RollerCoaster Tycoon fans have had a bit of a bumpy ride on mobile: when RCT4 Mobile launched, its premium price paired with lengthy timers and in-app purchases left players feeling like they’d been brought to the top of a coaster hill and then asked to pay for the ride down. But then, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 showed up on the App Store, surprising many of us with the full version of the beloved PC sim and an expertly crafted mobile interface. Soon after, RCT4 Mobile dropped its premium price tag, going fully free-to-play—a small acknowledgement of fans’ complaints and a step in the right direction. The franchise has been climbing back up since that disappointing launch, and it’s looking to continue this upward trend with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch.
Unlike RCT4, RCT Touch will be free-to-play from the start and will include a card pack mechanic for unlocking new rides and features. You’ll still get new items for completing goals and leveling up, but card packs will provide another way for players to earn new attractions even if they just log in daily. When you collect duplicates of a card, you can upgrade that item to improve its performance and the maximum number you can place in your park. For instance, with the level one Merry-Go-Round card, we could only have one Merry-Go-Round in our park, but at level two we could add another.
RCT Touch has also moved the mobile series to 3D, doing away with the fixed isometric perspective for a fully rotatable camera that lets you zoom in at any angle. As a player who grew up with the 2D style of the original PC games, this new look will take a little getting used to, but I’ll admit it’s probably a better fit for the hands-on needs of mobile.
Atari has also made building coasters more touch-friendly by changing the button-based inputs of RCT4 to a tap-and-drag model for RCT Touch. You can simply draw your finger around the map to place track, and select incline mode to drag in the direction you want the track to tilt. Building hills is as simple as pulling up or down on a track, and changes can be made to any already-laid track with a single tap. This seems like it will be a much more mobile-appropriate way of building coasters, although we still wish we could ride our creations in first-person like we can in RCT3.
Hopefully that’s part of one of the many future updates Atari has already promised even before the game’s official release, adding to the 100+ items they’ll be launching with. RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is currently soft-launched in the Netherlands and New Zealand for “a limited time,” with a worldwide release undated but reportedly coming soon.