Developed by Frontier Developments and published by Microsoft Studios, Screamride is a construction simulator and puzzle game fully focused on one resounding theme, screams! and when you’re done why not strap yourself in for some more screams!. Frontier Developments know a thing or two about adrenaline pumping games of course after the release of Thrillville and Rollercoaster Tycoon, Screamride follows a very similar formula and it’s something that works very well for them.
Screamride is split into three different categories, Screamrider, Demolition Expert and Engineer, each category very different from the last. The game is spread across six series with the environment forever changing.
There is a turbo meter which are the blue sections of the track, these are short mini games that are activated by pressing the X button as the blue track runs out, achieving a perfect rating during this short mini game will begin to fill up your turbo meter, with the A button you can use the turbo as and when you feel you need it, there is a downside to using the turbo because it can increase your chances of a derailment, though watching the real life test dummies fly through the air in comedic style might make a derailment worth it. As you move along the track you will come across certain obstacles such as a one bar rail which leaves you on two wheels for a short period of time, balance when passing through it is pivotal. Further along the levels you will encounter jumps which like the blue sections of the track are a timed event which can help fill up your turbo meter. Finally there are blocks on the track which must be avoided at all costs if you wish to remain on the track with passengers firmly locked into their seats, these can be avoided again by leaning the cart left and right accordingly.
Overall Screamrider is a very fun part of the game,some of the requirements for levelling up can be slightly frustrating at times but that shouldn’t override the sheer fun of flying round a roller coaster at breakneck speed and the neverending loops are amazing to experience.
Next up is Demolition Expert. Unlike Screamrider there is no track to whiz around, instead the track is replaced with Cabins that are launched through the air with one sole purpose, utter destruction. Buildings are set up around each level and series for the player to smash through and bring down.
There are five different Cabins to launch and they each serve to do different kinds of damage. You have your basic ball shaped Cabins, some having the ability to bounce when hitting the floor, then you have the long bomb shaped Cabins that can detach from themselves and explode to achieve maximum destruction and finally you have a wing activated Cabin that allows you to glide the Cabin through the air with ease before damaging whatever it strikes. Each Cabin is launched with a winding mechanism and you can increase or decrease the speed depending on how fast you wish to launch your human filled wrecking ball. Timing here is key to being able to inflict as much damage as possible. Buildings are lined with explosive barrels and there are a variety of different ways to cause carnage when launching a Cabin. The whole idea of Demolition Expert is to destroy as much of the landscape as humanly possible and get the highest rating possible with objects such as trampolines and rings to fly through to gain extra points.
Demolition Expert packs quite a punch and is a very welcome addition to Screamride. As you progress through the levels the game gets more daunting and harder to achieve total destruction but it’s a great challenge to have and at the end of the day, who doesn’t get a kick out of mindlessly blowing up buildings and watching them crumble down into a pile of rubble with zero threat of a criminal record.
Last up on the hitlist is Engineer which is a mixture of Screamrider and Demolition Expert with you as the architect. The main objective across the levels is to complete various objectives set in the game and these can range from simply completing a track to making sure it travels a certain distance, this was my least favourite part of the game because the mechanics can be a little tricky to understand and sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where you need to lay track and what sort of track would make the course better, it can be a little time consuming. You also have Demolition based objectives where you need to set a track purposely to launch a cart into buildings causing as much damage as possible. Engineer is a straight up blend of the first two themes but you get to watch as the cart flies around the track and you are fully responsible for making sure it makes it’s destination unharmed and hopefully with all passengers on board.
In the end, Engineer is the least likely to be a hit because of the tough objectives laid in front of you, it can however be mastered with time put in and some basic understanding of what goes where. The fun part of Engineer mode is being able to learn about the different track parts but there is a better place if you wish to create your own ride and that can be found in the main menu.
Sandbox Mode is a great addition to Screamride, allowing you to design your own roller coaster with all the shackles of Engineer removed, you can be as creative as you like and design the ultimate ride or demolition course. You have complete control over everything including the landscape so feel free to sculpt the course any way you like with buildings and scenery to choose from the world is quite literally your oyster. If you manage to create a masterpiece you have the ability to show it off to the world using the share option, there is also an added option to share blueprints which is a great feature. Friends can download your personal Screamride and take a look themselves and you in turn can download theirs and try out their designs.You can also add challenges to your design so people can attempt to match all of your set requirements All in all Sandbox is a stand out feature and makes Screamride an even better gaming experience.
Overall Screamride has a lot of very fun features, the game is very appealing in particular areas and for players just looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush, it’s a perfect game. Each of the three main game modes available all have something very different to offer and can give you plenty to do. Although challenging and at times a little frustrating, with plenty of practice Screamride is a very enjoyable gaming experience and is definitely something I would recommend.
There are certain aspects of the game that disappoint like the soundtrack, which could have been slightly better thought out then the continued dubstep that features in almost every single level, these little things can put you off of a game. Maybe a music track selector with different genres would have suited the game better. The other worry for me is that the game can be a little repetitive and the buildings and landscape not very appealing, the buildings around each level look very basic and not something anyone would live in. The Sandbox Mode is a real stand out for me and the ability to live the dream of creating the perfect roller coaster is something I believe would appeal to most gamers. Screamride packs plenty of ups, downs and inside outs with great explosions. It’s a game worth checking out, if you can handle the pace.