PS5 Review: Planet Coaster: Console Edition

Could a decent console version of a theme park simulator finally be a reality?

Welcome to a new era in Coaster park simulation! Bring your ideas to life with easy-to-use tools, manage all aspects of your expanding empire, and harness the world’s best creations from an endlessly creative community in the frontier Workshop.

I remember playing the original Theme Park game for the Sega Mega Drive and thinking it was the best, reflecting upon it now I can see that the console versions for that game had a lot of control/interface issues and while others have attempted to beat it such as the Rollercoaster Tycoon series, none has come quite close in my view to what impact Theme Park had back in the day. It also doesn’t help that the console versions of later theme park sims haven’t been all that great due to poor integration from their PC counterparts. I didn’t play the PC version of Planet Coaster, but I’ve heard nothing but good things…can this version finally deliver a true theme park simulator experience on a console?

The game is a marvel, explaining the many steps in running a theme park through superb tutorials that also have an amusing voice-cast to guide you through everything from raising ticket prices to building your first rollercoaster. I’ve sometimes felt out of my depth with simulation games, but Planet Coaster does an amazing job in holding your hand till you get the gist of everything and then let’s you get on with it. The console controls are simple and intuitive, making the game so more accessible than other simulation games I’ve played on consoles.

There’s so much charm to be found in Planet Coaster and the level of customisation you can accomplish is really impressive. The PS5 version has very short load times, runs at a solid framerate and I even detected some ray tracing that shows off superb reflections in the water. The game itself has a cartoony look to it, characters included, and it all fits well within the theme of the game.

Frontier Developments have really outdone themselves with this console version and have actually taken the time to make sure everything works, instead of just being a straight port with minimal effort. The console controls and interface work perfectly and you can see real effort has been made here. I’ve played so many simulation games on consoles that just haven’t really bothered to do this, so it’s an amazing change of pace to see a developer make that extra step.

The Verdict

Planet Coaster: Console Edition is the best Theme Park simulator I have ever played, console or otherwise. It teaches you the basics and lets you create some amazing attractions while creating and placing decorations to keep your visitors pleased while queuing for rides. The PS5 adds some great visual and performance enhancements too, making it also not the best Theme Park sim, but also the best looking sim.

Score: 9.0