|System: X360, PC, PS2, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Frontier Dev.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: LucasArts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 9, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Ever since I saw this game, I thought that it was just going to be another Roller Coaster Tycoon clone. I remember when Roller Coaster Tycoon was all the rage, and clones of it seemed to be everywhere. But I was very pleasantly surprised by this game. Though it is meant for a family-oriented audience, this game proved to be very fun, and a whole lot different than Roller Coaster Tycoon.
While Roller Coaster Tycoon focused mainly on park construction and was more of a sim type game, Thrillville: Off the Rails focuses on the total theme park experience. You begin the game by picking a character and customizing it to look however you want. And while it's not a very deep level of customization, you can change things like your character's hair and clothes. Then you go straight into training for your new position as manager of the new Thrillville Park. As manager, your duties include developing new rides, planning marketing schemes, and most of all, keeping the guests happy.
Of course you can't do it alone, and one of your first tasks in Thrillville is to employ a staff. And not only do you have to hire them, but you have to train them too. But lucky for you, training involves some pretty fun mini-games that are related to the task at hand. For example, to train your entertainers, you play a rhythm-based mini-game. To train your groundskeepers you have a challenge where you target and aim various trash and vomit articles for cleaning. And although the latter doesn't sound all that fun, trust me, it is.
In fact, much of your time being the park manager of Thrillville will be spent playing mini-games. Most of your attractions can be played as arcade games, and many of your guests love to challenge their park manager to see who the best at various games is. And the great thing is that there's a wide variety of these games. There's a western-based first-person shooter game, there's a galaga-type spaceship game, there's even a game that pays direct homage to the Mario franchise. So if you're into classic gaming, you'll definitely appreciate all your choices in Thrillville: Off the Rails. Of course, classic games aren't the only thing that Thrillville plays homage to. Several icons from the world of music and movies get their turn here too. For instance, one of your missions is called "Paranoid Android." Random Radiohead reference, anyone?
Another big duty in Thrillville: Off the Rails is talking to the guests. There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, the customer is always right, and they can offer valuable insight into way to improve your park. Talking to guests can also improve their happiness and the overall ranking of your park. But more importantly, there are representatives from your evil rival Globo-Joy in the crowd who are trying to bring your park down. By talking to certain guests you can uncover Globo-Joy's suspicious ways and thwart any evil schemes they might have plotted at your expense.
But as we all know, no roller coaster game would be complete without the feature everyone looks forward to the most: the build-your-own-roller-coaster feature. And for the most part the build your own roller coaster mode works well here. You start off by selecting a type of rollercoaster, and then laying down tracks and adding "Woah" moves. These moves are various high-end track designs that enhance the thrill factor of your ride. However, you can't have too many "Woah" moves in your track because they will also increase your coaster's vomit rating, which will make less and less people go on your ride. Once you've finished your coaster, you can test drive it and watch how it looks from your choice of a first-person view, a backseat view, or an outside view. My personal favorite was the backseat view because you can almost feel the wind in your hair when you look over the track as you take one of your wicked dives. I know when I watched my coaster, the Cotton Candy Seizure, take several 90 degree drops with a dizzying amount of corkscrew turns, I felt a little dizzy myself.