It’s odd to think menu music makes an impact on a game, but Planet Coaster’s mellow guitar strings and exited kid’s choir feels right. Planet Coaster is a simulation about happy places, and that catchy, hummable tune sticks in the brain even when amid the ambient shrieks, cheers, and mechanical whirring inside the parks.
Tone matters, even when selling $8 knock-off Pepsi or jacking the price on a green balloon because you know a six-year-old is going to demand THAT color over the cheaper blue one. Where Roller Coaster Tycoon died, Planet Coaster lives, less a tribute than evolution. Fancy, colorful, well lit, beautiful, charming – pick any or all; doesn’t matter. Planet Coaster succeeds at each, maybe less about simulating theme park ownership or coaster building than it is knowing where and when to fleece eager patrons. The options never cease, but neither do the creative choices. As a package, the allure never dies, same as it didn’t for the ever replayable SimCity. Done right, the genre always challenges, sparks imagination, and presents infinite strategies.
Feel bad soaking someone for a $10 pizza slice, but know the profits go toward the next ride, and another family having a blast.