hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Minigame Madness

Review: Carnival Island

Nov 18 // Jim Sterling
Carnival Island (PlayStation Move)Developer: Magic Pixel GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: November 15, 2011MSRP: $39.99 Carnival Island has a name that really does say it all. One look at the cover, with its illustrations of vapid funfair chicanery, lets you know exactly what you're getting. Following on from titles like Carnival Games, which have permeated the Wii's library since 2007, Carnival Island aims to do nothing different while providing its range of familiar festival-based motion exercises.  The contrived "story mode" will see players exploring the tiniest carnival in the world as they play games and bring life back to an empty fair. Broken into four distinct realms, the titular island provides various stalls that contain a series of themed games. Each game has a set of nine challenges. If you successfully complete one challenge, you'll bring an animal to life, which will act as a mascot and cheer for you during games. If you complete two challenges, you'll unlock the next stage of the minigame you're currently playing.  For example, coin toss is a simple game in which you flip coins onto markers and score points. Completing a challenge, such as scoring a certain amount of points, will unlock a cartoon zoo creature which will sit on the screen and make gibberish noises while you play. If you complete a secondary challenge, such as getting one coin each on every score marker, you'll unlock the next coin-themed game, Nom Nom, which puts an extra spin on the coin toss format by introducing a mechanical yeti that will spit out extra coins when you hit flashing markers. This is the structure the entire game follows. Each stall contains multiple variants of its specific game, with varying degrees of difficulty, and every map location has up to two stalls each. There's some decent variety in the games, with some variations that border on clever (piloting frogs onto lily pads is a particularly interesting idea), but nevertheless many of the games feel incredibly similar to each other in terms of input. There are only so many ways you can throw balls, hoops and coins, so the entire game starts to feel rather mundane and old pretty quickly, save for the occasionally interesting game variant.   Extras include spending tickets earned in games to unlock costume pieces for one's avatar, but since the island is actually little more than a series of animated menus, there's barely any point. The player's character is barely seen and is never directly controlled, so outfitting him or her seems rather pointless. There are also balloons to buy and a "hall of mirrors" in which players distort images of themselves as seen by the PlayStation Eye, but again the entertainment value here is shallow at best, and hardly unique to this experience.   Despite boasting over 35 games, Carnival Island can be beaten in about two hours, with players more than able to see everything the game has to offer within that time. As well as the main story mode, up to four players can compete in the various attractions using multiple or single Move controllers. Still, the games are not engaging or unique enough to really encourage spending too much time on the island. As a launch title, Carnival Island might have been an interesting demonstration of how precise the PlayStation Move is. It's certainly an excellent showcase for the technology and how accurate its mimickry of player movement is. The catch is that we know what the PlayStation Move can do, and we know how accurate it is by now. With its bunch of mindless minigames and saccharine carnival aesthetic, Carnival Island is nothing we haven't seen before. It's quick to show everything it has, and it shows very little of value; there's simply not much point in a game like this anymore.  Those players who don't have any minigame compilations but need something to shut their kids up might find worth in Carnival Island, as it's at least good at being a shallow selection of hackneyed diversions. Anybody who has played any other motion-based carnival adventure, however, will find nothing remarkable at play with this one -- not unless they really want to see animated raccoons screaming incomprehensible drivel at them.
 photo

A year removed from the PlayStation Move's launch, one should expect that tech demos and minigame compilations would be out of the door to make way for the kind of genuinely rich experiences that were promised.  Carnival Island is a compilation of minigames that demonstrate the technology of the PlayStation Move.  Oh well. Same time next year?

 photo

Go Vacation is truly emotional


Oct 14
// Jim Sterling
I think I can hear my soul weeping. 

