The game, a sequel to last year's amusement park simulation, is available for the Nintendo's Wii and DS, Microsoft's Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and PSP, and Windows PC. We reviewed the Wii version.
Thrillville: Off the Rails, continues the gameplay formula of the first Thrillville by combining a simple build-your-own amusement park simulation with a collection of party minigames. You become the manager of an existing park which needs improvement. While there are already a few rides, stalls, and games in the park, you will need to build more. The party game aspect comes from playing the midway games and attractions found within the park. In addition, you can jump on any ride and experience it from the view of sitting on the ride.
As the park's manager, you explore the park as an avatar of your choosing. While running around the park, you will hear comments from the guests of the park. The key to success is to listen to those comments. You can also walk up to anyone in the park to chat. If guests are hungry or thirsty, then it's time to build food stalls. If they are bored, try building more thrills.
One of the ways to add thrills is to build coasters and other attractions. With the Wii version, designing the coaster is as simple as waving the remote at the screen. By aiming the remote in an angle that goes up in the air, the track goes up. Point it down, and the track dips or falls. You can also add your own special WHOA features including a giant arm to grab a car off the track, whip it around in a circle, and then set it back down again. However, if designing is not your thing, you can select pre-made attractions and plop them into your park.
At first, this game's interface can seem overwhelming and chaotic. There are tutorials, but they are not all that helpful. The best way to get comfortable is to play a few of the over 100 missions. They teach you how to improve your park and reveal a storyline about someone trying to sabotage the park. As the park improves, you gain promotions. Gather enough promotions, and you will be offered four more parks to manage. All of this is pretty easy to attain.
This game's focus is to be an amusement park that kids can play in. The micromanagement aspect has been minimized, and the building aspect is limited. Kids wanting to design and build their own parks from the bottom up would do better with the Roller Coaster Tycoon series. In this game, kids will ride the rides, play miniature golf, design the food and souvenir stands, and even help maintain the park. For the latter, the drudgery of maintenance disappears because you do it by playing a game. For example, to clean up the litter, you have a limited amount of time to target and suck up trash and spills on the ground. In all, there are 34 minigames and 20 death-defying rides.
In addition to the simulation mode, the game offers a Coaster Building mode and a Party Play mode where up to 4 people can play the minigames that are found in the simulation. Most of these are classic arcade games, but some involve logic and rhythm. Unfortunately, only some, but not all, take advantage of the unique Wii motion-sensitive controls.
Thrillville: Off the Rails. earned an E+10 rating from the ESRB in part because as the park manager, you can woo guests and flirt. Also some of the minigames have mild cartoon-type violence. However, several of the minigames are violence free and appropriate for younger siblings to enjoy in the Party Play mode.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.