In the sci-fi future depicted in ScreamRide, there are scientists designing a screaming roller coaster and launching human-inhabited capsules at towering buildings full of explosives. The purpose of these enlightened minds is to unleash the adrenaline of passengers in a future where extreme fun has become a real science. In the Frontier Development title, coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One, we are lucky enough to be the ones who wear the lab coat and not the ones destined to act as guinea pigs.
In the world of ScreamRide, extreme fun is a science in which to invest huge resources
The science of extreme fun
The main mode of ScreamRide can be described as a racing on rails, those of a futuristic roller coaster, in which the important thing is not to overcome any opponent but to reach extreme speeds and without derailing. To do this it is necessary to alternate the use of the brake with that of the turbo, a resource that can be accumulated by pressing the X key in correspondence with special blue tracks. The green tracks, on the other hand, indicate the jumps that often have to be faced at a specific speed to prevent our trolley from crashing into obstacles of various kinds. Finally, other obstacles and broken tracks can be overcome by tilting the vehicle on two wheels but to be able to do this you need an adequate speed and it is not always easy to maintain it when facing tight curves and having to press the X key at the right time to get the best bonus from the quick time event tests. And this is the most effective synthesis for the gameplay of the most agitated ScreamRide mode that challenges us to obtain the best score, measured in the screams of the passengers, in a continuous alternation of braking, acceleration and obstacles.
Clearly the difficulty grows with increasing speed, tight corners and loops during which we have to keep pressing X at the right moment, perhaps poised on two wheels. And if there is an intention to reach the highest scores, things can get decidedly hard by touching the dark black hole of frustration several times. But it is good that the maximum scores require a lot of effort given the simplicity of the mechanics that would risk getting tired soon once you have experienced all the situations and in any case giving yourself to the extreme challenge is not mandatory. In ScreamRide there is no level that is impossible to overcome once you have learned the tracks which, incidentally, are not extremely long and are resolved in a few laps. This creates some longevity problems but to compensate we find two other modes characterized by a completely different gameplay. In the engineer mode the player's goal is to complete some incomplete tracks trying to reach different types of objectives. But the most important phase is that of the final test which again asks us to achieve record times and not to massacre the passengers. However this time we drive the trolley which proceeds on its own and runs more or less fast depending on the slopes and the type of tracks we have deployed along the track. The challenge, in essence, is purely engineering and is characterized by a rather low level of difficulty and by decidedly slow rhythms even if the final test gives us flashes of adrenaline with the passengers who can be thrown out of their trolley in too extreme passages. Also in this mode we encounter the editor interface for the first time and it is an element that pleasantly surprised us. The essential commands are always displayed on the screen and the automatic approximations, as in the case of the junction between two sections of the path, allow us to work in an agile and intuitive way in the name of creativity. Quite the opposite of the third mode which instead is all focused on the destructive dimension and, among other things, has nothing to do with roller coasters. The challenge in this case is of a ballistic type and the player's aim is to launch different types of capsules against buildings of various kinds to make them collapse. As we overcome the levels we are faced with obstacles of various kinds, indestructible, which force us to perform extreme deep-sea diving and spin shots. To succeed in these feats we must choose the right capsule among those available, select the appropriate power in relation to the distance of the target, press at the right moment while the slingshot spins furiously and make the most of the small thrusters that guarantee us relative control of the capsule. in the flight phase. The aim is to hit nerve centers and explosive bins, the most effective of which are often hidden by indestructible structures, to trigger chain reactions and devastate the map with as few capsules as possible. And that's not just to brag to friends but because every capsule you store grants you an additional Angry Birds-style point bonus.
Xbox One achievements
About half of the thousand points in ScreamRide are earned by accumulating scores and completing the campaign. But only by completing the latter at 100%, which is not particularly simple, it is possible to obtain a greedy reward of one hundred additional points. The other skill objectives are much less generous but are also easier to achieve and you are likely to unlock them by trying to complete the increasingly extreme missions that are scattered throughout the fifty levels of career mode.
Rich but without too many pretensions
Three different modes are tempting and fifty levels can be a good challenge for those who intend to reach record scores. The controls respond well to solicitations, they are studied with care and in the main mode, the one that sees us driving a futuristic trolley on a roller coaster, they allow us to test our skills always remaining on the line between record and failure. But the scoring race only makes sense in this mode which is the only one that really requires skill and commitment. The other two require more than anything else a bit of patience and offer a rather low degree of challenge. Furthermore, to overcome an area and visit the next setting it is not even necessary to try all three modes but it is enough to face the levels of a single discipline. This means that the player can choose to play only the mode they prefer and it is not necessarily a bad thing, but such an approach can have negative effects on the longevity of the title.
Thankfully, the scoring challenge isn't the only way Frontier Developments has tried to increase the duration of ScreamRide. From the game menu, in fact, it is possible to access the sandbox mode that allows us to freely build levels with the only constraint of having to complete the career to have all the pieces necessary to build the most complex roller coaster possible. The interface, as we have already said, is intuitive and the sharing of your creations passes through a special hub that can be reached directly from the game menu. It will not therefore take long to see the game's offer enriched and it is likely that from the editor's forges will come levels capable of showing us possibilities that even the developers have not thought of. But even if the quantity of content is not a problem, the intrinsic limits of a title of this type remain to be considered. As wide as they are, the creative possibilities are tied to a rather simple gameplay and are certainly not limitless. Also missing is the multiplayer that even only in cooperative form, perhaps inserted in the editing component, would have given an extra gear to ScreamRide. Basically, without wanting to give this consideration particularly negative meanings, we can say that the offer is very close to that of a mobile title. An offer that is all in all rich but with simple bases and not excessive claims that also characterize a technical sector whose greatest flaw is that of being content with painting a generic future in equally generic locations on our planet. Unfortunately, there is no recognizable style and this lack extends to a rather anonymous sound sector. The models, however, are not too bad and the buildings are well designed even if the lack of details, both technical and artistic, is felt. But the relative poverty of the technical sector, perhaps also due to the cross-gen nature of the title, is offset by several positive factors. During the construction phase, in Sandbox or Engineer modes, the boundary elements change dynamically as the tracks rise to the sky and when something falls into the water it deforms. The levels also include even unsuspecting pedestrians ready to escape in case of disasters and the collapse of the structures shows us quite credible physics. The buildings, this must be said, crumble into cubes that are not particularly realistic but it is a minor defect balanced by spectacular chain explosions and by a contour made of multiple shots, slow motion, replays and skits that, although lacking in bite, contribute to making the title pleasing to the senses.
CommentTested version Xbox One Digital Delivery Xbox Store Price 39,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Three different modes and an intuitive editor represent an excellent business card for a title that can give more than a satisfaction to those looking for scores to beat. The extreme simplicity of the gameplay affects the potential of the editor and the demolition mode has very little depth but there is nothing wrong with not being too pretentious. The only problem, therefore, may be represented by the price that for someone could be disproportionate to the type of offer.
- Instant and fun gameplay
- Versatile and complex editor
- Three different modes
- The gameplay lacks depth
- Uninspired artistic sector