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When we bought the PlayStation Move, we bought quite a few reasonably priced games that would go well with the motion controlled platform. This was one of them and the reason why we bought it was because we had a very similar game for the Nintendo Wii and it was really fun to play. The PlayStation move is much better than the Wii, it is much more accurate and there is more scope for development so we were pleased with the system and we wanted to have plenty of games to put it to the test. Carnival Island is a series of mini games that utilise motions in order to control and play the game. The mini games are all themes around a carnival and they are very fun and enjoyable.
The game was surprising, in that it has a story and there are some lovely cut scenes that bond all the mini games together and give the game a little of sustenance. The story goes that you stumble across some lost tickets for the Carnival and you are transported to the island which is run down and filled with cute mascots that are going to waste. The story is quite sombre but as you play, you start to bring magic back to the island and the mascots are given a purpose. The developer Sony Santa Monica has collaborated with Magic Pixel and together they have created a fun, interactive game that does not disappoint.
The game is filled with rich colours and textures and the graphics support the mini games and keeps the pace flowing nicely. Each scene is brought to life in HD quality and the imagery looks like it belongs in a Disney film. There are some brilliant little games that are brought to life by the attention to details. For example, a simple game of basketball is brought to life with an audience of cheering creatures and 3D looking basketball hoops. The mascots that support each mini game are so cute and there is a lot of thought gone in into each character. The lines, the colours and details all add to the mystery of Carnival Island. If you were just playing a simple, 2D plain game of basketball, you would not enjoy the game half as much. They have done a great job of bringing the game to life.
If I am honest, there is nothing here that has not been done with motion gaming before. It is the same scenarios of mini games that we have seen on the Wii and other computer systems previously. There are 35 games in total and to progress you need to redeem tickets for pets and prizes. Some of the games include, shooting hoops, shooting, ring-toss, bowling, coin flip for example and all put the Move controller to the test. In terms of accuracy, the character on the screen reacts exactly as I would expect and the accuracy of the game is second to none.
Basketball and bowling are my favourite games as they are the ones that require the most skill and they are the ones I am best at. Every ball goes exactly where you expect it to, not always where you want it to but it is very accurate so you know you only have your skills to blame rather than the mechanics of the game. I prefer skill games to coin toss for example as I like having more control over the outcome. One game that I have not seen before is a bit like whack a mole but you are whacking pads which fires rubber frogs to land on lily pads. This is really hard and not only does it take skill with your motor neurones, you have to concentrate on speed and power too. While most games allow you to test yourself, Magic mirror is a different game completely. This uses the Eye Camera on the PlayStation and it takes crazy photographs which can be used as loading screens. This personalises the game and it is very fun but the game producers have obviously realised how slow their games are to load which in turn must have prompted this interesting distraction. There is a lot of loading time and one of the main reasons for this is that there are different versions of the games, there are different districts to select and overall there are just too many menu options that finding and selecting a game takes much longer than is needed.
The games come with instructions which in some cases are needed but in most it is really unnecessary. Even after playing the game before, you still have to go through the instructions before playing. This is annoying and it should be optional after the initial walk through.
This is mainly a pick up and play game where you can select the mini game you want to play. To reward your progress you can use your winnings to buy new activities and objects for your characters to hold such as balloons. The final achievement in the game is winning the platinum trophy but to get this you will have to invest some serious time in the game. Each mini game comes with its own set of mini achievements that you need to complete in order to master it. You can spend ages perfecting and retrying the achievements so there is plenty of longevity in the game but it does get very repetitive after a few hours of play.
One of the things that make the game score highly in longevity is the multiplayer options. This is the perfect game for a party or get together. Even if you just want to play with your partner and family, there is a lot to do. You can play with up to four players and being able to compete with others makes the games much more fun. Playing bowls, hoops and shooting is enough to keep you amused for ages and if you are as competitive as me then you will take the games very seriously. All the games are suitable for children so if you are wanting to entertain a bunch of kids, then this will keep them amused; my niece and nephew loved it.
This game retails at £19.99 which is not bad for a PS game. I can imagine that the price of this will drop dramatically soon as it has been out for an awful long time and there will be something new and exciting out soon. I would recommend it for the price as you get a lot of games and if you like mini games this will suit you very well. Mini game formats appeal to groups as they are inclusive so if you are having a party and you want a fun game then this could be it.
The downsides to the game are definitely the length of time it takes to load and how frustrating it is that it has to load to go into each district and then for a mini game. The load time is very unnecessary and it borders on annoying at times. The whole format of the game works well though, I like the story, I like the rewards and I like how much there is to do to actually complete the game. This is one of the games that is still played despite being released over 2 years ago now. The quality of the game play and graphics definitely add to its appeal and for this I award it four stars.