Monday, October 29, 2007

Review: All I was missing was kettlecorn and cotton candy ...

If you long for the fun of the carnival, yet don't want to deal with sketchy folks, smelly animals and the hot sun beating down on you, check out 'Carnival Games' on the Nintendo Wii.

The game, developed by Cat Daddy Games and published by 2K Games, is a wholesome, fun family adventure.

You start out making an avatar - which in itself is a riot - and then enter the carnival.

It's perfect for a party and/or small children.

Step right up!

The game features all of the money-sucking minigames you'd find at the State Fair and traveling carnivals, but with a twist. You earn a ticket to use on prizes. And unlike the real carnival, you only use tickets on certain attractions. Most games allow you to earn at least one ticket. You also earn prizes (small, medium, large and grand) and you can upgrade your prizes too.

After playing the minigames and earning prizes, you can unlock so-called Super Games. There are two Super Games per alley.

Further down the midway ...

The games in 'Carnival Games' range from Shooting Gallery to the infamous dunking booth. All of the games require just the Wii remote, but it's still a hoot.

And just like the real carnival games, the games get harder the more you win. Take, for instance, the Buckets of Fun minigame. You know the drill - you toss a ball into a bucket leaning against the wall. The first shot is pretty easy. The second one is nearly half of the size and more difficult, and only 'The Rocket' could hit the even smaller basket on the third try.

There's also a minigame called 'Going Nutz' that pits you as a basket-carrying squirrel against falling nuts. The more nuts you collect in your basket, the better. You earn a ticket for each nut you catch. The game will cost you 25 tickets.

Making it rain

The game that I loved the most was shooting ducks and shooting hoops. Yes, a flick of the wrist and the talented Mr. Basketball, Steve Alford, will be asking you to try out for the Lobos. I am truly amazed with what you can do with the Wii remote.

The graphics are ok - you didn't buy a Wii for the graphic aspect, and the announcer's voice can get annoying quick. But the gameplay rocks.

Some of the other 25 minigames in the game are: Clown Splash, Milk Can Toss, Nerves of Steel, Lucky Cups, Day at the Races, Test Your Strength, Alley Ball (like Skee Ball), Collection Plate, Spilled Milk, Balloon Darts and Frog Leap.

After playing this solo or with friends (there's multiplayer!!!!), you'll feel like you were all over the midway.

Why should I care: It's a wholesome Wii title filled with 25 minigames, including the coin-sucking Push-a-Prize (you know the game - you drop a coin in hopes of winning more coins being *shoveled* into a hole) and the infamous Great Swami. You can play this with friends and never get bored.

Asking price: $39.99

The good: 25 - count them - 25 minigames. Enough said.

The bad: The carnival rigging goes digital, baby!

The ugly: Your avatar has no arms. What's up with that?!

Overall: 8 (out of 10) - I loved it. While it's no "Bioshock" or "Test Drive Unlimited," it's still a good departure from mainstream video games. And it offers several creative uses for the Wii remote. If you have a party coming up and you have a Wii? Get this title. If you have small children and don't want them exposed to 'Big Daddies' on "Bioshock?" Get this title. If you love thinking about sweet Moriarty corn, funnel cakes and fried Twinkies months after the State Fair has come and gone, get this title. It's virtual fun without the tickets, tokens, the heat and the adventure of finding a parking space AND fighting the crowds of the State Fair.

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