The absence of consequence, difficulty or narrative priorities - you can unlock the game's 5 parks in about as many hours - frees the gamer up to do whatever, which is admittedly almost always fun. The minigames are all playable and frequently entertaining, from a Snood-like puzzler (which somehow trains your food staff… to play Snood), to a rhythm game that trains your cheerleaders (more plausible), to the all-new Tank Frenzy, which is just like a vertical-scrolling arcade shooter from 1990 but really, really easy. Special mention goes to Bandito Chinchilla, which is basically what Streets of Rage would be if it starred the Taco Bell dog and was directed by Robert Rodriguez. The roller-coaster design is still enjoyable and offensive to physicists, although a game this kid-friendly should have a more fool-proof track auto-complete.
Most additions to the original game seem to have been made according to the design principle "wouldn't it be neat if…?!" And so, you can paint your Whirligig with cool racing stripes! You can put a ring of flame around your roller coaster track! You can chat with guests about crappy school lunches! They sure suck! It's also super neat that Frontier has slapped a fresh coat of varnish on the 360 version, although buying Thrillville for this reason is like riding the kiddie train at Six Flags because it's shinier than all the roller coasters. Plot, which is never neat, stays at home because it gets sick on coasters; from time to time you are confronted with cutscenes of your boss, a Doc Brown clone who seems about forty years away from making something as cool as the Delorean.
Like any tolerable children's entertainment, Off the Rails contains a smattering of moments that will make adults smile: a robot-related mission is called Paranoid Android, and a Pac-Man style minigame is set to the Monkey Island theme music. Yet the much-vaunted social interaction - what should be an incentive for grownups to play the game - disappoints. The dialogue is clever, but this is no branching, subtle conversation (like, say, KOTOR); rather, it's a series of semi-amusing non-sequiturs.