Review: Go Vacation

Oct 13 // Jim Sterling
Go Vacation (Wii)Developer: Namco Bandai GamesPublisher: Namco Bandai GamesReleased: October 11, 2011MSRP: $39.99 Go Vacation is Namco Bandai's answer to Wii Sports Resort which, considering Nintendo released that game two years ago, makes it something of a late reply. Nevertheless, Go Vacation presses onward with oblivious optimism, presenting a series of small "open" worlds full of inane activities for players to engage in.  There's a strange poetry to Go Vacation releasing so near the end of the Wii's life cycle as it serves almost as a reminder of what the system was all about -- collecting as it does practically every waggle-based minigame that the system has encouraged since it launched in 2006. From races with the Wiimote held on its side to simplistic volleyball and dancing games where players convulse on command, Go Vacation has an example of nearly every stereotypical game type the Wii has ever had to offer. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on how much you love effortlessly moving a white stick around like a trained seal.  In all fairness, Go Vacation isn't necessarily bad. Its minigames all work as they should, and there's a lot of content with various extra challenges, unlockable costumes, furniture, and secrets. It's just that we've seen it all before, and usually with a bit more flair than this. Go Vacation is a very slow paced game and while that might be a deliberate concession to the "vacation" contrivance, it doesn't make for a very exciting time. Races are incredibly tedious, competitive games such as water pistol fights are bland and repetitive, and many of the activities are just vague variants of each other. Being a Wii minigame collection, many of the controls are less convenient than they should be simply to conform to the assumed obligation that one needs a minimum amount of motion input at all times. In this case, navigating the resorts is a pain in the neck, with every vehicle requiring players to tilt the controller in order to steer, even if it's something like rollerblades which need additional hand-pumps in order to accelerate. It would have been far easier to let the nunchuck stick do the steering, but Heaven forbid we don't get our five waggles a day! Speaking of inconvenient controls, it's really a pain in the arse to be expected to keep plugging and unplugging the nunchuck. Some games demand solo use of the remote, while others require the nunchuck, and players will have to keep yanking out the chord whenever the game expects them to. It's not a huge grievance, but it's a consistent annoyance nonetheless. There are also optional games that include the Balance Board and MotionPlus, but that's just more crap to plug in for no good reason. There's really not a lot else to say about Go Vacation. It's a minigame collection full of the same things we've "enjoyed" on the Wii for the past five years. They work as well as they always have and there's a lot to do, but there's very little to encourage continued play. The games are all rather mediocre, overdone and sluggish, while the faux anime characters in their bland resort environments are completely charmless. Perhaps this would have been a cute little game half a decade ago, but so close to the end of the Wii's life cycle, it smacks of Namco desperately trying to milk the minigame cow one last time. As an ironic celebration of the Wii's most compelling and infamous problem, Go Vacation's selection of tepid and shallow activities might serve some amusing merit, but I don't think even the "family demographic" this is aimed at could find much to enjoy here. To call it bad would be unfair, but to call it anything better would give it more credit than it deserves. It simply ... exists.
 photo

A tropical resort paradise overrun by dead-eyed, single-minded creatures that vaguely resemble humans, there shambling movements parodying the utter lifelessness all around them. I am not talking about Techland's Dead Island. This is Go Vacation ... something far scarier.  For if there's one thing more numerous, tougher to kill, and infinitely more deadly than zombies, it's minigames.


 photo

Griefing is a feature in Cabela's Adventure Camp


Sep 12
// Jordan Devore
Activision Publishing has announced another Cabela's title, this time Cabela's Adventure Camp. It's a collection of mini-games designed around motion controls, so it'll be hitting Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. As expected...
 photo

The deep, meaningful tale of Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One


Mar 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
I can't think of too many party-oriented games that feature anything resembling a cohesive story. Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes to mind with the Subspace Emissary campaign, but that wasn't really much of a party. I also...
 photo

Three Pac-Man Party mini-games for you to 'meh' about


Aug 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
Go on and do it. I don't think anybody would blame you. Pac-Man Party is, conceptually, something that should be somewhat painful to consider. Another collection of mini-games for the Wii -- a market which inexplicably ...
 photo

Atlus bringing 101-In-1 Sports Megamix to North America


May 26
// Conrad Zimmerman
Atlus revealed via press release that they have secured the North American publishing rights for 101-In-1 Sports Megamix. You can check out a trailer for the game above.  Based on the release and the trailer, this seems...
 photo

Destineer has some Christmas minigames gift for you


Oct 15
// Colette Bennett
Man, let me tell you what I did NOT want for Christmas is a collection of holiday themed minigames, but you know, you say "minigames" and there's someone just waiting to make a Wii game for you. I guess I should be ...
 photo

Ninja Captains contains cats, minigames, tomfoolery


Aug 10
// Colette Bennett
I love colorful games, but sometimes there's a line between vivid and bright and just simply too much color. Look at that screenshot from Ninja Captains up there, for example. It's like your eyes just vomited rainbows, isn't ...
 photo

2K brings more minigame madness to Wii with Baseball Blast!


