Carnival: Funfair Games

Carnival: Funfair Games has a few advantages over its real-world counterpart. You won't come home with boatloads of useless tat, and you won't feel ripped off because you have to pay out for each and every activity, even if it last just 30 seconds.

Win or lose, every time you play the ordinary mini-games you earn tickets, and the better the score the more tickets you will get. Also, unless you fail badly at the activity you will get a prize to add to your collection. Tickets can be exchanged for items like hats, masks, accessories and silly shoes that can be used to customise your character. Tickets are also needed to pay for playing certain games.

The funfair is divided into six alleys, each with a set of mini-games. The exception is Prize Boulevard, which is more like a table for viewing the prizes you've already won. There are about 200 of these up for grabs. In addition, there are hidden goodies in some of the games, and a number of games that can only be unlocked by winning the grand prize in certain other games in that alley. Combine that with earning tickets for items to wear, and there's a lot to unlock. So although each mini-game is short, Carnival: Funfair Games as a whole will last a decent amount of time.

The mini-games themselves are typical of fairground attractions: tossing coins on plates, hoops, shooting targets, miniature golf, balloon darts, and so on. The majority require a steady hand and careful aim rather than brute force. The main exception is Test Your Strength, although there's an element of skill involved even with this game. On the whole Carnival: Funfair Games is a minimally energetic game which requires patience and precision. Since it's a title aimed at younger children it could do with a few games that are more tiring and less frustrating, however.

Each game comes with an intro featuring the usual "Roll up! Roll up!" spiel. This is a bit tedious because it's repeated every single time you play, but at least this can be skipped. Much more useful is the animation of the carnival man, because he actually demonstrates the moves you need to make in each game. This is just as well, since there are at least ten different motions that can be used. Having the carnival guy show what you need to do saves having to refer constantly to the booklet. The game is therefore immediately much easier to play and more accessible to younger players.

Just as it is with the Mii avatars, the characters have hands but no arms, and they're simply but brightly animated. Players can unlock items and gain tickets just by taking part, so it's not discouraging to play. The wide variety of games, prizes and silly gear will keep all but the kids with the shortest attention spans amused for hours. Although it could do with a few games that are more energetic, just to give it more variety of pace, Carnival: Funfair Games is a good, fun title that most children will enjoy.