Thursday 2 November 2006
Back in the day, everything from murdering naked innocents (Rampage) to initiating incestuous affairs (Kissin' Kousins) was par for the course for young gamers and no one batted an eyelid. Alas, times have changed. These days children must feel like chastised tabloid targets just for seeking to do something as comparatively pedestrian as repeatedly driving over a virtual prostitute or policeman.

The fact that many children hanker after adult-oriented games goes some way to highlighting how poorly their own gaming needs have been satisfied. Thrillville is attempting to bridge the gap between games currently designed for kids and the certificated games they wish they could own. Pre-release, it seems likely to succeed.

Above: Ride simulation is solid but, after the blissful abandonment of the minigames, actually riding the machines is a tad anticlimactic

Feistily feel-good from the very off, Thrillville sets out to sweep players away with its gleefully colourful array of attractions, shops, punters and minigames. Helped along by the presence of a jaunty soundtrack, you're instantly made to feel as though everything in the metaphorical sweetshop is yours for the taking.

Park management is the name of the game, though 'manager' is perhaps too forceful a word to describe the gentle caretaker you actually become. Tasks range from cleaning up the chunky yellow vomit of your perpetually nauseous customers to Bemani-style dance challenges.