Full theme park

Forget roller-coaster tycooning. Social game publishing giant Zynga has worked hard to release its own take on the theme-park simulator, and it gives players the chance to make their own most magical place on Earth.

The game is CoasterVille, which goes live later today, and it’s an homage to the beloved theme-park-building genre founded by the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise.

“We want to take players on a magical and memorable ride in CoasterVille,” said CoasterVille general manager Amir Rahimi. “Theme parks as a setting make for great games, but we sought to add our own twists through a mix of nostalgia and innovation that offers players fun ways to express themselves and play with their friends. We can’t wait to see what players do with the endless amount of amusement park delights that we’ve added in CoasterVille.”

Zynga built the game upon colorful 2D visuals that give the proceedings a cartoony feel. The whole game is very alive as you watch the A.I.-controlled attendees rush in and around the park.

At its core, the gameplay of CoasterVille is about keeping those little characters happy. They have a basic but deep set of needs that only a diverse and well-planned park can scratch. Of course, players can choose to completely play to the needs of the parkgoers and try to maximize the in-game revenue, or players can ignore that aspect of the game in favor of focusing on building something unique.

“We aim to provide unprecedented opportunities for players to express themselves through our game features with the tools that we provide,” said Rahimi. “One of our strongest features is our themed land feature where we allow our players to build their very own themed land.”

These themed lands are immersive little worlds that include a large set of items that stick to a single them, like fantasy or frontier times.

Among the frontier-themed items, objects range from tiny little saloon shops all the way up to giant and fully customizable mine-cart roller coasters. These items are also upgradeable to help better attract more riders or customers.

Giving players the ability to have a logical theme in their park is great, but these games usually survive and thrive on their roller-coaster building mechanics.

For CoasterVille, Rahimi and Zynga decided to give players the ability to quickly and easily create and change a roller coaster of any size and shape. You won’t need a degree in physics. You can add all the twists, turns, and loops that your heart desires. The more impressive the coaster, the more fame your park will gain, which will open up opportunities for more rides and more attractions.

It looks very fun. From what I saw, it looks like it will appeal strongly to those gamers who just want to create something wild and to those who want to engage and exploit the A.I. customers to squeeze them for all of their virtual dollars.