Jul 22
// Samit Sarkar
(The exclamation point, as you can see, is actually in the title. Believe me, I’m no more excited than you are about this.)Wii owners like minigame collections, right? I mean, Carnival Games has somehow sold over 3 mill...
 photo

Sony cat Toro finally headed stateside in Toro! Let's Party!


Jul 20
// Topher Cantler
You may not know it, but in Japan, Sony has a mascot, much like what Mickey Mouse is to Disney. Chances are you've seen this little white cat before -- maybe as a PSN avatar or on a piece of merchandise. His name's Toro Inoue...
 photo

Monday Mind Teasers: Little Wheel


Jul 13
// Tom Fronczak
Hey guys and gamer girls, I hope your minds are extra alert tonight since I'm introducing a new direction for this weekly feature. This mind teaser column was the first reoccurring article on the site, and after mor...

Review: Let's Tap

Jul 01 // Colette Bennett
Let's Tap (Wii)Developer: PropePublisher: SegaReleased: June 16, 2009MSRP: $29.99Colette Bennett:Right out of the box, Let's Tap is going to make you do something a little bit different as far as the way you play. If you didn't buy the Best Buy special edition (and we did not), you'll need to take a moment to grab a box from somewhere inside your house. I used a box from one of my collectible toys, since I am kind of into that sort of thing. You'll have to push a few buttons on your Wiimote to get going, but after that, you're going to put the Wiimote face-down on the box you chose. From there on out, when you need to do something, all you have to do is tap the box with your fingertips. Just a note here: without the rubber casing on your Wiimote, all it's going to do is skitter around and fall off the box, so make sure you use it for this game! On the main screen, you'll see five minigames to choose from. The first is called Tap Runner and can be played with up to three other people (all the games, in fact, allow up to four). Movement is fairly simple: you tap lightly to move, tap harder to run and harder still to jump over obstacles. You'll also be challenged to tap lightly to deal with tightropes. Tap Runner is straightforward and easy to play, and you can either work your way through the races or replay them as you go to improve your time. Next up is my personal favorite, Rhythm Tap (and this is where you get to hear all the songs that are on the soundtrack). In this game, you will keep your eye on colored dots as they move from the right side of the screen to the left. The trick here is that the dots come in three different colors, and each one signifies a different strength of tapping. Just like Taiko No Tatsujin, you can score combos and drive up your score by not missing any of the beats. The varying strength used for the taps is something I have personally never seen in another rhythm game, and it adds a really unique twist to it. This was by far my favorite game of the five, and I was actually surprised how challenging it got as I progressed into the later levels. Did I mention it has a brilliant soundtrack?The third game, Silent Blocks, challenges the player to remove blocks from a Jenga-like tower without allowing it to tumble down. There's actually a puzzle variation on this minigame where the player must match three colored blocks to make them disappear. This game wasn't bad, but I found I came back to it the least of all the other games. There's nothing wrong with it, but it felt like the most average of the five. The fourth game, Bubble Voyager, was my second favorite game besides Rhythm Tap. In this one, you play a little space dude who must navigate his way through a side-scrolling enviroment and avoid mines and other obstacles while collecting stars. This little minigame has that retro shooter feel that always touches a soft spot in my heart, but it's also fun to play. It reminds me a bit of a similar Japanese game called Super Mic-Chan where you navigate your character through the same type of enviroment by yelling into a microphone (and no, I am not making that up -- come over to my house and I will play this game with you). Tapping to move your character in Bubble Voyager is a lot more pleasant than yelling into a microphone, and if you practice a bit you can achieve some pretty respectable scores in this one. The last game is, well, not really a game. Visualizer is just what it sounds like -- a reason to use the tapping function to control fireworks, paint splashes and other stuff. For a kid, I'm sure this would hold some novelty, but I found myself really wishing I had another game to play instead of tapping to create pond ripples. In fact, finding this was the last minigame only served to increase the feeling that I wanted all the games to be a little bit deeper somehow. The simplicity didn't bother me, but I felt as if the entire package was lacking something.As a whole, the control scheme for Let's Tap works, but in some games it is less responsive than others. For instance, as much as I enjoyed Rhythm Tap, I couldn't deny that I noticed that sometimes it didn't seem to matter if I tapped with all my strength or just a little, as I could still achieve a perfect on a beat that requested a light tap but that I tapped heavily on. Had this system worked the way it was supposed to, I think this minigame could have offered even more challenge and perhaps been fleshed out into a game all by itself. For its price point, Let's Tap dishes up some solid multiplayer fun and introduces some worthwhile new ways to play, but as a fan of the weirdest rhythm games I can get my hands on, I found it fell a little bit short of my expectations. I hoped it would be weirder. Of course, it was marketed here as a "fun for the whole family" type of experience, and I can't deny it does offer that with some slight hiccups. In other words, if you go in expecting light-hearted, simplistic fun, you won't be disappointed, but if you were hoping for all the weird quirk the soundtrack offers, it may not be quite what you were looking for.Score: 7.0 Dale North:Who would have thought that hitting a box could be fun? Sega and developer Prope, that's who. And they made it fun with Let's Tap, a collection of five mini-games that manages to use your trash as a game controller. Only an upside-down Wii Remote on any box is needed to have you using hand strikes to run track, blow up fireworks, bounce balls, play rhythm games and more. What kind of box? Well, just about anything. In Japan, the game launched with short, long boxes (about the size of a shoe box top) of respectable strength that worked well, but you can use cereal boxes or tissue boxes or anything else you have available. You'll want to make sure that the cardboard of your box is stocky enough to hold up to multiple taps, though. Where you tap on the box is up to you, though the Wii Remote's ability to sense your taps will vary by box. Even menu navigation is done through taps, with double tapping being used to select menu items. Through some unexplained ability, the Wii Remote is able to sense everything from light fingertapping to full-on box slapping, and Let's Tap puts both to good use in its party games. The best game is a race where up to four players can tap their way to a finish line, Tap Runner. Delicate, rhythmic tapping has your on-screen player running, while full hits initiate jumps. There seems to be an art to running the fastest, and finding that sweet spot and staying in it is pretty fun. If you manage that, you'll move as fast as you can, overcoming obstacles and dodging obstructions. As you progress, you'll see that hitting a box can be almost as tiring as actually running! There are plenty of stages of steadily increasing challenges to play on your own, but this game is best enjoyed in the company of others. Another minigame has you tapping out rhythms on your box, much like you would on your bongos in Donkey Konga. While it's slightly less demanding and sensitive than in Donkey Konga, the over-the-top musical score really makes the game. The upbeat toe-tappers are the highlight here. The very loose and forgiving tap response aren't, though. I found that your timing did not have to be very precise to "pass," and as Colette said, even your tap strength wasn't judged that closely. That's a shame, as the music is great. I didn't think much of the match-three puzzler Silent Blocks, but tap-shmup Bubble Voyager is quite fun to play. The latter seems to have the same fine control that Tap Runner does, and once you find that sweet spot, this shooter is easy to enjoy.Unlike Colette, I found Visualizer to be engrossing. Under the surface, there's some depth to this visual tap-to-paint art minigame. If you play with it long enough, you'll begin to see that patterns of tapping result in different effects. In the fireworks mode, for example, tapping a sequence like hard-light-hard-light-hard triggers a specific fireworks display. In the handwriting one, you can uncover sequences that put together beautiful brushstrokes to create characters. There's just something about feeling out each of the visual modes to find these hidden sequences that feels exploratory and deep. Eventually, these sequences begin to roll off the fingers, like special moves in a fighting game. Visualizer can be as involving or relaxing as you make it, and manages to be one of the most unique Wii Remote uses yet. In all, Let's Tap is exactly what I expected it to be: a fun party game. I must have spent 3 hours playing the racing mode on my first boot up, and subsequent play-throughs have been similar. Again, you'll get much more out of the title with multiple players. There's nothing groundbreaking or original here -- just something fun and different. I was looking for something a bit more crazy and off-the-wall in Let's Tap, though. Here's hoping they take the control scheme and do something a bit more edgy with it in the future. Score: 8Overall Score: 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
 photo

