STAFF REVIEW of Thrillville (Xbox)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006.
by Adam Rivard

Thrillville Box art Lucasarts has sent out a new game called Thrillville for the Xbox console. What makes it so unique? In a nutshell, Thrillville is unique because it sucks you in with its simplistic gameplay and focus on fun. Lucasarts developed this theme park based game to bring everything gamers love from party games mixed thoroughly with sim games to all Xbox owners. It is basically what the party-genre users are paying for: simple games, original/exciting gameplay, and a title in which the graphics take a back seat as the good old-fashioned gameplay takes control.

Thrillville is basically a theme park simulator and practically every activity you do is presented as a minigame. The main goal of the game is to build, maintain and manage theme parks; after your uncle decides to turn the park over to you. When you first start the game you will be presented by cut scenes followed by tutorials. Once you finish the tutorials you will be equipped with all the fundamentals you?ll need to manage your park. You will have learned the essentials of how to keep your parks business and financial side healthy as well as all the different things you will need to build such as restrooms, food and beverage stands, etc.

Your park will also have you create new roller coasters, rides and carnival games. You also can?t forget about your parks cleanliness and safety; that is why you will need to hire and train some staff to take care of these tasks such as cleaning up puke and garbage or fixing rides. When a ride breaks down; the technician you order to fix the ride will be presented with a simple connect the circuits minigame; which keeps the game fresh.

Thrillville then lets you walk through the park and interact with your guests, polling them on what's working, what's not and then altering your park accordingly. While roaming your park on foot you can introduce yourself to guest by simply pressing Y. A screen will pop up tell you about the overall status of this particular guest including there hunger, happiness, thirst etc? Get this you can even flirt with guests in your park but be weary as it will affect your friendliness rating. You can also ask them for opinions or suggests them to try a certain rollercoaster. Chatting with guest is the best way to figure out how to improve the park. The chat options are to my surprise very delightful and decently deep.

Now for the coaster-building portion of Thrillville. For a game with many different types of coaster and a whole butt load of different pieces and types of track, there's actually very little work involved in creating your ultimate puke-train. Once the ride is complete, you can hop in the front seat and take it for a spin, and you can edit the coaster on the fly if you find that a twist or a loop is not quite to your liking.

In terms of replay value, the carnival games offer the most. Anyone who has attended an amusement park in their life has probably spent a few dollars into the lightgun shooting ranges, crashed around in bumper cars or played a couple rounds of miniature golf. Well, Thrillville lets you include those games in your own themepark as well, and just like the roller-coasters, you can actually take them for a test ride. Really cool feature.

So, if you?re going to be creating a custom mini-putt course for your guests, you can play the course for yourself. Or if you create a bumper car arena or go-kart track, feel free to hop in the vehicle and take a ride. You can even design your own shooting range and play through it like a first-person shooter.

In Thrillville, customization is key, but not to the point where it?s overwhelming. LucasArts knows that console players don?t necessarily want to tweak every financial aspect. But the option is there if you want to go into details.

Now don?t get me wrong this is defiantly not going to be mistaken as a 360 game anytime soon but considering the amount of guest in your park at a time and the size of the park defiantly can be overwhelming sometimes. Yes the characters are a little blocky but if you can get passed the fact that this game was not created for the eye candy, and let yourself enjoy the simplistic thrill of being a park managager and playing the very addictive minigames then you will be able to recognize and appreciate what this game is trying to do.

Technically speaking, the game likely won?t blow you away. Like I said the character models are a little blocky and a little bit on the cartoony side; but they?re innocent looking and play their roles adequately, but the look of the game could have been smoothed out a bit. Sound wise the effects are very good, such as the background noise of peeps talking, screaming and shouting. The new age hippy music is suitable, not necessarily good listening but suitable for a theme park game.

In terms of gameplay, Thrillville could be one of the last Xbox releases that?s actually worth your hard earned money. Overall Thrillville is a decent game.

Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.6 / 10
Visuals: 6.8 / 10
Sound: 7.2 / 10


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