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Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
GameDaily (Sep 10, 2007)
Carnival Games embodies everything Nintendo continually stresses the Wii is about: simple, pick-up-and-play mechanics entire families can enjoy. In many respects, it's more a sequel to Wii Sports than Wii Play is thanks to a dizzying 25 plus playable games with a little something on the midway for everyone. Based on how quickly it's flying off store shelves, Carnival Games is well on the way to becoming an early sleeper hit for this upcoming holiday season.
Game Chronicles (Sep 08, 2007)
One thing is for certain, you won’t go broke trying to earn that big stuffed animal for your girlfriend, and you won’t have to deal with rigged games or creepy carneys. But you also won’t have immediate access to cotton candy or elephant ears either. Still, Carnival Games is some of the best fun you can have on your Wii alone or with friends, and I’m sure it was games like this that Nintendo had in mind when they created their new gaming system.
Carnival Games offers some good Game Cube era graphics, same with the sound. The graphics and sound might not be up to par with other games like this, but who cares. It is a little annoying hearing the same guy talk for all the mini games but they try to trick everyone by using different "Look I Can Make This Guy Too" characters. If you can get past that though you will find a great set of mini games that should appeal to everyone. Multiplayer is fantastic, you can share one Wii Mote or use four, something that isn't seen in too many of these games. Wii Sports still might be my favorite when it comes to mini games but Carnival Games is in second place.
The Video Game Critic (Sep 14, 2007)
Don't expect much from the graphics and audio though. The "barkers" running each game have non-moving lips, and the scenery lacks detail. The audio is equally sparse, limited to traditional carnival music and quips from bystanders. One thing that I don't understand is why you're required to create your own little character from the start instead of using your Mii. Isn't that the whole purpose of the Mii system?? Even so, Carnival Games is a pleasant surprise which should appeal to gamers of all ages.
GameTrailers (Sep 07, 2007)
Carnival Games clearly hasn't gone over the top with its presentation. It's simple and fun, and some parts look better than others. Even though the game doesn't make use of Miis, Global Star's humans clearly borrow the style with big heads and missing appendages. Unfortunately, carneys in the park are liberally recycled from game to game, which is a bit curious when you consider how many options there are to customize characters. In spite of the cartoony look of the people, the games mimic their real-life counterparts quite closely, and the Havok physics engine is used to add weight to tumbling milk jars and realistic bounces to alley balls.

While it's easy to bemoan the abundance of mini-game collections on the Wii, Carnival Games is certainly one of the better examples. It does a good job of recreating timeless fairground classics, and because they are so recognizable, this really is a game that you can play with friends and family members of any age and they’ll instantly get it.
Diehard GameFan (Sep 03, 2007)
Like most games on the Wii, CG is a nice compilation of distractions and multiplayer goodness. I’m still waiting for a quality single player game for the system, and I don’t think I’m likely to see that anytime soon. Here’s hoping though.
Atomic Gamer (Sep 18, 2007)
So then, is Carnival Games worth a purchase? At this point, I can't really say much better than maybe. If you're buying it to play by yourself, there's nothing much here to keep you drawn in past an hour or so of play. However, if you have friends to play it with, it is a good pickup – you can toss it in to waste a few minutes as you wait for someone, or play it for half an hour if you feel like. Even then, though, it still doesn't have the quirkiness of a Wario Ware, or the horribly addictive quality of Wii Sports. While the game manages to reach its goal of recreating a carnival atmosphere on the Wii, it just doesn't have much staying power. Maybe that's why carnivals only really come around once a year.
GameSpy (Oct 05, 2007)
Kids 11 and under will probably love this game, as will any dad who failed to win the big stuffed animal, or Duran Duran poster, for his former sweetheart. Carnival Games is addictive fun in solo mode and true social comedy with a few people in the room. Spend the forty bones and enjoy.
68 (Sep 10, 2007)
The graphics and sound presented here aren’t going to blow your mind, but you’re probably not expecting that from the Wii anyway. The characters are modeled in the style of Nintendo’s Mii, but the game won’t let you use your actual Wii avatar.

