RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ by Atari icon

I remember owning some of the older versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon on the desktop back when the disks came in cereal boxes, and I could play them for hours. A lot of things aren't the same in RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile by Atari, so you'll probably hate it— even I did at first — but the more you play it, the more you'll realize that, with the classic RCT set aside, the new mobile version is still great.

RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ by Atari screenshot

The reason why you'll probably hate it? It's essentially a mix of FarmVille and RollerCoaster Tycoon, and there's good and bad that comes with that. First, rides take time to be built, which makes more sense, but you also have to manually collect money from attractions. Rides are also free to go on, meaning that only businesses and park entrances will generate money. See how different it's getting already?

Also, the main reason why any hardcore RCT player will probably dislike RCT 4 Mobile is that it essentially takes away all of the challenge that comes with the desktop version, like deciding how to price everything, building rides based on physics, and paying attention to the tiny details like construction of paths and hiring workers. In RCT 4 Mobile, prices are set, physics don't matter, and there are no workers in the park. It seems as if all of the hard work has been taken away.

In my park there are no paths, but people can still get to my rides. I have roller coasters with loop-the-loops at the top of lift hills and inclines without lift chains, but the trains still make it around.

But why all of this nonsense? We have to remember that, by bringing RollerCoaster Tycoon to iOS, Atari realized that a lot more children would be playing the game than is normal for the desktop version. They also had to make a simpler touch-friendly version, and in doing that, Atari has done a fabulous job.

All of you serious RCT players might want to stay away from this one, but for those looking for a casual thrill, RCT 4 Mobile fills the void. The in-app purchases are not a nightmare as originally expected, consisting of coins and tickets as currencies and making them both extremely easy to attain in the game by bringing in revenue and achieving goals. It's definitely fair. I've played it for about five hours before this writing without any temptation to splurge on in-app purchases for more funds, and especially since they are a rip-off, I don't plan on it either.

RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ by Atari screenshot

Although it's not the advanced RollerCoaster Tycoon that we've grown to love over the years, RCT 4 Mobile is still a great product. The whole “freemium” thing has been executed well (aside from the fact that the game isn't free), and overall, it still looks like and has the same general principles as the RCT we know. Even though I miss the old RollerCoaster Tycoon games, RCT 4 Mobile still has me hooked.

You can find the universalRollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile on the App Store for $2.99. It's not the same, but I'd still recommend it.