Amusement park games and I have a love hate relationship. You see I am a sucker for throwing down $10-20 bucks on a silly game that lands me a tiny stuffy. Sure it is enjoyable winning the prize but after the sketchy looking character hands me a stuffed squid which ultimately cost me $15 bucks, I am riddled with guilt with how much money I spent for a toy I could have picked up at the dollar store. Then again some of those games are just so damn fun. So when Carnival Games: Wild West 3D for the Nintendo 3DS arrived not only was I looking for a game that could provide some cheap thrills, I was also looking for something that would re-capture some of that fun I had playing carnival games at my local amusement park. How does the game play out? Well after some extended playtime, Carnival Games: Wild West 3D certainly does provide some cheap thrills and at the end of the day this 3DS game was much better than I expected.
In a nutshell, Carnival Games: Wild West 3D for the 3DS is essentially a game that contains 25-mini games. It is set in the Wild West and you play as a character who travels around the carnival picking and choosing what carnival games to play. Carnival Games: Wild West 3D can be played in 2D or 3D mode. Much like a real life carnival game, it has 25 virtual carnival games that give you the ability to win prizes. Also, much like a carnival game you can even trade your small prizes for bigger and better prizes. The games also earn you bison bucks which can be used to purchase items in the “Outfitter” and is also used as an entry fee to selected games at the carnival.
Once you fire up the game, you jump into a character selection screen. The game allows you to create 3 custom characters. Each character file contains that player’s game progress, best scores and winnings. You can customize your player’s skin tone, hair, eyes, clothing, torso and legs. You can also name your character using up to eight characters. Once you have set up your character you are good to go.
Jumping into a carnival game is accomplished with ease. You simply use the circle pad to guide your character in the Wild West 3D Midway. When you are close to a game entrance, its name will appear on the touch screen giving you the ability to play the game or continue on your way. Tapping start on the touch screen will allow you to enter the game where you are greeted with another screen that accurately provides you with instructions on how to play the. Younger gamers may have difficulty reading the instructions but many of the games are so easy to play, you can get by without reading the instructions for many of the games. Some of the games cost bison bucks which you earn when playing the mini games. Bison bucks are what you win along with prizes when finishing the games. Before you begin a game, the amount of bison bucks you can earn are displayed. You are able to see your bison bucks total at the bottom of the touch screen.
Overall, I found the games themselves have lots of variety and yet many played very similar to the types of games you would expect to find at a carnival. There are card games, shooting games, slot games and different types of ball games. The games were fun, fast and some were very exasperating. For instance guiding a coin down a barrel full of water was extremely challenging but equally rewarding if you managed to land your coin in the cup. There are also games that you will never see at a carnival such as Trapper’s Delight, Roger Doger, Ricochet and Bow & Arrow. In Trapper’s Delight you need to tilt your 3DS system to see the traps. Using the stylus pen you tap the trap to catch the animal. It is simple and quirky yet enjoyable game. Likewise, Ricochet involves bouncing a ball to hit a target which is obstructed by various objects. Granted some of the game will take some practice but none are too discouraging. Carnival Games: Wild West 3D is also a game which is very appropriate for children 10-years and over. As expected, you are not limited to playing the games once. If you find the game fun, or if like me, you want to earn more bison bucks, you can play the same mini game over and over.
In addition to the 25 carnival games, you are able to play other games called Deeds. You can get to the Deeds by finishing certain games or certain activities such as arm wrestling or finding the treasure map. Each time you accomplish a deed you earn a star. If you get all the stars, you get a reward. There are objects to look for, people to help and lots of bad guys to catch.
One of the more unique aspects of Carnival Games: Wild West 3D is how often you are required to tilt and move the 3DS to play the given carnival game. The game calls it the gyro sensor which is controlled by moving the 3DS to move your object around. Hitting X will often reset your sensor and the game will position you back to the default position. I certainly found this feature worked quite well in most instances; however, it did seem a tad too sensitive at times in terms of its responsiveness. Otherwise, the developers are given plenty of kudos for taking full advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities.
In terms of the games visuals, the first thing that I noted was the cute, colourful and fun looking characters. They are bright, engaging and move about as good as any characters I have seen on the 3DS to date. Other in-game characters such as Buzzard are also nicely presented in the game. The games overall presentation style is also very slick. The western amusement park theme is bang-on. The menus are easy to use and navigate. They are clean looking and user friendly. Overall, Carnival Games: Wild West 3D is a good looking game which comes as no surprise as the 2K label consistently delivers visually stunning games. This being said, I preferred playing the game in 2D mode. While the 3D effects looked sharp, I just found the 3D effects in the game not all that appealing and playing the game in 2D was simply easier on my eyes.
As far as the sound is concerned, Carnival Games: Wild West 3D delivers. The music is western themes and sounded about what I expected. Sure it is repetitive and loops over and over; however, it is perfectly suited for the game. In game voices also manage to do the job as do the games sound effects. Overall, I found the sounds for this game were able to grasp that western carnival atmosphere.
When you consider Carnival Games: Wild West 3D for the Nintendo 3DS is priced around $30.00 dollars, it is not a bad bang for your buck. The 25-mini games are fun, the currency system and additional features give the game some replay value. That being said, you can plow through the mini games in less than a couple of hours and Carnival Games: Wild West 3D could have benefitted from either a larger library of mini-games or games that offered up a little more depth. Nevertheless, if you are looking to play some mindless carnival games on your 3DS, then Carnival Games: Wild West 3D is for you.