Remember Theme Park on iOS? The game was EA's attempt to cash in on the popular amusement park simulation franchise by pricing things incredibly too high, while also limiting most of your freedom in ride placement. The game was disappointing for many, who expected the classic series to be treated better, but there looks like there might be some light left in the genre after all. This comes from 6waves Lolapps, which has published Rollercoaster Mania on Facebook.
While the game may not be available for mobile as of this writing, developer Noisy Duck's take on the genre is incredibly reminiscent of classic Theme Park installments, right down to the camera angle. You'll have a small plot of land on which to build rides, food stalls and decorations. Many of these items are available to place right out of the gate (others are unlocked as you level up), and while many start working (and therefore earning money) immediately after they're built, some do require you to collect staff members to run them (ie: ask friends to help) while others ask you to collect building materials (also from friends).
While rides will operate consistently after they're placed, stalls require you to come back every now and again to restock their goods. This adds a "click and wait" element to the game, as you can choose from different time limits and different rewards, based on how long you'd like your stalls to remain active with no further interaction from you. The park itself functions in the same way, only being open to the public for varying lengths of time. The longer you set the park to run however, the less profits you'll make in the long run, which offers major incentive to come back quickly and check on things.
Adding to the experience, you can hire entertainers to keep your guests happy and staff to clean up debris. As you purchase additional land space for your park, the placement of these workers becomes critical, as you'll want cleaners stationed next to the most intense rides, in case someone feels a bit woozy after leaving.
There are quests to complete in Rollercoaster Mania, with many asking you to simply build a specific kind of ride or decoration in your park. You can also visit your friends' parks to help them out, earning coins or other prizes for yourself along the way. The game's achievement system is set to reward players that stick around for the long term, and the ratings menu gives you an overview of your park at all times, allowing you to instantly change something that needs improvement (that is, if your guests are hungry, your Facilities rating might be quite low, indicating such).
Interestingly, there aren't any sound effects in this new Facebook game, although the game does have a mute toggle in the menu. With the game being so new, it's likely that the sound effects (and presumed music) simply haven't been programmed in yet, since the toggle doesn't actually function. Still, this is one of those games that would greatly benefit from some upbeat music and excited chatter of virtual park guests, so I do miss it.
Either way, Rollercoaster Mania on Facebook is a prime example of how a free-to-play, social theme park simulation should play. The game offers you the freedom to place rides and paths exactly where you'd like them to sit, customize your park with trees and other natural elements, and even promises the eventual ability of being able to build our own rides with custom tracks in the future. This is everything Theme Park on iOS should have been; it's only disappointing that we can't take the game with us wherever we go.
Click here to play Rollercoaster Mania on Facebook --->
Have you tried Rollercoaster Mania on Facebook? Do you think this is "Theme Park done right?" Sound off in the comments.