When Transport Tycoon [$6.99] came out on iOS, I was thrilled. In my review, I stated how happy I would be, and how happy fans of the series might be, if Rollercoaster Tycoon were to come out on iOS.

Well, it has, in Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile [Free]. But happiness is far from the word I’d use to describe the game. It has some fun qualities, and building a rollercoaster can be enjoyable (although not as in-depth due to the obvious), but the game overall careens down the big drop at the top of the hill, and instead of following along the track, it jumps it and results in a disastrous mess.

You’d think that having to pay to download the game would be a good sign. You’d be wrong. While the upfront cost is relatively cheap at only $2.99, the game is loaded with IAP and timers, and barely five minutes into the tutorial you’re instructed to use a ticket to speed up construction. Tickets, as I’m sure you can discern, are the premium currency.


Graphically, RCT4 Mobile harkens back to the original from the 90s, and looks as colorful and energetic as the original did, just not as sharp. From the flashing lights to the coaster tracks to the screams of the people, it’s all been done right. Sound effects are cute and bubbly, but the music is grating and repetitive, with very little variety. As your park grows, the game seems to lag in rendering everything. After starting up the game, objects will render in bits, and it’ll be a few seconds before you see your entire park. It’s slightly odd seeing a rollercoaster train run along what looks like invisible track, simply because it hasn't rendered yet.

Laying out your park is a simple process. Enter the build menu, find what you want, construct it. There is a good variety of attractions and stalls; carousel, ferris wheel, bumper cars, 4D theater, ice cream stand, pizza stand, coffee shop, balloon stand. Rollercoasters, of course, as well as hotels and a large selection of decorations. With its simple isometric view, it can become difficult to place items as your park expands. There is currently no way to rotate the game screen, nor is there an option to set transparency, therefore making it difficult to build a path behind a ride, especially if that ride is tall. Placing paths does everything: gone is separate queue paths to the entrance with regular paths leading from the exit, it’s all been simplified. Whether that’s by design or perhaps limitations of a mobile touch system, I've no idea.


Despite the plethora of buildings available, they all have timers. The cheap, basic ones may be between 30 seconds and one minute, but some of the larger attractions will take hours. Rollercoasters? Definitely hours. The first one you can buy, a wooden coaster, takes the shortest amount of time. The second, steel, after completing my custom track, was a ten hour wait. Some of the pre-constructed coasters cost coins or tickets, but if you want to build your own, it’ll always require tickets: ALL custom coasters require a premium currency to construct, plus a final coin fee to actually build the thing. Building your own coaster is fun, at least, and you have a few special options available, like loops, or a helix. Overall construction is limited in details and scope.

In terms of customization and micromanaging, you'll find little. The bare minimum that can be changed are the colors of coaster cars, and renaming your park. You can edit a food stand and change its type to that of another food, but this is far from customizing as it changes the entire building. There are no staff to manage, no chain lift speeds to adjust, no individual prices to set.

Each device will be assigned a code that can be used to add friends, which allows you to send and receive up to five tickets per day.


The only redeeming factor when it comes to premium currency is that tickets come in fairly often. Almost every goal, at least for the first little bit, will award a ticket or two. Once you get expanding, goals start awarding just coins, but they still have ones that pop up with a ticket reward now and then.

There is a minigame available that lets you build burgers, which you get by purchasing the Food Rush Truck from the Special buildings category. It’s kind of out of the way, and says it’s a limited time only, but doesn't say why or what for.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is a fun diversion if you’re willing to spend money, or if you have no issue waiting hours for a timer to expire. If you’re a fan of the series, you are going to be severely disappointed, perhaps angry, and will hope that the PC version doesn't contain any of the poor decisions that went into this one.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Maglor

    As I Said Before...

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    • mclifford82

      You're also not artist.

  • korkidog

    Another classic game ruined by IAP and timers. I'll avoid it.

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    Who *didnt* expect exactly this?

    Well actually to be honest I didn't expect to pay for it. So at least they 'surprised' me with that.

  • kevin8977

    2 stars is all it deserves. IAPS going up to $100 is pathetic. Also you can't seem to hire workers like janitors and mechanics. You do all that yourself and you can only make custom rollercoasters and not water rides like you could in the PC games. This game is nothing like the old RT games, it's a god damn disgrace to what were some of my favorite computer games.

    • danielboyz

      Two stars? That's way too much for this BS....

    • David

      I don't understand how the developers thought that anyone would actually want to play this...?

  • CkX82

    Gotw ?

  • Michael O'Connor

    Jumped the track? More like razed the whole roller coaster to the ground.

