Carnival Funfair Games Review
Cat Daddy Games / Take Two Interactive
Since being released 12 months ago, Nintendo's Wii console has been host to numerous mini-game compilations. Following the big N's wise move of providing Wii Sports as a pack-in game with each machine sold, it became clear that the casual market would lap up these titles and so we've had the pleasure of experiencing more of their efforts such as WarioWare: Smooth Moves and Wii Play along with third party releases like Rayman: Raving Rabbids. Carnival Funfair Games sees little known developer Cat Daddy Games jumping on this ever so lucrative bandwagon with twenty five mini-games based around all those stalls you've been invited to "step right up" to by a scary looking man, only this time there's no promise of a goldfish in a plastic bag as a prize.
Upon starting the game the player is asked to create an on screen persona, similar to the Mii Channel. While this is fairly limited as far as facial features and hair styles go, it more than makes up for it in clothing and accessories, most of which will need to be unlocked as prizes for success in the various games on offer.
Each mini-game is controlled exclusively with the Wii remote to varying degrees of success; the shooting gallery uses the IR sensor to aim and B trigger to fire, throwing games use similar motions to Wii Sports Baseball pitching and so on. In the main, the controls work well, but in certain games - the mini golf inspired Hole In One and the "move the ring along the electrified wire" Nerves O Steel spring to mind - the poor use of the remote simply removes all chances of enjoyment from the experience.
Carnival Funfair Games' main drawback is the failing of most games in the genre - depth. There really is very little here that you'll want to revisit after a few goes and after just a couple of hours any player over the age of ten is going to have seen pretty much all this game has to offer. The incentives of accessories and clothing for your character are not all that rewarding and unlocking the secret "super-games" isn't exactly challenging (this is something of a relief however judging by the fact that far from being "super" each one is a rehash of a previous game).
There is fun to be had here though. A handful of the games are quite playable such as Skeeball with its simplified Wii Sports Bowling controls and Clown Splash which offers an entertaining slant on the shooting gallery as you have to "pump" your remote to get enough pressure to shoot water into your clown's mouth. Throw a couple of friends into the mix and a highly entertaining evening of multiplayer action can ensue, just don't expect the fun to last much longer before everything becomes tired and repetitive.
Overall Carnival Funfair Games does exactly what you'd expect of a game with that title. It's a well presented selection of games, executed with varying success. Where it does fall down is in failing to provide anywhere near as much depth or value for money as it's competitors in the genre. Wii Sports came free with the console; Wii Play came with a controller; both offer far more longevity. While Take Two have (quite rightly) slapped a budget price tag onto this title, there are just too many stronger titles in the saturated party / mini-game genre on Wii which prevent this from being anything other than mediocre.
6 out of 10