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Thrillville

Maintaining the park itself is one thing but you'll also have to cater to the needs of your clientele. If they're bored by your looping, whirling attractions they'll voice their complaints and restrict your progress. Everything from the smallest burger stall to the largest coaster is customisable to some extent, so only carelessness is to blame if your private wonderland is a dud.

Race tracks and mini-golf courses provide welcome diversions, though it's the arcade style minigames that really make their mark. The FPS sublevels play like pre-teen primers on the fundamentals of the genre, whilst micro-2D shooters provide a modicum of difficulty not to be found elsewhere in the game. Genuinely addictive and surprisingly accurate, many of these offer co-op and versus modes to heighten the level of authenticity.



Above: There's a huge variety of non-playable characters but their comments get a little repetitive

Rollercoaster and ride simulation is physically solid - you'd expect no less from the developer of the Rollercoaster Tycoon series. After the blissful abandonment of the minigames, however, actually riding the machines seems a tad anticlimactic. Building them is far more fun. Get carried away and your intertwining, serpentine machines soon resemble giant metal postmodern sculptures.

Elsewhere, the fact that all of Thrillville's 1,000 or so non-playable characters are completely unique and interactive is technically remarkable. Sadly, this ambitious feat also undermines playability thanks to the repetitive stock roster of comments and responses provided. It's an irritating inequality, tainting an otherwise enjoyable experience with a draining exercise in robotised monotony.

Still, in an industry determined to feed kids insipid iterations of existing popular franchises, Thrillville marks out its own territory as a singularly heartfelt and well-crafted proposition.

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