I was recently given the chance to try out one of Microsoft’s upcoming games, Screamride. Screamride will be available on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, however, for the purposes of this preview, I will be talking about the Xbox One version. For those who don’t know you can think of Screamride as the spiritual successor to Rollercoaster Tycoon. Screamride has three different gameplay modes with Demolition Expert, Engineer and Screamrider. Screamride does not feature multiplayer in the traditional sense, however, there are leaderboards where you can compete with your friends. During my short time with the game I was impressed with how well the game was running and how easy the development team was able to combine the three different modes.
With Engineer you are building your own coaster and there is some criteria that you have to meet. You can build your own track and go for a test ride to see if it works. You can “ride” the coaster in either third person or first person view so you can get a sense of how it really is. There is an option for camera control as you are building your coasters with a “snapped” mode where the camera is fixed or you can press in the left analog stick to be able to “free aim” your track creation. As you solve the “puzzles” you can use your imagination to build your ultimate roller coaster. Screamride has hundreds of props, ride pieces and modular scenery to choose from so you should definitely be able to find what you are looking for while building your coaster.
The next mode available to you is Scream Rider. This is where you are riding a coaster and have to prove how good you are at maneuvering. The controls in this mode work like a standard racing game where you have to push “RT” to accelerate and “LT” to brake. You will want to keep an eye on this because it is very possible for your cart to fly off the track if you take a corner to sharply or you run in to an obstacle. One obstacle in particular that I was dealing with during my short time with the game was avoiding something sitting on the track so I had to get my cart up on two wheels at different times, otherwise I would crash and burn. With that said though there are times where you might want your cart to go flying off the rails and into a building so you can see the ensuing destruction and earn a lot of points in the process. In fact there was one instance where I needed to “fly” off the track and try to hit a target that was on a building at the end of a track. Xbox One gamers can also pilot a ride shared by friends over Xbox Live. You can also challenge your friends to race around the coasters as fast as possible to achieve the highest scream rating for your riders.
The third mode available to you is the Demolition Expert. In this mode the objective is causing as much damage as you can. You need to try and rack up as many points as you can by destroying everything you can and igniting explosions that can take down whatever targets are in front of you. During my time playing this mode my character in the game was in this tube that was swinging and you had to aim and release it at just the right time so it could be flung in the air and hit its intended target. You can even slow down time a bit and cause the tube to swing slower if you want to try and be more accurate with your shot but that might not always work as the targets you need to hit might not always be stationary. There was a blimp, for example, for me to take out that was flying through the skies in addition to the targets on the ground that don’t move such as buildings or other pieces of the environment.
Xbox Live is also going to be a big part of Screamride as Xbox One gamers can build and share the most extreme rides and missions with their friends. You’ll potentially discover new things by accessing your friend’s creations and be able to challenge them to set a scream rating as well as destruction records on global leaderboards.
I didn’t have all that long to play this game but I did enjoy my time with it. The three different modes seem to be a lot of fun and this is definitely something different for the Xbox One. It was a breath of fresh air and the type of game I haven’t played in quite a long time. I’m hoping that once I sit down with the finished product and can spend some serious time with the game that everything comes together nicely and we have a great roller coaster game for Xbox. If my time during this event is any indication then people should like what they see when they pick up this game in March.