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Review: Carnival Island

Posted by on November 19th, 2011 | 4 Comments | Tags:

I’ll admit that when I first saw Carnival Island, my thought was “oh great, another Move minigame compilation”. Of course, that’s what Carnival Island is. What I didn’t expect is for it to be so thoroughly polished and inventively put together. A true joy to play, Carnival Island does everything it needs to do, and even goes the extra mile to provide a cohesive experience for the single player game.

When you first start the game, you’re treated to a wonderfully done animated cutscene that does a great job of setting the tone for your little jaunt around this seemingly abandoned theme park. Playing as either a boy or a girl, you’re going to have to travel to each area of the park and restore the rides to get the Carnival back into full working order. Of course, “full working order” here actually means turning the Ferris Wheel into a giant propeller and taking to the skies, but that’s beside the point. The plot may very well be window dressing, but it’s very pretty window dressing indeed.

Of course, pretty scenery counts for nothing if what you’re doing in those spaces isn’t particularly interesting or fun. Thankfully, Carnival Island comes filled to the brim with activities to partake in. There are 7 basic activities, but roughly 5 variations on the same controls within each game station. For instance, one variation of the shooting game has you chasing thieving racoons away from sacks of cash, whilst another has you hitting coloured balls with your pellets, avoiding other ones that lose you points. The game are simple and require little explanation, but that just leads to being able to pick them up and generally feel satisfied in your own abilities.

Thankfully, your abilities are all you need to rely on. Carnival Island’s motion controls are extraordinarily precise. Controlling each game felt swift and natural, with the movements I’d actually make in real life translating into Carnival Island’s world perfectly. Of course, some games take much needed liberties with motion controls, such as the basketball one, but those games are still fun in their own right. Special mention goes to the game where you swing a ball to knock over coloured blocks with point values. You can tell that Magic Pixel has some Boom Blox veterans stowed away somewhere.

Carnival Island is a heap of good clean fun that doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It’s fun with friends, with the expected selection of pass and play modes, and the single player does a good job of rewarding you with those lovely animated cut-scenes after you restore all the games in a sector. All in all, it’s just so saccharine that you can’t help but smile when playing it.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Voice acting is sometimes grating, but there isn't enough of it to truly aggravate

  • Bob

    What’s with all the occult symbolism in this game? I guess they gotta get ’em while they’re young, huh?

    • The what… I haven’t played it at all but can you elaborate?

    • Ben Jones

      The WHAT?

  • THE WHAT?!?!