Thrillville: Off the Rails - EXCLUSIVE first look

Roller coasters aren't the only thrills your park has to offer. Arcades also make a return in the sequel, offering more than 30 of the minigames that made Thrillville such a diverse package. Some of these are returning favorites, but over a dozen are brand new. The highlights appear to be Stunt Rider, which uses rag doll physics, super crisp animation and seriously mellow music to create an addictive update on Excite Bike, and the bizarre Bandito Chinchilla, which plays like a Mexican-themed Alien Hominid... only with a gun slinging Chihuahua as its hero.

Up to four players can battle or team up in Off the Rails' minigames, but even when alone, you can count on the park guests for competition. With enough interaction, a few of them will actually become your friends this time, joining your MyCrowd list and enabling you to warp instantly to their location at any time. Flatter them with special gifts like front line passes and they may also start providing you with secret information... information you'll need to solve the game's mystery plot involving a hidden mole and his or her attempt to destroy your business from the inside.

Although you might not guess it from the previous game's unimpressive graphics, Thrillville: Off the Rails cares about appearances as well. Visual power is tough with so much property to render on screen at once, but visual style and customization are here in spades. Coasters can be painted different colors and the smaller rides can be decorated with themes. Plus, with the added Trick Bots, you can mix and match pieces of themes - a rocket ship here, a giant teddy bear head there.

The park itself is more creative than ever. We only explored a few of the game's 15 new motifs, but what we saw was wonderfully inventive. In Candyville, tourists strolled past towering lollipops and crossed bridges constructed of extra large chocolate bars. In Battleville, army planes zipped through the sky and statuesque soldiers comically wrestled with their own weapons. And in Frostyville, penguins zipped over the guests' heads as an animatronic snowman aimed snowballs at them from high above.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!