[Top 10] Games Like Roller Coaster Tycoon (Games Better Than Roller Coaster Tycoon In Their Own Way

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Top 10] Games Like Roller Coaster Tycoon (Games Better Than Roller Coaster Tycoon In Their Own Way 

Rollercoaster Tycoon is a classic and really hits the mark with building strategy games. It is the mascot and legend of that genre, but that doesn’t mean building management games are a one-trick pony. Through the inspiration of Rollercoaster Tycoon, the genre expanded into many different business-building scenarios, from zoos to railroads.

In this article, we are going to look at the Top 10 Games Like Rollercoaster Tycoon (and Games Better Than Rollercoaster Tycoon) in their own way.


10# Zoo Tycoon

Released: 17th October 2001

Platforms: PC/ OS X/ Xbox One/ Xbox 360/ Nintendo DS

Zoo Tycoon Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Xoz-CtS3n5o

After the release of Roller Coaster Tycoon, it didn’t take long for a similar sister game to follow in its footsteps. In a similar graphic concept, your task is to build a zoo using a large variety of animals. You are responsible for the following:

  • Building enclosures that are suitable for the guests to view.
  • Making profits and revenue through ticket prices, food and drink stalls, etc.
  • Although the game is primarily focused on zoos and animals, it does feature some light amusement park rides borrowed from the Rollercoaster Tycoon series.

 The Zoo Tycoon Series grew quickly throughout the noughties decade, and, ironically, it was renamed Planet Zoo for the PC in 2019 (Roller Coaster Tycoon was renamed Planet Coaster around the same time).


9# Theme Park

Released: 1994

Platforms: MS-Dos/ Amiga/ 3DO/ Mega Drive/ Genesis/ Nintendo DS/ Amiga CD32/ iOS/ Mega CD/ X680000/ PC-98/ PC- 88/ Sega Saturn/ FM Towns/ Playstation/ Super Nes/ Atari Jaguar

Theme Park Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_HbveEwKtU

Theme Park is a 90s classic and the first business simulation game released in that style. Although Roller Coaster Tycoon is a lot more flexible in coaster and ride design, there’s something about looking back at the theme park that still makes you want to play. You’d think it would have gotten dated since Roller Coaster Tycoon, but the game still offers these fun benefits:

  • The cartoony edge and iconic rides that are included like the Ferris Wheel, Bouncy Castle, Water Ride, and Roller Coaster still make this worthwhile.
  • The simplicity and gameplay of the original still exist and are not outdated.
  • Theme Park is the Pacman of business strategy games these days.

When Roller Coaster Tycoon first came out in 1998, I didn’t look back on Theme Park, but after putting even more time into it today, it’s not a classic gem that you would want to go back to. If you’ve never played before, then it will offer you a good introduction to the business management gaming genre.


8# Theme Hospital 

Released: March 1997

Platforms: MS-Dos/ Windows/ Playstation 1

Theme Hospital Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5_rkW-wubg

Theme Hospital has a very similar concept to Theme Park and was also released in the same decade. The only difference is that instead of a funfair, you are in charge of building a US hospital that is not only fit for treating the public but also makes it a profitable enterprise. You follow a game map, and you need to complete each scenario with objectives.

The game becomes more difficult as it progresses.The benefits that make Theme Hospital fun are:

  • You can get emergencies like earthquakes and pandemics and a lot of quirky illnesses like bloaty heads and "The King Syndrome," where patients turn up dressed as Elvis Presley.
  • Although it's a very similar game engine to the theme park, the hospital counterpart is vastly different in its own unique way. (At the time, I personally couldn’t stop playing either of them, as they were both fun in their own right.)
  • Design corridors with vending machines, staff rooms, operating theatres, and loads of other technical hospital rooms.
  • Expect VIP visitors like the mayor and celebrities to turn up, so make sure your hospital is running well.


7# Rise of Nations - Released on May 2003

Released: May 2003

Platforms: OS X/ Microsoft Windows

Rise Of Nations Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSboFcUe0qA

Roller Coaster Tycoon is small potatoes compared to this whopper of a game! You get to control a nation from the stone age to the modern day, as you get to manage the following:

  • The economy in areas like farming, trade, and mining.
  • Decide who your allies and enemies are.
  • Build and develop your military, as in the later stages you get to build planes, tanks, and other military gadgets.

It’s very similar gameplay to Age of Empires (in fact, it's almost identical), but the main advantage is that, although it’s vaguer, it flies through the ages up to the modern age.

Rise of Nations is a huge treat for gamers because it allows you to compete in building nuclear weapons to dominate the entire game map. 


6# Age Of Empires 2: Age of Kings - Released on 30th September 1999  

Released: 30th September 1999

Platforms: Microsoft Windows/ Mac OS/ Playstation 2)

Age Of Empires 2: Age Of Kings Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOgBVR21pWg

Age of Empires II: Age of Kings was my first taste of this type of strategy game. If you love history, especially the medieval era, then this title will still have you hooked for hours on end. You start off with a town center, and it is up to you to build farms, mining camps, and wood-chopping facilities. You’ll progress through the dynastic periods, starting with the dark ages. What makes Age of Empires II: Age of Kings fun?

  • Real-time strategy as you lead a nation (from a large selection, especially if you get the expansion packs) to economic or military dominance of the time.
  • Create massive armies and take charge of battles with the goal of invading enemy nations.
  • There is also realism in making trades and building a viable economy for your people.
  • The title includes known heroes and characters in its campaign modes, like Joan of Arc and King Richard.


