From: 2K Play
For: Nintendo DS
Genre: Casual, Collection
ESRB Rating: Everyone (6+)
Despite a critical lambasting across the board, Carnival Games for Nintendo Wii remains one of Wii's all-time bestest sellers. The shallow, banal, clunky midway-esque mini-game collection seemingly endeared itself to a million Wii-kids and half of their Remote-wanking grandparents, which just goes to show just how many consumers out there don't know what $40 is supposed to buy.
Now available on DS, Carnival Games does a much better job of offering a casual collection of simple little games based on what you might see in the concourse kiosks of an amusement park, step right up.
It helps that the DS is not motion-sensitive like Wii and its controller, the "waggle factor" is simply not available -- and that's a good thing. Instead, you use the touch-sensitive DS screen -- and/or buttons and directional pad, of course -- to interface with the various activities; a more-intuitive control scheme more often than not, one more-accurately reflects on screen actions like the draw of a frog-launching catapult, thumb-rubbing the screen to pump up for a bell-ringing hammer blow, or aiming with the stylus like a mouse on a mousepad in the shooting gallery games, the latter of which is nonetheless a tad sloppy and potentially frustrating, just like the wankii-Wii version.
More than just a cheap Wii game retooled for DS sensibilities, Carnival Games for DS goes the extra mile -- er, yard and a half -- by adding a few new mini-games to the mix. Pretty good ones, too: RC Raceway and Bumper Boats, for example, make for some short-lived driving/crashing fun, and Clown Bonk is straight-up whack-a-mole (thumb-a-mole?) hilarity.
There's also the ubiquitous gamut of inconsequential collectibles and character customization options that aren't much more than window dressing, but seeing as the target audience has a proven penchant for dress-up and accumulative inconsequence, that's probably fun for some, too.
The game as a whole is fun, in fact. Still just not much to it, still lacking in precision and polish, but you can't really expect more from a casual collection of short-lived, low pressure miniature games, not when they sell like hotcakes despite critical lambastings, anyway.