Friday, March 21, 2008

Thrillville: Off the rails Demo

So, Thrillville is a kids title. It starts off promising enough in terms of offering cool character customization. The intro movie is a little long, but it looks like a tycoon-type game where you get to build roller coasters. Sounds like fun to me.

There's no real learn-as-you-play:

  • On game start, you get 3-4 billboards (A for next).
  • While this was brief enough, it was still lame. There's no reason I couldn't discover those hints while I wandered through the level. Non-grounded hints have limited value.
Game play:
  • The 3rd person exploration camera is nauseating: It rotates too quickly, has too much gravity, and snaps back too quickly.
  • I jumped into the bumper car game
    • Not all that fun (no good sound or force feedback)
    • It was impossible to tell how I was doing compared to my competitors (I have no idea why I came in 5th)
    • When you only have two buttons for controls on a car racing game (accelerate and brake) why not have the buttons duplicated with RT and LT as well (standard racing convention)?
  • Now I'm on roller coaster. I can look around with the stick by default, but really the best view is from the external cam.
    • It's not all that fun -- I didn't build it and am not very attached to it.
    • I sold it.
    • I want to build a custom roller coaster, but I'm not sure I can. I seem to only be able to choose from prefabs.
  • I tried a dirt bike challenge. It was kind of fun in the way that some free web games are fun (mastering a new skill). But it's not something I would expect to pay money for.
  • It looks like the game is more of a tycoon game that, if you want to, you can choose to ride the rides if you get bored of the standard god-game component.
All in all, this seemed much more like an XBLA title. I would really want to test it with kids (10+) to see whether they would find it more exciting than I did -- or whether this is more of a marketer's idea of what he/she thinks kids might like.

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