5# Transport Tycoon - Released 15th November 1994

Released: 15th November 1994

Platforms: PC/ MS Dos/ Mac/ iOS/ Android/ Playstation/ Sega Saturn

Transport Tycoon Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcqnNHueHc

Transport Tycoon was released early in the nineties and is another classic from Chris Sawyer. It was at the time of the PC’s first launch on the market, and this title had to boot up from MS-DOS using a short code to get in.

 In Transport Tycoon, you own a transportation firm and get to build routes via roads, water, trains, and air. Starting off in the 1930s, you get to progress your business with transport expansion, linking industries, and neighboring towns. To stay ahead of competitors, you must make all kinds of decisions and fulfill all kinds of responsibilities.The game runs up to the year 2030 as all of your vehicles start modernizing. Eventually, you end up managing airports and planes.

It’s one of Chris Sawyer’s pilot strategies and was on par with the timing of Theme Park. Roller Coaster Tycoon didn’t come out for another six years. Transport Tycoon is addictive, with an interesting selection of maps to build on, including more bizarre landscapes with marshmallows and sweets for scenery.


4# SimCity - Released 2nd February 1989 

Released: 2nd February 1989

Platforms: Microsoft Windows/ Linux/ ZX Spectrum/ Sinclair/ Unix/ X11 TCL/ OS2/News/ OLPC XO-1/ PC-98/ GBA/ iOS/ Android/ Epoc32/ DOS/ SNES/ DESQview/ C64/ BBC Micro/ Atari ST/ Amstrad CPC/ Amiga/ Amiga CDTV/ Acorn Electron/ Acorn Archimedes/ Palm OS/ Playstation 3/ Sega Saturn/ Nintendo DS/ Nintendo 64DD/ Nintendo 64/ Playstation/ Wii/ Mac OS

SimCity Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqUCmlbkkS0

SimCity is a strategy-building game that enables you to design and manage a settlement, from a small village to a massive metropolis city. It starts at the beginning of the 1900s, and you start off with a power plant. You should build near a water source so you can anticipate later water plants and piping to all of your buildings.

Initially, you lay out areas for residential, commercial, and industrial areas, and you have to wait for the citizens to start building on them. As the century progresses with technology, it’s not long before you get to build airports, highways, modern landmarks, and subways.

You also need to look out for disasters that come and dismantle your city. There are hurricanes, tornadoes, aliens, and even Godzilla in one version. SimCity is a very fun franchise and is still popular with newly released titles to this day.


3# Rail Nation 

Released: 2013

Platforms: Microsoft Windows Web Browser/ iOS/ Android

Rail Nation Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPRiSoitRZI

Rail Nation is an online train and railway-building game where you need to supply your local small city with goods to help improve the economy. As you expand and grow your network, you can buy iconic, well-known classic trains and interact with the railroad industry on all important decisions and choices.

As Rail Nation is on a standard web browser, it has a large online multiplayer community. It is also still new to the market and comes with upgrades to make this title even better.


2# Planet Coaster - Released 17th November 2016

Released: 17th November 2016

Platforms: Microsoft Windows/ Playstation 4/ Xbox One/ Xbox Series X/S/ Playstation 5/ MacOS

Planet Coaster Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0EBpgv_LIs

Planet Coaster has the latest up-to-date graphics for theme park construction. You are offered four different modes in gameplay:

  • Sandbox
  • Challenge
  • Career
  • Scenario Editor

A similar concept to all the other versions is that you must take on theme park management by building rides, entertaining your guests, and being in charge of staff and landscaping. Planet Coaster is the most recent installment in the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise, though it is not officially affiliated with the series by name. You can expect the latest state-of-the-art and modernized roller coasters, a huge range of thrill rides, and huge flexibility in the scenery. The graphics are stunning and very realistic, as scenarios run in real-time and change from day to night.


1# Railroad Tycoon 3 - Released October 27th, 2003

Released: October 27th, 2003

Platforms: Windows, OS X

Railroad Tycoon 3 Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ncm0FujRvU

Planet Coaster (by the same company that created Rollercoaster Tycoon) is the most recent installment, with by far the most realistic and up-to-date graphics. 

Railroad Tycoon 3, in my books, is the top and most impressive title alongside Rollercoaster Tycoon. Go back in time to the origins of the railroad industry in the 1800s, which is a very interesting point in history. The United States was escalating toward becoming a more industrious nation, and this is one campaign where you get to join from east to west.

There are also scenarios of engineering in Victorian England, or the Great Express through Europe. As time proceeds, your trains and facilities get upgraded as you take on competitors to rule the wild railroads.

The benefits of Railroad Tycoon 3 are:

  •  It’s a very addictive building and management business game, set during the industrial revolution.
  • Railroad Tycoon 3 gets very sophisticated as it incorporates the stock market, allowing you to buy and sell shares.
  • Run and manage the classic locomotives of the time.
  • You can purchase and run hotels, bars, and other property near the stations.
  • Also, you can buy factories and farm land that contribute to the economy.

There is a lot to think about for Railroad Tycoon 3, and it isn’t for the faint of heart in business as it covers a lot of areas if you want to play like a pro. This title was very insightful in my opinion, and the glorious 3D graphics just add that extra edge—especially when the day turns to night and the landscape turns all floodlit lights against dark countryside.

You May Also Be Interested In: 

Top 15 Rollercoaster Tycoon Best Layouts That Are Awesome 

Top 15 Best Tycoon Games That Are Great Fun (Ranked) 

Top 11 Rollercoaster Tycoon Best Rides That Are Awesome 


Forever lost, always exploring. whether in writing or real life. Is it all a game?
Gamer Since: 1990
Favorite Genre: Pro-gaming
Currently Playing: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Nintendo Switch
Top 3 Favorite Games:Ace Ventura: The CD-Rom Game, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, DOOM

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