The gameplay here won’t last forever and there’s not a much depth in the mini-games, but it’s certainly fun. This game is definitely good for those of you who long for the carnival experience and can provide a really fun multiplayer experience as well. In the already very crowded Wii mini-game collection this one may not be the best, but it’s worth checking out.
IGN (Sep 17, 2007)
Carnival Games is a testament to consistent mediocrity; the whole package averages out to something that is neither incredible nor detestable. With 2-4 players, there are undoubtedly a few fresh servings of fun, but after a few bites, the fruit turns a little sour. Some games are complete throwaways, like the claw drop and bowler coaster, but there is enough here to keep a group of people entertained. If you have kids, this may be an ideal title to pick up, as its ability to charm someone into the world of the midway is both enchanting and unintimidating. At a "budget" retail price of $40, there may be further incentive to try this one out for a party or the kiddies.
60 (Nov 12, 2007)
Overall Carnival Funfair Games does exactly what you'd expect of a game with that title. It's a well presented selection of games, executed with varying success. Where it does fall down is in failing to provide anywhere near as much depth or value for money as it's competitors in the genre. Wii Sports came free with the console; Wii Play came with a controller; both offer far more longevity. While Take Two have (quite rightly) slapped a budget price tag onto this title, there are just too many stronger titles in the saturated party / mini-game genre on Wii which prevent this from being anything other than mediocre.
The Game Hoard (Jul 30, 2020)
Much like a true carnival, you won’t come to Carnival Games for anyone one strong experience but instead the selection on offer. Many of its individual minigames are shallow or simplistic, but games likes Day at the Races and Clown Splash have some mild strategy and variance as do many of the unlockable Super games. There are certainly some lows like Lucky Cups or the single player only activities, but the 25 games featured can entertain if stringed together properly and provide many easy or accessible interpretations of real games of skill and chance. While it may not be the best fit for deeply involved play, there is enough to Carnival Games to make it a decent choice for anyone looking to have a simple and fun time with the family.
Just like a real carnival, you'll feel cheated more that once playing these virtual simulations, but the real carny scam might be trying to sell this "discount" title for $40.
Worth Playing (Sep 24, 2007)
Carnival Games sports fairly mundane versions of amusements most of us would rather go out a couple times a year and play in the real world. These are treats, not daily fare, and they lose their magical luster when you have constant access to them. The Wii control implementation in the title is passable at its best, downright awkward at its nadir. The only grace that's saved Carnival Games from a final score firmly lodged in the pit of opprobrium between one and four is that it's obviously designed for children, and children do indeed enjoy it, both the single- and multiplayer modes. The title is also reasonable fun for a family, children and adults, to occasionally wile away an hour or so together, comfortably sprawled on the living room sofa. Carnival Games already sells below the usual price for a newly released Wii title; if you're at all interested in the game, it's certainly worth waiting for the price to come down even more.
Carnival Games starts off strong, then quickly degenerates into monotony as you do almost everything the game has to offer in the same afternoon you begin playing. In addition, the gameplay is too easy, save for some frustrating Mini Games, and the appeal of unlocking new clothing or winning prizes grows stale early on. The multiplayer mode salvages some of the fun, but not much, even if you have a great group of friends with which to play. And in spite of being able to choose from 25 games (counting the Super versions of some of the Mini Games), you won’t find not much variety.
Game Shark (Sep 20, 2007)
The game does have a handful of genuinely entertaining minigames to offer, but you’re likely to get all the entertainment value out of it that you’re ever likely to after just a few hours. Even should madcap multiplayer zaniness occur (seriously unlikely, but all things are possible with the right medication), this is not a game that you’re going to revisit more than a handful of times. There are just too many better party game choices available for you to pay full price for this.
50 (UK) (Nov 11, 2007)
True, it's not as good as Wii Sports or WarioWare, but if you've played those games to death this isn't a bad alternative. Just be aware this is the kind of game you'll only get out when you've got people round who want to play the Wii cos they've seen it on the telly, and you'd rather eat soap than play one more round of Wii Sports baseball.

They'll like it, then they'll get bored, then they'll go away and you can get on with playing a proper game or watching America's Next Top Model or whatever it is you do when there's no one else around. Perhaps not everything in life is best enjoyed with other people after all.
Netjak (Nov 16, 2007)
I cannot recommend Carnival Games. I suppose you can rent it if you are still curious after this review, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you. There are fun moments to be had - I’ll give the game that much - but you’ll have to wade through a sea of mediocrity if you want to find them. And in the end, it just isn’t worth the effort. Save your hard earned dollars and the space in the rental queue and look elsewhere for a party game that the whole family can enjoy.
GameSpot (Sep 07, 2007)
The Nintendo Wii is chock-full of minigame collections, almost all of them of higher quality than Carnival Games. Sure, it's got variety, and four-player multiplayer, but so does literally every other minigame collection on the system. So why would you pay $40 for a game that would be a stretch to call worthwhile even at a budget price tag? You wouldn't. It's half the fun at twice the price. That's a lousy deal any way you slice it.
Good Game (Nov 06, 2007)
It has none of the charm of say Rayman Raving Rabbids or Warioware… some of the games I found so easy as to be borderline pathetic whilst others either rely on pure luck (the ball toss) or just seemed to be broken (the nerves of steel test).
40 (Oct 30, 2007)
As poor as Carnival is from an adult's point of view, it's hard to tell just how the target age group will take it. It's almost certain that they'll get some enjoyment from it, albeit short lived, and the prizes will be exciting until they realise that they serve no purpose other than to sit there. But with so many other mini-game focussed titles available on the Wii, Carnival simply can't be recommended.
G4 TV: X-Play (Oct 15, 2007)
What does all this game-playing get you? Why tickets and virtual stuffed animals. Tickets earned can be used to purchase costumes for your characters. Additionally, once you accumulated enough virtual plush, you can trade up and eventually unlock a few extra mini-games. Carnival Games is ok in short bursts, but much like the real-world games they are based on, they really aren’t that much fun to play more than once or twice. Wii Sports has more depth.
Good Game (Nov 06, 2007)
The trouble is they are all really really REALLY BORING! It’s turned based gaming at it’s worst! It looks dull but even worse – it plays dull.
Game Revolution (Sep 25, 2007)
There aren't many surprises or innovations in Carnival Games. Game play is a plodding, methodical chore, whose only rewards are unlocking another mediocre game or dressing your character more outlandishly. You never really get that feeling of accomplishment or frantic happiness that marks some of the better mini-game offerings for the Wii, such as Rayman Raving Rabbids or Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Just like the heady aroma of VOCs escaping the styrofoam inside the cheap stuffed animals you win, Carnival Games should be taken in small doses. Please. It's for your own good.

Now go thank your dad.

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