As CoasterVille general manager Amir Rahimi shows us the ropes of building roller coasters for the lively, adorable park goers, he tells us that CoasterVille has been an idea since Zynga Los Angeles (his stomping grounds) launched Empires & Allies hit Facebook over a year ago. Frankly, if you've ever played Roller Coaster Tycoon, you'll feel right at home in CoasterVille. Maybe it's too familiar at times, with an intuitive coaster-building system and customers that react directly to your park designs.
That last bit might be a first for Zynga's management simulators (i.e. CityVille). But of course, Rahimi gladly reveals what differentiates CoasterVille from its inspirations, namely its social features. This theme park-builder has a heavy focus on themes. At launch, there will be three different amusement park themes to choose from and build out to gain more bonuses: Fantasy Kingdom, Frontier and Lost Jungle.
It's a smart move for players to focus on one theme at a time in order to unlock that theme's landmark as quickly as possible, which provides huge bonuses. This is where your friends come in. Say you've mastered the Frontier theme in your amusement park, and you're just starting the Lost Jungle theme. But Johnny B. Good on your Friend Bar has already completed that theme. You can easily visit him, tend to his Lost Jungle section and keep it profitable for him while gathering some vital parts to help push your own Lost Jungle theme along.
But perhaps the most interesting social feature in CoasterVille is one that is still in the cooker. After showing us the mildly sadistic Boost Mode (more on that later), Rahimi sounds psyched to show off this feature in progress: Mascots. Every theme park has mascots, and CoasterVille is no different. Players can choose from a kooky cast of anthropomorphic animals that will not only stir up excitement around their theme parks, but visit their friends' parks to generate additional, more widespread fame.
Rahimi teases that Mascots will also provide a way of introducing players to new friends. An organic way of meeting new people through play finally sounds like we're headed toward fulfilling the "social" in social games. What Zynga game veterans will also be impressed by is the organic push and pull between park design and park visitors. Nothing explains this better than Boost Mode, a feature that allows players to speed up rides, attracting more thrill seekers.
However, using Boost Mode too many times in quick succession can cause a ride to break down and park goers to lose their lunch. Immediately after vomiting, though, visitors become hungry again and head to the nearest vendor. Rahimi shares a neat trick with us while showing off the feature: Place restaurants directly near a ride, boost it until customers vomit and rake triple the profits. Sadistic and gross perhaps, but smart, damn smart.
CoasterVille looks all too familiar to some who has spent hundreds of hours becoming a roller coaster tycoon, but looks to set itself apart both in social features and bullet points like Boost Mode. To that end (and though its lively, reactive characters), CoasterVille is already way ahead of most property management games on Facebook. Plus, this is the first Zynga game in which you can directly drive people to vomiting, so there's that.
CoasterVille launches later today on Facebook and will soon hit Zynga.com in 12 languages.
Click here to play CoasterVille on Facebook Now >
Are you psyched about CoasterVille? How will this game do when stacked up against FarmVille 2 and the like? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.