PS3 Review – Carnival Island

Have you ever been sitting in front of your gaming console and had the desire to visit the carnival, only you didn’t want to leave the house? Sony might just have the solution for you, with the Move controlled game, Carnival Island, from developer Magic Pixel. The PlayStation Move has just passed its first year on the market and Sony is trying its best to win over the family crowd, however this might be a bit lacking to provide enough staying power in the home.

Playing the game as a pair of mute siblings, you stumble across two lost tickets and from there the magic begins. You will now be tasked with reviving the magic of the carnival and its cast of lovable pets that inhabit it. There is no narrative to push your through the game but the cut-scenes featured throughout are beautifully done and give the game a fair amount of charm. With the game essentially boiling down to a set of mini-games, the story aspect wasn’t really needed but did breathe a little fresh air into the game.

In the story mode, you will find yourself in a carnival that has four different sections to play through, with each section featuring four different booths to visit. Two of the booths in each area will feature a collection of mini-games, while the other two are inhabited by a balloon vendor and a nice old granny selling prizes. The areas are each unique and well done, with more life coming to them as you play through the games available. Each game booth houses five games to play, with each game featuring around nine challenges that you can try to compete.

The games featured are what you would expect from any sort of state fair you might have been to. This is the coin toss, ski-ball, basketball hoops, and plenty more. Each of these games are extremely easy to learn and the motion controller works great, with the movements easy to handle for kids of all ages. While it is nice that the games are so easy to pick up and play, it would have been nice to see a bit more difficulty with some of the Hero level challenges. The good part is, the mini-games are extremely quick, so you never feel like you are stuck on a particular game for too long, which is a great thing for kids. However, for those people a bit older, the games can feel a bit void of any depth, with some of them growing old fairly quickly.

To add a bit of depth to the game, you can unlock tickets as you complete the games and various pets. The tickets can be used in the game to purchase different animal balloons or prizes for your character to carry around. Unfortunately, all you can do with these purchases is carry them around the park, giving players literally no need to collect them, other than to collect some easy trophies. The pets you unlock also serve very little purpose other than trophies and some quick cuteness factor for the kids, as you can collect over 20 pets but only a set of 9 can be picked from as “your” pet when you start the game.

Aside from the story mode of the game, which can be completed in around 2 hours, the game also features a party mode. Here, you can have 2-4 players going at it with either one or two move controllers. You only have two options in this mode; either pick and play, where you select the 5 games you want in your playlist, or just play, where the game randomly selects five games for your round. A tiny cool feature here is that when you pass the move controller to the next player, the wand changes color for that player, creating an easy way to remember whose turn it is. Also, if you play two players with two motion controllers, you get to play all the mini-games side by side, adding for some very fun competitions. The party mode is really where the game does shine, as it is quick hitting and fun for the whole family. It also helps that everything is unlocked for the party mode, so if you don’t want to do the story mode, you don’t have to bother.

The presentation in the game is great, from the sexy looking cut scenes to the simple and easy to use interface. The menu throughout the game never feels too cumbersome and with a quick click of a button, you are in a game and playing. Load times are there during the game but are minimal, with the time loading between islands lasting 10-15 seconds as the most.

Overall, the game is too short, even for a minigame, but each minigame is rather enjoyable – especially for younger children. Good presentation and an easy menu, make it a decent bargain bin Move game, even if you will be left feeling like half the game is missing.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Quick and Easy to Pick up and Play

– Lack of Difficulty or Depth

+ Smooth Motion Controls

6 out of 10