/ Reviews / Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Complete edition (Nintendo Switch)

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 I played it completely flat when the game came out, but the game has had its most eventful years after the high point was long and wide over. Developer Frontier and publisher Atari were bummed about unpaid royalties, with the result that the game was temporarily unavailable on Steam. Now that the legal battle is over, it is time for a trip to the past: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 not only back on PC, but it has also been ported to the Nintendo Switch.

Of Complete Edition as expected contains the main game of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, including the extensions Soaked! in Wild!. And that is great value for money for two decades, with many attractions, a sandbox mode and three campaigns that will keep you busy for a while. The game also has a number of advantages over the current generation of coaster sims (Planet Coaster, Parkitect): currently you cannot build swimming pools there yet and Planet Zoo is a separate game, although the animals are in Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 not always have that depth. But Soaked! is in any case the extension where it can be achieved: I had almost forgotten how much fun (and how much I miss it) building swimming pools in my amusement parks.

Builder sims aren’t terribly popular for the Switch, due to the precision and speed you can achieve with a mouse on the PC. But I have to say that RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 lends itself perfectly to Nintendo’s console. The biggest advantage is that Rollercoaster Tycoon still works with a grid to build and not with snapping tools as is common in sims today: this makes it easier to place paths and attractions where you want them. The pace is a lot slower than when you build on PC, but certainly with the sandbox and no time limit on the goals during the scenarios. Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 ideal for playing lazily on the couch.

The controls are also surprisingly well developed: most of the options are housed in two circle menus, which you bring forward with the left and right bumpers of the Switch. I had to get used to it, but after half an hour of playing I already got the hang of it and I could switch effortlessly between menus. Controlling the camera is done with the two joysticks on the joycons and anyone who has played a console game will have no problem with it.

It would have been nicer if you did not have to constantly hold the bumper when navigating in menus, and how you reach some options is also not entirely clear. For example, how to get to the UI at the top was not explained in the tutorial, and it took me some research to figure out how to change the day and night cycle. But those downsides aside, it’s surprising how much complexity of control was almost effortless to achieve with so few resources.


Despite the game being 16 (!) Years old, it all still looks very acceptable. What helps the most with that is the art style: it’s not incredibly detailed, but the colorful environments and the over-the-top facial expressions of your guests make the game feel cartoonish but also timeless. Especially players from Planet Coaster will feel at home with Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, as both games run on the Cobra engine. In terms of performance, the port runs like a charm, and is Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 also play well when your park is a bit on the larger side. There are a number of flickers on the screen that I can remember that were already in the original, such as with water and walls of buildings, but they are hardly noticeable unless you are really actively engaged in active building.

What is striking is that there is no possibility for your own music and images on billboards. Despite the generality, the images are okay, and the soundtrack is also fine (when you zoom out, Summer Air will generate the necessary nostalgia in players), but it still remains a lack. This is where the limitations of the Switch come to light because it is almost impossible with the console to import your own images and music. Obviously, custom scenery made by the community is also not included with the Switch, to which I had a lot of useful scenery and attractions to thank when I still played the game on PC.

Despite its age Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 has stood the test of time and the Complete Edition feels like a good finale for a game that has already been through so many bumps. It doesn’t have the build options, customization options, and graphical splendor of it Planet Coaster, but feels on the Switch Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 as a 3D version of Parkitect. Although not the role the game had in 2004, it still feels like a natural fit for the Switch. For those who want to go on a nostalgia trip or are such a coaster sim crazy that they want to play everywhere is Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition well worth a visit.

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