Final Glimpse: It's just like going to Six Flags, minus the three-hour long lines!!
For many roller coaster enthusiasts, the world of console gaming has not been kind. From the monumental disaster known as ?Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure' to the slightly average ?Theme Park Roller Coaster,' the console world has been largely overshadowed by the genre's PC scene.
Often opting to focus on balancing simulation with fun, the console versions of amusement park sims have seemed rather bland with clunky gameplay when compared against the award-winning the PC series, Rollercaoster Tycoon. Spanning over three games and numerous expansions, the series has sold millions of copies worldwide due to its deep level of simulation and micromanagement.
Fresh off the success of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 (RCT3), the creative team over at Frontier Developments decided to shift their attention back to console gaming with Thrillville, with their entire attention devoted to bringing the fun of being at an actual amusement park to console gamers rather than realism.
With over 100 missions in 5 different parks with three separate areas, Thrillville promises to have plenty of things for the gamer to do during the course of the game. These missions range anywhere from designing or placing a ride to scoring a certain amount of points in one of the game's many mini-games. Filling out the game's background is an actual storyline, giving the player somewhat of an incentive to play through the entire thing.
You take on the role of a young entrepreneur whose uncle has been injured and decides to leave you a theme park to manage. It's your job as the owner to stay ahead of your competition known as the Globo-Joy Corporation. While it's not the greatest piece of literature to ever grace the world of gaming, it doesn't need to be. It's just there.
Unlike most simlutaions, Thrillville doesn't rely on your typical God-view during exploration and design. Instead, the action is brought down to actual foot level allowing the player to go into and explore the park. Along the way, guests will aid you and give you advice as to what you could do to improve. Unlike many other sim games however, you develop relationships with your customers, which will increase the amount of time and money they spend at your park. As par for the course, you'll also be recruiting staff in order to cleanup the visitor's garbage and vomit in order to keep your customers happy. Hey, someone has to do it.
Customers aside, the game's ride feature is pretty spiffy as well. You can essentially ride any of your roller coasters or play any of your games at any given time, adding further fun value to the game itself. Since this is a simulation game of sorts, you'll be spending time building roller coasters complete with barrel rolls, twists, loops, and stomach-inducing drops a plenty. Coasters are graded through the thrill they deliver and how sick they make the customer. The best part of the game's design is the fact that you don't have to obey any ?realistic' boundaries for coaster design. Want to drop your customers into the abyss and then send them into twenty loops, you can. Essentially, if you dream it they will ride.
While designing coasters is fun in itself, there's other rides including go-karts and merry-go-rounds which can be placed into any of the games 15 themed areas which range from superheroes to lands inspired by the Lord of the Rings.
At the pinnacle of the game's features is the creative use of the twenty or so mini-games that can be played in the park or from the game's main menu. You can build and play our own miniature golf course, race go-karts or bumper cars, or take a little first-person shooting practice. For the party gamer, these games can also be played along with other players. The only drawback is that for PSP owners, the game will require four UMD copies of the game in order to connect.
Although most simulation games requires the user to wonder whether or not placing a restaurant right next to a bathroom and your typical ubercoaster is a bright idea, Thrillville doesn't require that. Instead, the developers over at Frontier decided to combine the best aspects of park simulations with fun in order to produce a game that's accessible to almost anyone.