Review: Carnival Games

Review: Carnival Games
Review: Carnival Games

When you were younger, chances were that local fairs and traveling amusement parks came to your town at least once or twice. In memory of those sorts of times 2K Games have released Carnival Games, a title that boasts over 25 games including Dunk Tank, Test Your Strength, Ring Toss, and Clown Splash. Yes, these are the games that brought fun to the days and nights of your youth. Times of fairy floss, popcorn, and big lollipops that let you remember what it's like to truly be a kid.

Carnival Games comes with a lot of variety and you can play with up to four people at any given time. You'll earn tickets if you do well and you can spend these on prizes.

Being a Nintendo Wii game, you'd expect that the controls would be intuitive and creative. You'll hold the remote and do things like throw darts, roll balls, and pump water guns so you can shoot clowns. Carnival Games even tries to blend the experience of being a true carnival by adding the same sort of fairground music and cheesy over the top spruikers just like in real life.

But you know how in real life, when you play these games you often feel cheated? Well, Carnival Games ultimately leaves you with that feeling.

You'll realise the sort of predicament you've found yourself in when you start the game and you find that you have to create a character for yourself. Not being given a lot of choices is a bad sign but worse is that 2K Games didn't take advantage of the Mii character system found on the Wii.

Once you're past the character creation, you'll find yourself in a game that more or less consists of wandering around a weak menu system and then entering games that try to be like the real thing but often end up being little more than poorly executed mini-games.

For example, there's the coveted "Test Your Strength" game that no fair is complete without. The manual says its a game of "timing and physical might" when really it's actually just a test of timing and waving your Wii-mote around for no apparent reason. You make a pumping action in the air and then swing down with the controller... because, well yeah, that's just like the game!

You'll play these games and more to win tickets that can help you to buy virtual prizes for your character or participate in more games. There's even special Alley Arcade games like the "The Great Swami", a memory from the Tom Hanks movie "Big" that lets the fortune teller answer any question you have.

Ultimately, Carnival Games' biggest problem is that it's a truly unnecessary game. A carnival's greatest asset is the feeling you get when you're out with your friends and family having fun amongst everyone else. Between the rides and games, fairs survive because they're a fun experience.
Carnival Games could be fun if it were more finely tuned and the controls weren't half-heartedly executed, but advertising the game with "over 250 virtual prizes to be won" just isn't the same as going home with a big fluffy teddy bear.

Should you buy it?: I wouldn't.

Developer: Cat Daddy Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Classification: G
Formats: Nintendo Wii
URL: Carnival Games

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

Related Stories