Nintendo Switch Review: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition

The ultimate Theme Park simulator?

Build the park of a lifetime and rediscover the critically acclaimed rollercoaster simulation bestseller. Brought to life in this new Complete Edition, relive the full RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 experience or dive in for the first time and feel the thrill of a genre-defining classic, complete with both Soaked! and Wild! expansion packs. Your Park. Your Way. Whatever you want to create, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 gives you the tools and freedom to build the amusement park of your dreams. Manage like a tycoon and make your way to the top.

The original Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 came out all the way in 2004 for the PC, so it was a bit of a surprise to see that it was getting a Switch version in 2020 complete with the Soaked and Wild expansion packs. Games designed for PC usually don’t transition that well to consoles due to them having far fewer buttons to work with, usually resulting in a complicated control scheme that is either frustrating or in some cases, almost unplayable. But what category does the Switch port fall into?

First of all, the game will look basic to many as it hasn’t exactly been given a new lick of paint, so it looks like the original PC game which even looked fairly dated back in 2004. But visuals aren’t everything, the simulation experience itself is where sim fans strive for and RT3C has this in spades. You can control everything from the rides and food stalls, while also building your very own rollercoaster track from scratch and even add specific music to your rides, as well as many other customisation options and the ability to test out your rides in first-person so you can experience them like your visitors would.

Unfortunately, the tutorials of RT3C are far from the best and haven’t really been altered for the console version, so working out how to use the controller instead of a mouse and keyboard isn’t explained anywhere near as much as you would hope. The tutorial also only explains the very, very basics before throwing you to the wolves, so you’ll have no idea how to build the rollercoaster or how to do anything substantial without either looking it up online or constantly trying and hoping it works out.

It’s a shame as there are some great tools here, but they clearly aren’t optimised for any console and it makes it all the more baffling as to why it even ended up here. It wouldn’t have taken much to add a few more tutorials for Switch players and it feels like they’ve been given the raw end of the deal compared to PC players. It’s even more frustrating when you know there are other theme park sims out there that are more optimised for controllers as opposed to keyboard and mouse.

The Verdict

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition might seem a steal for £20 when it comes with two expansions and in many ways, you’d be right. But its poorly optimised for the Switch and hasn’t really gotten any visual or performance enhancement from the original 2004 game either. There is a decent sim in here but you need to overlook quite a lot to get the most out of it.

Score: 6.5