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Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Frontier Developments
Release Date: March 3, 2015 (US), March 6, 2015 (EU)


XOne/X360 Preview - 'ScreamRide'

by Adam Pavlacka on Feb. 9, 2015 @ 12:15 a.m. PST

ScreamRide is a roller-coaster sim that fuses creation, destruction and addictive action into an exhilarating reinvention of the sandbox-creation genre.

Riding a roller coaster is fun, but what if you could build your own? And what if it had explosions galore? That's the basic premise behind ScreamRide, coming to both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One from Frontier Developments.

According to the developers behind the game, "Fans want to build it, ride it and blow it up." As a result, the team focused on three pillars of gameplay when working on ScreamRide: create, ride and destroy.

These three pillars are seen across the 58 different levels in career mode. The first set of goals falls under the Screamrider heading, where the goal is to ride through a roller coaster as fast as humanly possible, without flying off the side. You can ride on two wheels as you take a corner, earn turbo by getting your timing right and then fire off the boost when you need it most. Survive to the end of the level, and your coaster will likely launch off the end of the track into a building. At this point, aftertouch kicks in (think Burnout) and you can position your coaster for maximum damage.

The second set of goals is more focused on blowing things up and falls under the heading of Demolition Expert. Here, you simply need to cause mass destruction. On the upside, you don't need a coaster to do it. In one of the levels I played, there was a large catapult that launched a globe across the screen. The challenge was to get the direction and power correct to set off chain reactions that would level all the buildings.

To be fair, Demolition Expert wasn't all explosions, as there were some bonus goals. The producer who was showing us the game highlighted this fact by taking out a circling blimp.

The final set of levels in career mode falls under the Engineer heading. These are set up as puzzle-like challenges. You are given a partially completed track and a certain amount of pieces to use. To win, you must finish the track and complete the objective for the level, but you're restricted to using the tools you are given. Early levels are pretty straightforward, but the later ones are supposed to be decent brain teasers.

Although they are designed as puzzles first, the Engineer levels also serve double duty as an introduction to the sandbox, where you can create pretty much anything you like, since all of the tools that were available to the development team are available to you in-game. The only practical difference is that you're designing levels on a console, while the development team crafted them on a PC.

Levels can be designed with each of the three gameplay types in mind. More importantly, any levels that you create can be shared with other players, so long as you are on the Xbox One version of the game. This means that if ScreamRide sells well, there is the possibility of quite a bit of user-generated content. Sadly, the Xbox 360 iteration does not offer the ability to share your creations or download the creations of others.

The concept may seem simple, but the open-ended nature of ScreamRide likely means that it can be one of those games that sucks up hours of your time, just to get that perfect run. Much like Trials, this isn't going to be a game to "beat," but rather one in which you're always going for a better score.

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