  • RickyBrooke

    Disappointment of the year.

  • anabolicMike

    Saddened. Just like dungeon keeper this game was messed right up. It kinda feels like these big devs with the rights to these awesome games we used to grow up with think we are all lisa sparks. .sigh.

  • denisvjcr

    Totally disappointed , dungeon keeper , trials and the same will happens with age of empires .

    • danielboyz

      No no no they won't mess up AoE, will they????

      • Design by Adrian

        Yes they can, because they are evil.

      • Ldude893

        They already did Age of Empires. It's called Age of Empires Online and they're already canning it by June 1st this year.

    • AnEpicPotatoe

      If they ruin my precious Age of Empires... I'm done.

    • David

      Trials Frontier isn't nearly as bad as this imo, and at least they are still making decent console versions that are not F2P...

      Although I guess they are saying that the PC version of RCT 4 will be nothing like the mobile version, but I have a feeling it will still not be what us fans of the series are wanting in a sequel...

  • StealthDawg

    This is one giant smoldering pile of donkey dung I will NOT be buying.... Totally dissapointed. Atari should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Jake7905

    I'm not sure what's more troubling: classic games being turned into freemium entertainment; or freemium entertainment being priced as a premium game.

  • MachineJXD

    Better if this game was in 3D like theme park from EA not in 2D

  • mclifford82

    Suspense of score ruined by tags: $2.99, 2 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews,

  • Th3R3n3gad3

    Thank you, ea, and atari for free to play stupidity.
    If anyone needs me, I'll be playing the 1st and 2nd games.

  • makitango

    Making me like Atari even less. Soulless piece of crap, nice to see every big publisher just wants to drain each and every penny of every dissatisfied customer until no one is left.

  • mantascorp


    Sorry, I couldn't say that without all caps. It's just...too...TRUE.

  • renatpl

    Oh screw timers, sell me the full game please

  • Gameplaya

    First EA, now Atari???

  • Chris Overbee

    Coaster Physics, I don't see any.

    What happened to the simulation part of the rollercoaster simulator?

  • Design by Adrian

    "although not as in-depth due to the obvious"

    No! It's NOT obvious! Why can't we have a full-fledged Roller Coaster Tycoon on mobile!?

    • MachineJXD

      Maybe is to hard for them or lazy,no judge on this gus makin' this game

      • Design by Adrian

        Ah, no I'm not judging the developer, but I am judging the industry! This is another game where profit has higher focus than customer enjoyment.

  • Salsander

    Critical thinking and creativity have been hampered with these timers and IAPs. Unlike the Roller Coaster Tycoon games on PC (or the good ones I should say), you can only use IAP to advance quickly rather than using logistics to keep a well maintained park. And calling this piece of garbage a direct sequel to one of my favorite games is slander! It's a shame most gaming companies have gone the freemium way.

  • jibbyjackjoe

    I'm very happy the internet exists to warn me of garbage. I almost knee jerked and bought this. It's easy to tell who reviews the games honestly, and who is paid to click 5 stars.

  • TeddyNYC

    I hope Chris Sawyer gets Atari to release another version of RCT someday called "RollerCoaster Tycoon, The One You Remember Edition." This freemium crap has to go and I hope Apple does something about it.

  • Eriatarka

    Do you think they make more money offering up these IAP riddled games with timers, than simply charging more for a proper game (all inclusive). I mean it's obvious that the IAP style game has the potential to generate money over the long term, but do they in reality?? Who actually fronts the cash for these overpriced IAPs. I wouldn't mind paying £5 for a remake of roller coaster tycoon, theme park, theme hospital, dungeon keeper etc.. It's such a shame that there aren't many fully featured releases like FTL on Ipad. At least we have that 🙂

  • Kelvin

    This is by far the shittiest game i have seen in my life. No game hs ever hit the worst games list so quickly.a game with micro transactions and that is $3 is complete bullshit. Atari took the core mechanics of the game, and threw it out the window. I'm dissipointed, and i expected way more.

  • DrXym

    It's too bad they wanted timers AND money. I've never known a game so quickly demolish the good will its name brought to the table.

    They should have sold the core game for £2, and then expansion packs which add scenery, themes, animals, safari, water amusements - a bit like happened in the past. I'm sure people could deal with that providing the core experience wasn't gimped or artificially broken to screw people for more cash.

  • Mvin

    I have bougth this, and I can only agree fully with this review. I have spent hours and hours on the PC version but is not worthy of being comparred to the PC version. Unfortunatly, because I really miss a good management game for the IOS like the PC version was.

RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ Reviewed by James Paterson on . Rating: 2