I was fortunate enough to have a good friend pass me a copy of the Let's Tap soundtrack almost immediately after its Japanese release, and for months it was by far the most often-played CD in my car. Having been a fan of rhyt...

 photo

Best Buy exclusive Let's Tap pad freaking sucks


Jun 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Hey, you know that exclusive Limited Edition version of Let's Tap that Best Buy has? Yeah? It sucks. All you get is an extra piece of paper with the game's logo. I know Jonathan Holmes brought this up the other night when he ...
 photo

Check out new screens and art for Hudson's Help Wanted


May 05
// Colette Bennett
I've been interested in Help Wanted ever since Hamza's preview of the title, which taught me that the game was actually about taking on weird jobs in order to earn money so you can buy items from the Home Shopping Network. Th...
 photo

Yikes! New 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix screenshots look scary


Apr 17
// Dale North
When we first saw screenshots of the upcoming 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix for Nintendo DS, we thought it looked like a party in your pants. And we felt that this game of minigames was a pretty good value at $20, or less than $...
 photo

2K will celebrate your birthday, but not on Easter


Apr 12
// Matthew Razak
I did it. I got that blasted Easter Bunny and I ripped his head off. I'm a little torn up, but it looks like I'll make it to my next birthday. What do I plan to do on that birthday? Why I'll play 2K Games's newly rated Birthd...

