Thrillville: Off The Rails
I probably got more mileage out of Roller Coaster Tycoon (RCT) 2 and 3 compared to any other simulator game out there, though SimCity came in close second. I enjoyed RCT 2 and 3 mainly because I liked building things from the ground up and being able to be as OCD as I wanted regarding colors, prices, and ride design. I still load up RCT 3 when I can, when I have the time. When I saw Thrillville: Off The Rails on sale on Steam, I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it fared up with my sense of nostalgia.
Thrillville throws the user into a park and tasks players with completing a number of missions, spread out over five different categories. Complete enough of these missions and you’ll be able to move on to the next park. The missions offer a gold, silver, or bronze trophy so that players can be as OCD as they want about getting those high scores. Most of those missions come in the form of mini games, though some are related to building certain rides in such a way that results in having certain stats.
The minigames are simplistic and fun, ranging from tank simulator games to Guitar Hero-esque cheerleader sequences. You can play the rides you place…in fact, earning a certain score or beating a park guest at some of them will more than likely be some of the missions you will need to complete. If you are worried that you will run out different kinds of minigames to play, don’t be, as there are plenty…though you will find some of them to be quite repetitious and tedious after a while.
A theme park wouldn’t be complete without roller coasters. You can build your roller coasters from the ground up or pick from one of the premade ones. Unlike Roller Coaster Tycoon, you are given a few premade start and finish stations. You also are given a few areas for other rides and shops, but you aren’t able to build anywhere you want. This can take the fun out of planning a theme park best suited to your style and tastes.
You can also talk to park guests in Thrillville. There is even a “like” bar that goes up or down, depending on what subjects you bring up. Anyone that is paying attention will be able to see which topics brings down the bar and which ones to focus on to bring it up. Some missions require you to do this, which can be downright annoying at times.
Is Thrillville BETTER than RCT 3, which is the latest RCT game? Honestly, I’m not willing to make that comparison, and honestly it wouldn’t be fair. Both games offer something that the other doesn’t. Thrillville, in my opinion, dumbs down the building and park planning, but adds hooks via its many mini games and the mission system. Those that didn’t like trying to figure out how coaster building worked, or how park management operated in RCT 3 may find Thrillville more to their liking. Those expecting a deep, create your own park simulator on the other hand, may be disappointed by not being able to build anywhere they want.
All in all, the game IS worth the money when it is on sale, I believe I got it for $4.99 at one point in time. Even the current, full price of $9.99 is still more than fair for the amount of time you’ll sink into playing the mini games, if you like that sort of thing. I personally come back to this game from time to time when I’m looking for something casual to play.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can see video play sessions here: