Frontier’s Planet Coaster is the modern iteration of Roller Coaster Tycoon – its slick graphics and attention to detail have made it a firm favorite for fans of the management sim genre, but how does it stack up on console?
Now available on both the 8th and 9th generation consoles, the game actually performs pretty well. You’d like to think so, seeing as Frontier have had the last four years to perfect the game for your controller.
If you’ve never encountered the game before, you’re in for a treat. Planet Coaster is a full-on time sink. The attention to detail and the effort you can put into your park is second to none. Detailing every single part of your park, right down to the decorations on a toilet block, is the highlight of the game.
That being said, the game is also management heavy. Pretty much every aspect of your park can be managed, from entrance fees to staff wages. Each ride can be micro-managed including ticket prices and the color of the seats.
This makes Planet Coaster one of the more menu-heavy games in a genre that is well-known for its menus. How does this work on a console? Surprisingly well.
Menu navigation is done using the bumpers on your controller, with the D-pad coming in handy for sorting through the many different options and tabs. It takes a minute or two to get used to, but is simple enough to pick up. Frontier have done well with this console port.
There’s no doubt that building and customization is harder using a controller, and the pretty much bare player Workshop – where people can upload buildings to share with the community – is a testament to that.
In terms of performance Planet Coaster runs pretty smoothly, although I did play the game on the new Xbox Series S so that should be expected of this powerful piece of kit. Reports are in that the game also runs smoothly on the One X.
There are a few clipping bits of landscape and a couple of stutters when zooming over a very large park, but overall the performance is just what you need for this scale of management sim.
Planet Coaster works better than expected on console thanks to Frontier’s efforts to make the game controller-friendly and optimized for console specs. If you haven’t got a PC and have had your eye on this game, you can rest assured that it works just fine on console, even without a mouse and keyboard.