You control the fate of rollercoaster thrill-seekers in this Digital Chocolate instant classic...
Rollercoaster Rush reminds me a lot of Digital Chocolate's much-loved Tower Bloxx - the game is super-easy for gamers of all experience levels to get into, fun for both long and short gaming sessions, and has a well-defined sense of style that gives the whole package a lot of charm.
The premise has gamers acting as a rollercoaster breakman. It's your job to keep coaster-riding thrill-seekers as happy as possible through the game's many rollercoaster tracks, without actually putting them in danger. The 4 key acts a break, and the 6 key accelerates.
Just as Tower Bloxx had you "building" office towers by literally stacking one floor on top of the other, Rollercoaster Rush takes a pretty liberal view of just how rollercoasters operate, but that's what makes the game so damn fun. You'll send your passengers careening across gaps as their coaster becomes airborne for entire seconds at a time. You'll send them into freefall, just barely tapping the break enough to keep them from flipping upside-down and crashing.
Once you wrap your head around the game's premise and controls, it quickly becomes a game of pushing things as close to the limit as you can, without actually crossing it. If you use the break too often you'll never get any air, your passengers will be bored, and you'll never score any points. Go over a hill too quickly and you'll crash, and have to retry. After a while I developed a knack that allowed me to fly through the tracks as quickly as possible, almost crashing at least a dozen times, but always just barely remaining in control. Rollercoaster Rush is a perfect example of a simplistic game concept that appeals beyond the age, gender, and videogame experience lines. It's extremely addicting.
The sound and graphics have been given the same level of polish as the gameplay. Digital Chocolate's games almost all feature stylized, 2D pixel art, and Rollercoaster Rush is no exception. I'm not opposed to mobile 3D titles, or digitized 2D art, but given the capabilities of today's handsets, products like this or Super KO Boxing from Glu are just much easier on the eyes. The music is also among the best I've heard yet in a mobile game. The menu theme is soothing and keeps me playing after an especially frustrating crash, and I've been humming the song from the Paris coasters for days.
The game's later levels increase the difficulty by giving tracks more extreme drops, loops, and jumps, but it can sometimes seem more cheap than genuinely difficult. You can't see much of the track ahead of you, so it sometimes takes repeated attempts to learn which drops you can take quickly, and which require heavy breaks. A map that showed an entire course would have been one way to keep the late-game experience focused on skill, instead of track memorization. I also wish high scores for individual tracks could be saved and viewed, instead of just your overall career high score.
Small complaints considered, Rollercoaster Rush seems destined to become another big hit for Digital Chocolate. I'm not sure I've ever played a mobile game that's better suited to be enjoyed during brief moments downtime, multiple times throughout the day. Be warned, however. You might intend on just playing one track, but before you know it, another half-hour will have melted away again. It has happened to me, more than once.
Mobile phones need more games like Rollercoaster Rush. The game defies genre boundaries and target demographics putting the focus purely on FUN. Add it to your library.
What's Hot: Great music. Simple concept awesomely well-executed.
What's Not: Later tracks heavy on memorization. Weak high-score system.