GAME NAME: Carnival Island
DEVELOPER(S): Magic Pixel Games
RELEASE DATE(S): 18 November 2011
Carnival Island is that unopened bag of chips at a party. No one eats them until someone is brave enough to actually open them. Before long, without even realising it you have finished the whole bag, even though you didn’t quite feel like the chips in the first place, yet there you go, finished. Carnival Island is a game you would never put on, but if someone did you would play it because it was ‘there’.
Carnival Island does an adequate job of bringing the atmosphere of a carnival to your home, or as close as can be for something on your TV. The premise is a carnival devoid of any colour or atmosphere at all, and as a child who discovers the carnival, you must finish challenges to bring life back to the theme park.
The games are played using the Playstation Move controller and once in the theme park you have a choice of four different areas. Each area has a set of your typical sideshow games, including Ringers, Frog Toss, Coin Toss, Shooting Gallery, Ski-Ball, Hoops and Throwdown. Each game has five different versions, for example on the first Ringers level you need to get rings around bottles while on the second level you need to get the rings around rockets. The variations are essentially the same, but with different challenges per level the skill required is altered slightly, bringing a decent amount of variation.
With 9 challenges for each of the mini games Carnival Island can keep you busy for a little while, though it is not likely to keep your attention for days on end. Apart from the side show games, players can also visit the balloon shop and prize store where you exchange tickets you have collected for a prize or balloon. Sadly though, the prizes are unrelated to anything in-game, and are simply a reason to collect tickets. Integrating your prizes into the games would have been a welcome addition.
Carnival Island also has a ‘funny mirror’ section where you can choose from a few different effects and then take a photo of yourself or anything in your surroundings, with supposedly amusing results. Lastly, you are able to take control of a remote controlled airplane using your Move control to direct it. This is a pointless exercise as you can only go in circles, making it a rather wasteful aspect of the game.
The multiplayer side is not overly different to the single player, except that you and a friend can have a go at the games, while trying to better each other’s score. The multiplayer sections are fun enough to play through but do not add any real value to the game.
Carnival Island makes good use of the Move controller, the accuracy of the Move is coupled nicely with the mini games you need to play. That being said, none of the games are overly complex, nor do they push the Move technology to show what it is actually capable of.
When the bag of chips is finished, despite an enjoyable experience, you have not really gained anything from it whether you shared with friends or ate it by yourself. You may regret eating the whole bag, or wonder how you managed to finish it even, but after a little while, you won’t give it much thought again. Carnival Island is just that, a fun experience while it lasts, but not something you have to have. Or even remember.