A simulator does not get more detailed than this
Far From a Casual Game
I’ve played a fair number of hours of Rollercoaster Tycoon plus the Deluxe edition in my lifetime. Likewise, the time I’ve racked up with similar games like Theme Park and Sim City is equally as sad/impressive (depending on how you look at it), but never before in my life had I experienced a level of rollercoaster simulation that comes anywhere near the detail that Nolimits 2 offer, it's by far the most realistic of experiences for building your own custom rides.
Any hopes of experiencing the instantly-thrilling theme park-management side of things were instantly dashed, though my disillusionment evaporated almost instantly when I realised that I was expecting the wrong thing of this gam… actually, strike that: tool. This is for serious simulation fanatics only – if you’re looking for light entertainment, then I suggest looking elsewhere for your thrills.
A Non-Game of Two Halves
The reason I’ve been pushing the line that Nolimits 2 is most definitely not a game is because, well, it is essentially a highly specialised form of CAD (computer-aided design) software. There are no levels, there are no overarching objectives to be completed or parks to manage – just a rollercoaster builder/editor and simulator in one package.
Nolimits Is split into to constituent components: the rollercoaster editor - this provides CAD-like capabilities in planning and constructing your coaster down to the tiniest detail – and the rollercoaster simulator, which is the software you use in order to actually get to ride the coasters you have created in the editor.
In terms of straight-up content that you get with this simulator out of the box, this software originally came with 16 pre-designed and fully functioning rollercoasters. Some of the rollercoasters are the creation of some developer’s imagination of course, but a select few of them are genuine reproductions of real-life rollercoasters as well. What’s even better is that after a patch was released, Nolimits Rollercoaster Simulator got an extra 8 ready-made coasters for users to tinker around with. Though this may be quite meagre when you compare it with the game’s sequel, Nolimits Rollercoaster Simulation 2, at the time this level of content was more than enough for most people that owned the original.
Before you can go ahead and ride your very own creation, you have to go ahead and create it first; the editor is the tool you use to do this. Anyone used to the relatively restricted design capabilities of games like Rollercoaster Tycoon will enjoy the level of freedom that the editor provides you with here. The layout is clear and very easily navigable. It affords you complete control over every inch of your rollercoaster, from the carts that you want to use to the safety mechanisms, right through to the choice of tracks and the materials you’ll be building them from.
Most items such as the tracks can be moved in any direction you wish along multiple axes, allowing you to manipulate everything in 3D space. The control you have over the pieces of track (of which there are 5 types to use) is phenomenal; you simply have to adjust the properties of each track in order to control speed, brake speed, and so on. The same level of control also applies to things like the supports for your coaster and even items to be placed in the surrounding environment such as trees.
Simulate to Accumulate
The simulator part of the software simply reads the rollercoaster design file you have produced and puts you at the heart of your rollercoaster, or should I say in the carriages that comprise it. This way you can ride your rollercoaster in the way it was intended, viewing it from multiple perspectives and then going back to tweak your design in the editor if it sticks at certain points or if you just feel you could have done better in certain parts.
The game’s graphics obviously aren’t that great compared to today’s standards, but for the time this was very impressive in a visual sense. The sound effects are also commendable – it even has the sound of an imaginary crowd to give you the sense that you’re in an amusement park, and the sound of the wheels on the tracks is notably realistic.
Know What You’re Buying
The only way to ensure that you thoroughly enjoy this piece of software is to know what you want out of your rollercoaster games. If you want a thrilling, well-rounded experience, go for something like Rollercoaster Tycoon. However, if you want nothing more than to sit down with just you and your rollercoaster with virtually no design or movement restrictions, then Nolimits Rollercoaster Simulation is definitely a piece of software you’re going to want to invest in.
Release Date: 24/08/2014
Available on: PC Download