By Crystal Colwell / April 3rd, 2013
|Title: Coaster Creator 3D
Publisher: Gamers Digital
Developer: Big John Games
Console: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: February 28, 2013
Coaster Creator 3D begins with Gill McGee telling you that he is one of the best roller coaster designers the world has ever seen; at least, he used to be. He apparently hasn’t really kept up with computers and is having a bit of an issue with making new coasters; as such he has recruited you to take over. Gill lets you know that he will ease you into the job and starts you off with an easy wooden coaster. He has already created the coaster but, in its current state, it is very boring and it needs updated. Sure Gill, we can help you out!
Choose Challenge One, as this is the only one available from the start, and dive right in. You have two objectives in this first challenge: the first is to pass through all of the targets and the second is to complete the full track. The targets are represented by circles on the screen and, of course, completing a full track simply means to make sure the coaster is completed. To start your challenge off, you use the stylus to manipulate the track so that it will pass through each target on the screen.
Be warned that the game gives you no tutorial; they just throw you into it and let you figure it out. You can, and should, access the manual located on the 3DS. The manual will also give you instructions on where everything is located on the 3DS screen as well as how to use the controls and anything else you will need to know. You can also access some basic help by clicking start and then selecting Editor help. I did not like the lack of a tutorial and I felt that my experience with the game would have been much more pleasant with that addition. When I first sat down to play the game, I went into it thinking that I would either have a tutorial or be able to play around with the touch screen and figure things out. While you can do that, it is my advice that you should read the manual and save yourself the aggravation that I went through.
After playing around with the controls on the touch screen, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of things and I gave a real effort to my first challenge. The challenge sounds so simple – make the track go through the targets and be sure to have a completed track. The targets are represented by circles on the screen. First off, the targets can be very annoying to track down due to the fact that I had no idea how high the target was that I needed to pass through. While you can click on a piece of the track on the touch screen and the top screen will show you how high that selection is, this does not help you in finding out how high the target is or even how close you are to passing the section of track through the target. Clicking Y will zoom the camera out while clicking X will zoom it back in; and you will need to do this quite a bit to help you track down the target and then look to see if you have completed the challenge objective.
Once you track down your targets onscreen and get the track to pass through them, you need to enter the test area in order to see if you have actually completed the challenge. To do this, you simply hit start and choose the test ride option. You will see the objective(s) listed – in the first challenge, it is to pass through all of the targets and complete a full track. The top screen will show you the coaster moving along the track and you will be able to see if you have hit the target or not. A nice addition to the game is that you can control the speed of the coaster with the bottom controls (Shown in the picture above on the bottom of the screen). The bottom screen will have Challenge Objectives at the top with the objectives listed underneath next to circles that will either get a check mark or an X. A check mark means that you have fulfilled that part of the challenge while an X represents a target that you have missed. I found that even if the track looked to me to have passed through the target the game would often say it had not. Usually, moving the track just a little bit in one direction or the other would solve this problem. Although, it can be much more frustrating than you would think to simply move the track a tiny bit and hit the target.
Each challenge will add its own constraints onto the players to make things more difficult. In some challenges you can only change the angle of the track in order to make the coaster not ever do a full loop. This is very time constraining and one mistake made, if not caught early on, will mean you are starting the challenge over. They do give you the option of quitting a challenge at any time and starting it over, thankfully. Some challenges will allow you to add to or take away from the track while others will lock out that option.
Every challenge adds something to the game and requires you to look at things from another direction. More options are opened up to you as you advance through the game, and you will be able to add loops, twists and much more onto your coaster. You can add a few decorations to your park, which gives the riders something to look at as they are veering around on your ride.
You can scan QR codes that will give you access to different coasters to use in the game. QR codes can be found around the internet and will unlock coasters that other people have created. You will be able to use those coasters in sandbox mode. Scanning a QR code is fairly simple and easy. In Sandbox mode chose to load a coaster then click special, scan QR code then load. Your camera will be activated and you will have a field on the screen that shows where you should align the code. Click to scan and you will unlock a new roller coaster for your enjoyment.
One problem with the game is that it has the feeling of almost wanting you to have a physics degree once you get up to the higher-numbered challenges in order to figure out what angle you should insert a loop or twist into your coaster to reach a target, while at the same time it will allow you to potentially kill anyone who would be riding your roller coaster! The game lets you quite literally run the track through the scenery that is in your park. See that big tree over there? In a moment you will be riding through the middle of it, signs, trees or anything that is around the park. It is always possible that I just had a bad camera angle while riding the rides but it was something I noticed more then once.
Sandbox Mode was quite enjoyable. You can ride the coasters you have created or gotten from QR codes as well as a few coasters found within the game. In addition to being able to ride the coasters, you can also play a mini-game called Star Roller. Here you are given the option to import a track or create one. Make your selection and then let the fun begin!
In Star Roller, you will be riding the coaster and playing a mini-game in which you hit stars that are placed alongside of the track as a hand will appear which you control by moving to the left, right or above you to tag stars that are littered around the area where the roller coaster is traveling. In addition to hitting the stars, you will also see arrows that appear from time to time. When these show up, you hit either the left or right trigger, depending on which way the arrow is pointed. With the coaster traveling at a decent speed around the track, you are bound to miss a few stars, which in my case made me want to replay the coaster over and over again to try and get them all. It sounds rather simple all in all, and it is, but it is a fun addition to the game that I for one was very glad they had included.
The 3D part of this game is very much hit and miss, though it mainly misses. When you’re in the sandbox mode playing the Star Roller game, the 3D holds up pretty well. It doesn’t hurt your eyes or get very blurry, which was nice since this was the part of the game that I enjoyed the most. However, throughout the main game (the story) the 3D is not top notch. I often enjoy the 3D feature of the Nintendo 3DS and have a tendency to use it for a while with other games. With this game though, I never could find a setting, even just barely turning it on, where it was not blurry and overall pretty poor.
The rest of the visuals in Coaster Creator 3D are pleasant to look at. While you are riding the coaster, you can choose what speed to view everything in and the game does a great job of allowing you to view the ride from many different angles, even choosing what seat in the coaster that you want to sit in while you’re riding. You can view the decorations throughout the park and, in some cases, you even get to ride straight through the scenery.
For simply creating coasters, without the challenges, and enjoying the Sandbox mode, the game does pretty well. While I personally did not enjoy my time with the career portion of this game very much, I do think that anyone who likes the more technical side of creating coasters or getting through very specific challenges will be able to have fun with the game. Coaster Creator 3D does have a few problems but nothing is what you would call broken or so flawed that you can’t enjoy it. I would liked to have seen a tutorial in the game and a better way to track the targets as I think both things would have made my game experience much more enjoyable. But if this type of game is something that you go for, then you will most likely get your money’s worth. Happy Creating!
NOTE: The QR code included in this review was found here and all credit goes to the creator, which was not me.
The game was provided by the publisher for review purposes and was played on a Nintendo 3DS XL
Big John GamesCoaster Creator 3DGamers DigitalNintendo 3DS