Thrillville: Off the Rails Wii Review

May 29, 2010 by Simon Wigham  
Filed under Nintendo Wii, Reviews

The vast majority of theme park simulations allow you to build a park from scratch, doing everything in your power to appease your paying customers and perhaps being envious at the sheer fun they’re having. Thrillville: Off the Rails, like its predecessor, is very different to this.

For starters, you don’t build your park up from scratch, but rather you begin in an already bustling theme park, which you can put your own stamp on and explore at your leisure. Eventually, with progression through the game you’ll unlock a further four parks to make into success stories.

The game’s interface is pleasingly easy to use, but not without a bit of a learning curve and building rollercoaster’s and racetracks makes smart use of the Wii remote, allowing you to create uphill or downhill areas by just moving the remote up or down, or corners by moving it right or left. It makes sense and it does actually work and what’s more, once you’re finished, you’ll even get the chance to ride them yourself.

But doing such building isn’t as integral to the game as you might think, you see Thrillville: Off the Rails isn’t quite the Theme Park knockoff that the misinformed will think. Eventually you’ll not have to do much in the way of managing for your parks and can concentrate on doing other things, such as completing the missions, finding objects or playing one of the thirty mini-games.

The mini-games are primarily rip offs, or to put it more politely, they pay homage to other games. Bandito Chinchilla is a 2D scrolling fighting game, with charming cartoon graphics, stunt racer is like Excite Bike with rag doll physics etc. There’s also more traditional sideshows and rides such as Test your Strength and Coconut Shy. Many can be played in multiplayer, which makes an already meaty game even leggier and most make use of the Wii’s motion sensing, though not always to the most satisfying degree.

But playing these mini-games all the time isn’t always going to see you making any progress in the primary mode (well it will, but at a painful crawl). To do so, you must complete the many missions that may involve you attempting to beat the score of one of the park customers in a mini-game, or perhaps will task you with building certain rides or repainting existing ones. In typical sandbox fashion, you’ll most often have a choice of missions at any one time to carry out in whatever order you wish, and completing them – as with every other action – will reward you thrill points, which eventually allows you to unlock new parks.

Thrillville: Off the Rails may at first sight appear to be a business simulation in the vein of Theme Park, but as we said, it’s really of quite a different species and, whilst it may not be the most challenging game around, there’s no doubting that with its bright visual style and simplicity, it’s a game that’s approachable for a broad range of gamers – and a very enjoyable one at that.

8/10

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