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Ever fancied being the owner of an Alton Towers or Disney World from the comfort of your own home? Well with Theme Park World you can be! The aim of the game is to build your dream park and keep it running, dealing with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of keeping the rides working and the punters happy. Strategy is all important here--place your burger stand too close to a rollercoaster entrance and the riders will stagger off the attraction and become "unwell" all over the floor. Too much salt on your chips and not enough fizzy pop results in parched visitors who vote with their feet and don't come back--this is not a game for those who like action fast and furious and pick up a game for a quick five minutes now and again.
The user interface is a joy to use, making Theme Park World easy to play; in tutorial mode an interesting park advisor pops up to give tips on what needs to happen, where and when. But it's in the rollercoaster design phase that things get interesting. Lay out the track for your ride in full 3-D, then alter it in differing ways to produce a killer ride: corners can be banked, straights raised and lowered and sections can be added and removed to create the kind of white-knuckle ride Walt and Mickey would be proud of. Then, using the game's first-person mode, check it out from the front seat to get the impression of being there.
Successful park management results in golden tickets being awarded. Collect enough tickets and you can progress to bigger theme parks, each of which presents a unique challenge. The long-term attraction of this game is doubtful, and only significant playing will reveal whether the whole procedure will become a little samey, but for a break from the traditional arcade-style fare usually associated with consoles, Theme Park World holds bags of promise and is a worthwhile investment. --Isabelle Thomas