DS-exclusive EA SPORTS Football Academy announced, you are all excited

Jan 07 // Samit Sarkar
BUILD AND PROVE YOUR FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE WITH EA SPORTS FOOTBALL ACADEMY EA SPORTS Announces First Title Exclusively Developed For Nintendo DS Coming In March 2009 GUILDFORD, UK – January, 7th, 2009 – EA SPORTS™, a label of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), today announces EA SPORTS™ Football Academy – a collection of mini-games and challenges that improves football knowledge in a fun and entertaining way. EA SPORTS™ Football Academy will launch exclusively for the Nintendo DS in March 2009. EA SPORTS Football Academy offers an entertaining way to learn football strategy, positioning and technique. Players build their knowledge by completing tasks and take their improved skills onto the pitch to compete against their friends. Additionally EA SPORTS Football Academy offers a variety of mini-games that provide fun for fans of all ages. “EA SPORTS Football Academy is a great new addition to the EA SPORTS football portfolio and a perfect way to enjoy football on the go,” says Andrew Wilson, Vice President and Executive Producer of EA SPORTS Football business. “The game offers fans a fun new way to improve football knowledge and learn more about the beautiful game.” EA SPORTS Football Academy is developed by EA Canada in Vancouver. It has been rated 3+ by PEGI. Please visit www.pegi.info/ for rating information.
 photo

I saw the title of the press release (located after the jump) in my inbox this afternoon and instantly got excited. Unfortunately, that anticipation quickly abated once I clicked on the email and realized that (A) when they s...

 photo

The goggles do nothing: MLB Superstars trailer is full of eye-searing fail


Nov 28
// Samit Sarkar
[video]111780:746[/video]People seem to have taken the term “Black Friday” quite literally today -- it’s been a rather depressing day, sadly. I hate to contribute salt to an open wound, but it’s a slow...
 photo

The ten best mini-games EVER!


Oct 08
// Chad Concelmo
If videogames were like Three’s Company -- with the main game being Jack Tripper -- I would say mini-games are like Janet. They are a part of the main game and sometimes even make the main game more fun, but in the end ...
 photo

Hot Pixel gives WarioWare a run for its money


Oct 03
// Colette Bennett
I have been addicted to mini-game titles like WarioWare and Rhythm Tengoku for some time now, so when a new game enters the ring, I tend to sit up and take notice. Hot Pixel for the PSP is Atari's retro flavored offering to t...
 photo

The most horrifying TGS trailer ever: Wan! Tertainment: Music Channel


Sep 29
// Dale North
Those with good memories will remember that Nick Chester, Destructoid's Editor-in-Chief, stated that he was most excited about a DS title called Wan! Tertainment: Music Channel. I didn't think much of it at the time, but now...
 photo

Majesco's Furu Furu Park for the Wii to feature 30 mini-games


Jul 03
// Nick Chester
Normally, this is the post where I'd bitch about how I'm tired of all of the mini-games coming to the Wii. But the Majesco published Furu Furu Park, developed by Taito and 505 games, is so damned adorable that I just ...
 photo

Mad Tracks on XBLA this Wednesday


May 29
// Jordan Devore
Mad Tracks will be this week's one and only Xbox Live Arcade release. As the title of the game suggests, it is a racing game -- more specifically, a "3D racing party game." If Mad Tracks sounds like your cup of ...
 photo

Teaser for Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is LOL-riffic!


May 23
// Chad Concelmo
Okay, this may be one of the best teaser trailers I have ever seen for a video game. Who knew that French people could be so clever?With all the complaining I did yesterday about minigame collections on the Wii, I have to ad...
 photo

Carnival Games: all the fun of a carnival sans the constant fear of dying


May 22
// Chad Concelmo
I know there must have been a time in my life when I enjoyed going to the carnival. Don’t get me wrong, I would still kill a man for some funnel cake, but nowadays, when I think of a carnival, all I imagine are scary cl...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -