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Thrillville: Off the Rails

Oct 9, 2007

Thrillville: Off the Rails is not Halo 3. It's not Project Gotham Racing 4. It's certainly not Manhunt 2. It is a cutesy, sugary, brightly coloured romp where you build stomach-churning rollercoasters (Woahcoasters) in your own customised theme parks, taking time out to play a host of solid mini-games when the day job gets too much.

Now doesn't that sound appealing? It's sort of like the gaming equivalent of a hot cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit after a two-mile hike across a frosty moor. Sort of. Mmmmmmm...

You can't expect The Bruckheimer effect when you're playing Thrillville, but you can expect an accessible and rewardingly simple 'sim' game. That's simple as in 'easy to grasp' - the rides you make can be as simple or as head-spinningly complex as you like. And there lies the appeal.

Building rides, placing games and all the rest is so painless you could have a working park up in minutes. But to build a perfect park, ah, that's the dream. If you can tear yourself away from the endlessly enjoyable mini-games, that is, including the frankly awesome Alien Hominid-style fighter Bandito Chinchilla and the irresistable Sumo Saucers. All of which offer fantastic four-player modes.

It's here where we spent most of our own hands-on time, in fact. And most mini-games boast quality usually offered by (or, more often, missing from) entire collections of mini-games. Combined with the real meat of Thrillville's park building gameplay, it all makes for a satisfyingly weighty package.

We'd be wrong to evangelise Thrillville as a game to challenge heavyweights like Halo 3, PGR4 or Warkhawk in the stakes for your attention. But there has to be something special about this cute little game that reduced four cynical games journalists to squabbling about whether we should have one more go at Stunt Rider or move on to Timed Mini-Golf.

Thrillville: Off the Rails should whoosh onto shelves later this month. On this pre-review experience, we'd recommend it as a giant happy bundle of fun. You remember fun, right?

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