Carnival Games


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Complete Review & Description

When you have a fancy new toy that you spent at least several hundred on, it’s nice to be able to show it off – I’ve hosted multiple “VR parties” myself. For that reason I have a great need for party games based around the PlayStation VR. Carnival Games on the Wii was an awesome party game that allowed character customisation and for you to take on your friends. Carnival Games VR manages to both fill in another slot of my game library as a party game, while also utterly failing at it.
Currently, Carnival Games VR is out on both the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR with plans to come to the Oculus Rift at a later date. I played on the PlayStation VR with two move controllers which are required.

Carnival Games VR feels like party game – the sort of thing you bring out to have a good laugh with your friends. It really depends on your sense of humour, and ability to poke fun at each other. Disappointingly, passing the headset is the only way to share the experience. Considering some of the games in the Playroom VR, it doesn’t seem like too much of an ask for a proper couch co-op game. Also given it’s history on the Wii, Carnival Games VR feels like it should be a co-op title, but it isn’t.
All of the twelve games are enjoyable, though to varying degrees. My favourites were Golden Arm and Funnel Cake Stacker where you knock down milk jugs and catch funnel cakes thrown in your general direction. Alley Ball is a easier version of skee ball where you can both roll the ball up the radio and just throw it to get a higher score. Haunted Mansion is a scaled down version of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, but still a lot of fun.

Ring Toss, Shooting Gallery and the Climbing Wall are all pretty self explanatory, though the climbing wall is really a different sort of adventure. I’ve never been good at rock climbing and in virtual reality that holds true, just with a lot less pain and a lot more fun. Down the Stretch, Pop Darts, Swish and Shark Tank are all expected carnival games that include throwing balls, throwing darts and throwing balls again. You get the point, there’s a lot of throwing. Fast Pitch changes that up by requiring you to catch a ball that often feels as if it should have hit you rather painfully in the face.
When you first start off you are locked in one area with only a few games, and you need to earn tickets to unlock new ones. Tickets are also used to buy prizes to fill your play area. It’s not exactly the best start, with a sense of dread that you’re going to have to play the meagre offerings over and over again to move on. Fortunately it doesn’t take too long, and it is enjoyable.

Carnival Games VR offers bright and playful visuals. You step into a fair ground surrounded by large buildings, tall statues (of your mustachioed guide), and a mismatch of different areas that leaves you with a desire to explore, and experience each game.
The great thing about Carnival Games VR’s cheery exterior is that it is the sort of game which can easily attract new VR players. It’s easy to convince others to play, quick to get into, simple to explain, and move controllers are much nicer to start with than a full on PS4 controller. It also features a play area that works brilliantly as an experience for new VR players to get used to the controls and the headset.
There is a certain freedom to the game. Once you have a softball in your hand feel free to turn around and throw it at the host or any of the strange human-animal hybrids (they could just be masks, but I’m not convinced). While the carnival guests will duck, your host will yell about his kidneys. You know you were expected to throw something at him at least once. Probably more times considering the mildly insulting comments he makes about your aim in most of the games.
Carnival Games VR doesn’t give a recommendation as to playing sitting down or standing up. Two games, Alley Ball and Down the Stretch are obviously made for standing while Haunted Mansion is a sit down on rails shooter. The variety of games is awesome, but I feel as if all games should be either standing if sitting to minimise all the chances of tripping over a misplaced chair. Speaking of chairs though, I have discovered that wheely chairs that can rotate are the best possible chair to play a VR game on.

Sadly – outside of the party situation – I have very little want to go back and play Carnival Games VR. I’ve played all the minigames, I’ve gotten pretty good scores, and frankly I don’t care where I am on the global scoreboards, or about the other prizes I can earn at each booth. Will I bring Carnival Games VR out again? Definitely! But I won’t be doing it alone.



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