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Carnival games was part of the first blush of titles aiming to capitalise on the Wii's unusual controls, and public response to Wii-Sports. Along with EA's Playground, Midway's Game Party and Ubisoft's Rayman Raving Rabbits it showed what games developers outside of Nintendo themselves could do with their controller.
Party games provide short bursts of fun themed around novel leisure activities. In contrast to sports games that try and recreate the whole experience, party games take one element and create a game around that.
As their name suggests party games are designed to be played with multiple players and work well in a party situation - either an after dinner event or a novelty in the corner of the room throughout the evening.
Carnival games lives up to its name in delivering a wide range of fairground, and end of pier activities. Whether it's toss the hoop on the bottle, or burst the balloons each event is both styled and controlled with all the 'roll up, roll up' circus zest of their real life counterparts.
The games all make use of solid gesture control but are not as innovative as offerings from the other developers mentioned above. There is also an omission of many games that can be played against other players in groups, although you can a lot of them at the same time as other players.
Much like a board game, party games provide an opportunity to get the whole family involved. Simple controls and addictive activities make playing the same game over and over surprising fun. And if the interface is simple enough for younger gamers to navigate, it can also provide some respite for parents.
The games take two to five minutes each to play, and are bundled together in the multiplayer into groups of five. If this is too long for a quick after dinner game you can pick a single activity. Although they will take a little longer to perfect you will have played the majority of games in your first three or four hours with the game. Then it is down to the replay value of the game and the nominal prizes you can collect to keep you playing.
Although this is a gesture based game like Wii-Sports, the majority of the Wii-mote use is pointing and flicking. Therefore you need considerable less space to play, and can partake in most activities sitting down.
The circus imagery in the game makes it ideal for younger players, although may be off putting to more experienced players. The games themselves match the graphics style, again playing to a younger or novice audience looking for simple enjoyable experiences rather than in depth play mechanics.
Many of the games use the Wii-mote pointing ability, something that is notoriously tricky for very young players to master. While more dexterous players will take this in their stride, a few games combine pointing with a flicking gesture - something that turns out to be surprisingly tricky.
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