In our initial review of Planet Coaster: Console Edition, we commended the use of the Frontier Workshop and how it gave the opportunity for never-ending possibilities. But, as with the original PC release, several DLC packs were also released to keep the revenue coming in and to give Planet Coaster players even more items to build the ideal theme park. My question though is this: are these DLC packs enough to create an entire theme park, or are they more designed to accompany existing parks?
First up is the Spooky Pack, available to download right now on Xbox priced at £7.99. With this DLC I am going to attempt to create a theme park from scratch and see how far we can go. In the interest of ease, I am using the Sandbox mode.
By using the filter option in any of the build menus you can filter on many things, including Content Packs. Disappointingly though, in Planet Coaster there are no new roller coasters added in the Spooky Pack. Instead though, we get two Track Rides, arguably more suited to scaring visitors in the park than a roller coaster could: an outdoors one called The Huntsman, and a traditional ghost train called The Hoax. Both tracks in these rides can be edited along with the opportunity to play with the hundreds of fine-tuning tweaks we’ve come to expect from Planet Coaster. This even includes the ability to set the timings on the animatronics to hit at certain points. The level of detail you can drill down into on Planet Coaster continues to astound me.
As for rides though, that is it in the Spooky Pack. Just two rides, and both Track Rides at that.
Conversely to that though, are 32 ‘spooky’ facilities. And I built them all. Many of these such as Monsieur Frites and the Gulpee stands are the existing in-game brands but remodelled with gothic architecture instead. They still have the neon-lit signs adorning them though, making it easy to identify them from any angle.
But by this point, Spooky Town, as it had been dubbed, looked more like a travelling fairground rather than a static theme park. It needed some character to it in the form of some scenery.
Here is where I expected the Spooky Pack to excel and it did not disappoint: scarecrows, spiders, pumpkins, gravestones, skeletons etc. Everything you would expect from a spooky themed DLC is included, plus some more. The empty grave where some giant maggots are wriggling out from is particularly unnerving.
Once again, much of the scenic buildings feature a gothic look to them, and there are some giant pieces to put in your park. Some of these are recycled assets from facilities eg. The Spooky Church looks very similar to the restaurant, and the Spooky Mansion is an elongated version of the Hotel, but on the whole there is enough variation.
The Spooky Pack also brings a new member of staff with it. You’ve heard of King Coaster, well get ready for King Ghoster! This entertainer has the same open-mouthed grin as the Planet Coaster mascot, but just wearing a white sheet to appear scarier.
Where players can get more creative though is with the hundreds of new Spooky options in the Create menu, including over 70 new blueprint items. Normally I would stay away from this stuff because my imagination as to what to create is severely lacking (seriously, the one thing I built in Minecraft was a scale replica of my own house, how exciting!). But in Planet Coaster I naturally find myself giving it a go because it’s so easy. I’m not talking grand masterpieces such as the excellent inclusions in the Frontier Workshop, but I’m easily able to add new features and parts to existing stock blueprints, thus giving them my own little touch. I added spiders into absolutely everything I could and then topped everything that didn’t already have a gargoyle, with a gargoyle.
With my experiment drawing to a close, I checked my data over the previous year to see how I’d managed by restricting myself to the Spooky Pack. My Park Rating hit the lofty heights of around 530 but soon started dipping, presumably when visitors realised there were only two rides to go on. This is similar to the number of guests, which peaked at around 840 but has since dropped and never recovered.
It’s a tough ask designing a whole theme park around haunted houses and ghost trains, and it really shows with the Spooky Pack DLC for Planet Coaster: Console Edition. It is clearly designed to accompany all the existing rides and features already present in the game, though one or two more rides would have certainly been welcome. The scenery is fantastic though, and easily has enough content to at least dedicate a small portion of a much larger theme park to the macabre side of life.
If you wish to get hold of the Spooky Pack DLC for Planet Coaster: Console Edition on Xbox, head over to the Xbox Store. Massive thanks go out to Frontier Developments for giving us access to the Spooky Pack and allowing our imaginations to run wild.