The key to a flourishing theme park in Roller Coaster Tycoon is the perfect balance of rides for all guests. The roller coasters are going to make you money and attract the most guests, but you have to cater to smaller wallets and lower ride intensities as well.
Some rides are fairly useless, in my opinion – like the car ride. The amount it takes to run the ride versus how much profit it typically rakes in isn’t really worth it. I love building the Scrambled Eggs/Twister ride, but when you increase the amount of rotations, it increases the queue!
So, what’s a park builder to do? Generally speaking, my best theme parks feature the same ten rides. Let’s revisit some of them…
10. Rowing Boats
Boring, I know, but hear me out. When you’re starting off a park and are strapped for cash, building a rowboat ride is one of the easiest ways to make money. There are always going to be guests that prefer much less intense rides.
With rowboats, you build about four to five pieces of the ride station, and that’s it. Boom. Cheap, easy, and you can charge about $2.50 a head depending on the park.
9. Hedge Maze
Gentle rides are boring. I’m sorry I had to say it, but I did. However, I think the Hedge Maze is pretty interesting. It’s always fun to build your own and watch guests try to figure it out. A great part of this ride is how many guests you can let in at once. If you’re really trying to rip your guests off (yay capitalism!), you can build a teeny tiny maze, let the maximum number of people in, and charge about $2 per head. Ka-ching ka-ching, baby.
Parks can get really, really big. The easiest way to combat that can be a transportation ride. But with most of them, they have to be built on the ground or underground; which can create logistical issues if you’re limited for space.
The Chairlift is a beautiful thing – build it above the park, and finesse where to put the station.
7. Space Rings
Space Rings ROCKS. The first time I unlocked this ride, way back in probably 2000, I thought it was the weirdest, coolest ride. Yes it’s a gentle ride, but the nausea rating is high and it seems much more popular with guests. I’ve found this is a great happy-medium when you’re tired of building the Spiral Slide, Haunted House, and Merry-Go-Round over and over again.
6. Go Karts
If the Hedge Maze rips off your guest, this is the Bernie Madoff of that. Guests love Go Karts. Doesn’t matter how short the track is, or how many laps you let them go; they will pay top dollar to ride it.
Build a short track, charge $4 a head, and watch the money flow in. Yeehaw!
5. River Rapids
In terms of guest preferences, the River Rapids aren’t as popular as the Log Flume. However, I think River Rapids are much more fun to build, operate, and watch. Building waterfalls, whirlpools, and giant drops is always really fun.
To bump up the intensity factor, it’s fun to build a large lift, and then have the rafts zoom underground as low as they’ll go. Then, hit them with a few whirlpools. Not as profitable as other rides, but super fun!
4. Reverse Freefall Coaster
This ride is an exciting one; rather than the traditional ups and downs, loops, hoops and corkscrews of a classic coaster, it shoots the car straight, goes up a large hill, and then back down to the station. It’s not too expensive to make, and it’s probably one of the most fun rides to build.
The freefall after the launch is the best portion of this ride – there are only two of these types of coasters in the world! But luckily for us Tycooners, they can be built in practically all of our parks. Maybe not Dinky Park…
3. Vertical Drop Coaster
Holy. Moly. This roller coaster drops straight into the ground?! Upon first discovering this ride, I couldn’t wait to build the hill as high as it could go, and then plunge my guests straight into the ground.
Saw the intensity rating afterwards, and oops. Let’s just say that I had to make some major adjustments… Similar to the Reverse Freefall Coaster, the Vertical Drop Coaster is a fun, unique departure from classic coasters. You have to be really crafty with how you construct it (brakes are your best friend!), but it’s a blast either way.
2. Bobsleigh Coaster
Oh, the delicacy of the coaster building craft this requires….
The Bobsleigh Coaster is exhilarating. If you choose to build your own, you have to be extremely careful with every turn. Watching as you test run is a thrill, hoping that the cart won’t turn right off the curved edges.
1. Looping Roller Coaster
You just can’t beat the classics. You can’t! The Looping Roller Coaster is the best for one reason, and one reason only; Shuttle Loop.
You have taken out the max on your loan, you’re desperately trying to make an extra buck (better charge guests $0.40 to use the restroom!), and then Shuttle Loop comes along.
It’s quick, it’s easy, it has an on-ride photo section. Make the line long, as the ride goes by quickly. And watch the cash roll in!
While the other coasters on this list are fun partially because they are a departure from the traditional roller coaster, Looping Roller Coaster is number one because it’s everything that is right about coasters. You have loops, track boosts, brakes, twists, and endless possibilities.
Your childhood best friends may be people, but mine is the beloved Shuttle Loop. Thanks for all the memories, and the cash.
About the Author: Kelcey McClung is a freelance reporter who has been featured in a variety of publications. She loves Star Wars, Animal Crossing, and almost every PlayStation game ever made. If you think you’ve completed all the park objectives in Roller Coaster Tycoon more times than she has, she’ll take you up on that bet.