Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Thrillville gives players an experience as bright, busy, and ADD-inflicting as a real amusement park: New thrills and challenges keep luring you away. In one game, you get to play CEO, patron, and peon. You're charged with a series of five parks, with full responsibility for prices, marketing, and of course, building and testing new rides—each with its own mini-game. You'll also have to chat up the guests to elicit feedback, talk up the new rides, or just flirt and fool around. But don't get too full of yourself; you also have to teach the groundskeepers how to hose vomit off the sidewalk; when you put your manager hat back on, you may want to stick to rides with a low "nausea" rating.

Thrillville offers something for everyone, but like chili dogs, fried dough, and Pop Rocks, good things don't always mix going down. It's hard to care about playing a pseudo-Halo shooter when you're driving your finances back into shape, and keeping up with your ad campaigns can fall by the wayside when you're designing a custom coaster. It doesn't help that the mini-games on the attractions are such a mixed bag: some, like "Saucer Sumo," are fast and challenging, but others will be one-time diversions. You'll be extremely busy when you get started. Luckily, the game is forgiving, so you don't have to worry about going out of business if you'd rather go off and train cheerleaders. It's your park; have fun with it.


Beyond the game: Thrillville comes with a "party mode" where you can play the mini-games against your friends. But it missed the boat by not letting you hang around the parks together, making a ruckus like rowdy teenagers.

Worth playing for: Talking with the guests is surprisingly engrossing. The dialogue options include an arsenal of cheap compliments and weird factoids, and the responses are often surprising.

Frustration sets in when: A few more controls would have made your job easier—say, a mini-map, a calendar, and a display of your funds that doesn't vanish right when you're buying new attractions.

Final judgment: Good clean fun—but mind the vomit.