Carnival Games

Carnival Games Review

Cheesy. Stupid. Fun.

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

Carnival Games is also available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

ESRB Everyone 10+ rating

Video games should be about having fun and that's what Carnival Games is here to provide so convert your cash into a pocketful of tokens and get ready to challenge a few friends to some ridiculous mini-games.

Carnival Games screenshot 1
Batter Up will test your timing skills as well as your attention span

More often than not, it's great fun to take a break from ultra-realistic games simply to play something mindless and goofy and Carnival Games is exactly that. It features 20 mini-games within 4 themed areas which mostly resemble games that you'd find in an arcade or at the midway. The impressive part about this is that most of them are actually fun in their own quirky way. You'll find classic attractions like shooting galleries, Skee-Ball, basketball, bowling, and even a game where you try and knock over clown heads. In addition to these, there are plenty of imaginative games like ones where you fly a drone through a tube-like course, roller-skate while collecting orbs, ride around on pigs, try and carry pancakes across an obstacle course, and bounce on a trampoline to collect bananas while trying not to slip in puddles of pee (apparently). Heck, one game closely resembles Balloon Fight and it's surprisingly quite enjoyable.

Carnival Games is meant to be a four player experience. However, if you don't have enough players then AI opponents will gladly fill any empty spots. I highly recommend playing with friends because Carnival Games is such a cheesy and goofy game that it'll make anyone laugh out loud whether it's at the game or with it. Either way, you'll still be laughing and having a great time. Carnival Games wears this sense of fun on its sleeve. For starters, the host tells the dumbest jokes you've ever heard but they're always appropriate for the current game and they're so bad that I couldn't help but laugh whenever the overenthusiastic presenter flapped his goofy gums. Of course, if you're some sort of jaded doofus then this game obviously isn't for you so why the heck are you even reading this? Anyway, the cheesy nature of the game extends to its visuals which, although filled with silliness, are undeniably bad.

Carnival Games screenshot 2
Controlling your drone in Light Speed can be frustrating to say the least

As you play Carnival Games, you'll amass a wealth of tickets like you would if you were playing these sorts of games in real life. You can use these tickets to buy custom gear for your created character but that's a waste because you have to use them to unlock many of the mini-games. Yes, you read that right. For some reason, the developers thought it was a good idea to lock half of the content and force you to gain enough currency to purchase the rest. Needless to say, doing so in a party game takes a lot away from the experience. These sorts of purchases should only be for bells and whistles, not the games themselves. Plus, unlocking everything requires too many tickets so it very quickly becomes a tedious exercise. Whoever thought this was a good idea should be chased with pitchforks.

Update: Version 1.0.2 November 21, 2018

Since writing this review, a patch released that substantially lowered the cost of unlocking games. Each locked game only costs 25 tickets to unlock now which is a lot less than before and you can essentially unlock the entire collection within one sitting. It's still silly that there are locked games in the first place but this update definitely makes the process a lot less tedious.

Aside from the poor graphics and locked content, the only other substantial complaint that I have about Carnival Games is that some of the games are downright confusing to control. First of all, I played this on Switch and at the beginning, every game is controlled with buttons but after achieving high scores in most games, you unlock a motion controls option for the corresponding games. However, this doesn't help with making the controls less confusing. If anything, the motion controls only add more confusion. Some examples include the drone flying mini-game Light Speed which I simply can't figure out how to play effectively no matter how hard I try as well as games that involve aiming left and right because doing so is way too sensitive thus making you constantly point in extreme directions.

Carnival Games screenshot 3
It's called Meteor Storm here but it'll always be Skee-Ball to me!

It may not have good graphics and it's definitely dripping with cheese but there's no denying just how much fun you and a few friends can have with Carnival Games. Most of the mini-games offer good times and the overall sense of fun is top-notch.

  • + Variety of enjoyable mini-games
  • + Playing with friends is a blast
  • + Cheesy presentation and host are actually quite hilarious
  • - Unlocking stuff is just plain tedious
  • - Some games have annoying controls
  • - Although funny, the visuals are generally still undeniably bad
6.7 out of 10
Gameplay video for Carnival Games 5:13
Super NES Classic Edition Trivia

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