets you a lot of points.  Your score for each stage will award you with some medals that unlock later stages.  This part controls well and is more fun than I thought it would be, since I'm not a huge racing fan.  Plus, as I said before, it's funny to watch riders or even the whole cart fly away if you take a turn too fast.

Demolition is the second section, as it's my favorite.  They have a selection of buildings set up that you must destroy.  The instrument of destruction is a capsule that has two (willing?) riders.  This cabin is set at the end of a giant spinning arm that you help aim.  I say help, since that's my one complaint with it.  Aiming is really tricky, and it is hard to reproduce any given throw.  A successful throw is very satisfying, making large towers crumble and fall into others or into the water.  There's even targets you can hit, explosive barrels to help destroy structures, and objects that catch the cabin and allow you to launch it in a different direction.  You even get a few different types of cabins to add some variety to the destruction.  Fun to watch and fun to play... I always like destroying stuff in games, just ask my best friend from highschool about our many hours playing Revolution X.

The third and final section is Engineering.  This part most resembles what I thought the game would be like before I played it.  You are given part of a track, and must use the pieces given to finish it off.  It can be a bit of work to get the track to connect how you want it to, but there's no time limit to pressure you.  How the resulting score is calculated wasn't really clear to me.  Also note how long your track must be, since I failed an early level because I didn't know I had to go out of my way to make a super long track.  Engineering is my least favorite section, but it wasn't bad.  The controls worked well, it was just harder for me to get medals because I wasn't sure how the scoring was handled.

There are six areas in the game, containing three or four levels for each of the three activities.  Doing all the math, you end up with 60 levels.  Besides the score medals, each stage has a few extra challenges, like hitting all the bulls-eyes, or getting under a certain time.  Obtaining all of them gets you the last medal for any given stage.  While it's not too hard to pass a stage, getting 100% on them all is a good challenge that can be frustrating.

ScreamRide is one of those "easy to learn, hard to master" games.  The three distinct sections are pretty fun, although Demolition is easily my favorite.  In a way, it reminds me of the good Burnout games, where the two halves were purposefully separated, each with its own set of challenges and progression.  If any of the three sections sounds appealing, I'd recommend trying ScreamRide.  I was pleasantly surprised how much fun the game could be.

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