WiiNintendo Review: Carnival Games
Another Wii Party Mini-Game!!??!!
Yes, yes it is. Now that is out of the way, you’ll be pleased to know that this is hands down the best Wii party mini game since Wii Sports. Wii Play, Monkey Ball, Wario Ware, Mario Party all had their mini game moments, but for me when I test a party game there is only one way to determine its quality/fun factor as a game in that genre, play the game at a party of course.
I brought Carnival Games to a labor day party this past Sunday and rounded up 8 or so people to gather round and play the game. We had gamers, non gamers, and casual gamers all lined up and ready to play and to be honest a lot of alcohol floating around too. One thing that stood out to me right away is that instead of the few dudes there, who would have been in the backyard playing beer pong, were instead pumped to play ring toss on the Wii.
Carnival Games is designed for up to four players and features over 25 of the most popular games that I’ve played at the Jersey Shore, arcades, Dave and Busters, and county fairs when I was little, including:
Clown Splash – Shake the Wiimote to build up water pressure in your water gun, then aim the Wiimote at the screen into the clowns mouth. The more accurate you are the quicker you’ll fill the balloon on top the clowns head, first to pop it wins.
Milk Can Toss – A green target will move around the 3 stacked Milk cans, you simply make a throwing motion with the Wiimote to throw the ball at the milk cans, no buttons.
Nerves of Steel – Guide a ring around a metal coil by twisting and moving the Wiimote. Your score is constantly dropping the longer it takes and it takes a significant drop if you touch the ring to the metal
Lucky Cups – You’re presented with 100 or so colored cups, aim your target with the Wiimote and hit “A” to lock the target, then use an underhand or frisbee motion to toss a ball onto the cups, again no button to release. The majority of the cups are blue (0 points), so you want to hit red, green, or gold.
Hoops – This is played with all 4 players at once (split screen x 4) you have a timer and you simple make a basketball shot motion with the Wiimote to see how many baskets you can sink (no buttons). If your ball goes off a little a green target will show you were you just hit so you can adjust the next throw to compensate.
Day at the Races – This is played with all 4 players at once (split screen x 4) you have 4 horses above representing each player. The object is to roll a ball up a board into holes. Each whole has a different value 50, 25, 10. The higher the value the further your horse will move towards the goal. With this game you aim the Wiimote in the direction you want to throw then make an underhand or frisbee type motion.
Dunk Tank – Some hick is sitting in a dunk tank making not so funny remarks. The goal is to hit the target to sink him. Players go one at a time, you have a circular green target that moves around the actual bullseye target, you have to time your throw so that the green target matches the bullseye target. It’s actually pretty hard and I used a counting method in my head to time my throw. If you hit the target, you’ll be presented with a smaller bullseye and faster moving green target the next time around. This “level” progression exists on most of the games.
Skee Ball – One of my favorite games (in real life too). This one is very similar to Wii Sports Bowling. You don’t get the spin/speed control you get in Wii Sports Bowling, but you do get a very satisfying experience. You can use the D-Pad to move left, right, angle right, angle left. Once your player is in position you make a bowling motion and through your ball down a ramp and launch it up into a hole with varying points. Again, no buttons are used and it works almost flawlessly. Players play one at a time, it would have been neat to have a timed version of this with all four players at once.
Football through Tire – You are a football quarterback trying to hit your target. In between you and you target is a swaying tire swing. You have to throw the ball through the tire and hit your target. No aiming or buttons, just time your swing and make the motion. Each round increases in difficulty, IE the tire spins in a 360 the 2nd time around. Players take turns in this one and you have 10 seconds to make your throw.
Duck Shooting – Much like Wii Plays shooting gallery, you hold the Wiimote like a gun and fire away at metal ducks with targets on them moving horizontally on two rails. All four players are shooting at once, so it gets a little hectic. You’ll have a different color for each player you’ll have to out smart your opponents (I like sitting right at the point where the ducks come in). You have a total of 25 shots, so you’ll have to take that into consideration and also there are red ducks that will take points away.
Target Practice – Aim at the screen and blast away the bullseye on the target with 300 rounds of ammo, you’re judged on what percentage of the target you blast away. We got up to 87%.
Coin Toss – This one works much like Lucky Cups in the fact that you aim your Wiimote at a platform and hit “A” to lock in. What differs is that instead of a flat row of cups you have platforms of different heights and distances. Players take turns and after you lock in you simple make a tossing motion to flick the coin.
Ring Toss – Ring Toss differs from the Coin Toss and Lucky Cups in the fact that you don’t have a target that you lock into. In this game you move your character like you do in Skee Ball or Wii Sports Bowling (Left, right, angle left, angle right). Then you just use the underhand or frisbee motion to toss your ring hopefully landing it on one of the bottle tops.
Frog Launch – Swing your Wiimote like a hamer to launch frogs into the air and try to get themm to land in one of the 6 rotating lilypads.
Ball Rollercoaster – Shake the Wiimote back and forth to build up spin on your bowling ball, the hit “B”, if you have enough spin you’ll get over the first hump on the rail, but if you put too much spin the ball will hit the end and come back over the first hump. It’s a delicate balance, but there is some audio to help you judge the speed your at.
+ a whole lot more
In multi-player mode you have the choose between head to head or competition. Head to head will allow you choose any game and play with up to four players. Competition will randomly pick 5 games, keep score, and then tally them up to find the overall winner.
In addition to the games themselves, players can create customizable characters (sorta, you get 10 or so chooses of your look) you can win over 250 unique, upgradeable virtual prizes in Carnival Games, from a goldfish to a giant stuffed animal twice as big as you are. Additionally, you can win rewards to customize your in-game characters, ranging from a Pirate’s wardrobe to Viking horns.
My friend Ben, who’d rather be playing beer pong, couldn’t stop playing (and cursing at) Carnival Games.
Ok, lets be real here, we’re not running at 60fps, we’re not rendering 30 billion polygons a second, we’re not displaying 400 detailed characters and particle effects all at once, but Carnival games is doing one thing and it’s doing it well, it’s creating an extremely fun and engaging game that hasn’t been as enjoyable since Wii Sports. The group I was with played it for nearly 5 hours straight, we had tournaments, arguments, laughs, jokes, competition, it was intense and easy enough for a party of 12 or so to pick up and play even after a day of too much food and drinks. To sum everything up, this game is better than you’d think it’d be and is one of the Wii’s top “party” games.
A few other things to point out is that you can play most of these games with just a single wiimote (4 users share one Wii remote), no nunchuk required, and it’s only 40$.
As for a rating, WiiNintendo has not had a standard set up for judging video games. I can say it’s a 6/10 on graphics, but that has no context. So, I’ll use IGN’s scores for Wii Play and Wii Sports to give this my overall score:
Wii Sports: 7.5
Carnival Games: 7.0
Wii Play: 5.5