Carnival Games – Review
Follow Genre: minigames
Developer: Take-Two Interactive Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Carnival Games – Review

Site Score
Good: fun gameplay
Bad: difficulties aren't very different
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Every year, thousands upon thousands of people look forward to the annual carnival or fun fair to come to town, so they can hang out with their friends and family and have loads and loads of fun competing in various minigames whilst eating snacks you will only find at those events. But with Carnival Games being out on multiple consoles, waiting for the fair to come to town is off the table. Will this game create a fun fair in the comfort of your own living room, or will the fun fare?


Carnival Games, understandably, has little story to it. And to good measure, since it would have been rather difficult to come up with a fitting story for a game that is meant to be a party game that you play with family and friends. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a curve to this game whatsoever. By playing the games that are available to you at the moment you boot up the game for the first time, you win carnival tickets. You can exchange these tickets to unlock the remaining games, and as such, play more and more games to your heart’s desire. It won’t take long before you unlock every single minigame there is to play, and so playing your favorite games with your favorite people will be more than a hoot and a half.


The graphics of Carnival Games aren’t of the highest standard, but for a party game they are more than good and they do their job really well. The style the game is going for is obvious with every little detail. From the menu to each and every game, it is clear this game is meant for a cozy night in or a long car ride. The announcer has a very classic carnival look, which is a nice touch. However, the characters you can play as have somewhat of a disturbingly inhuman look on their face. It looks as though they’re attempting to look into one’s soul instead of having a good time at the annual carnival fest with their family and friends.

In game, the graphics continue to be simple but effective. No overly detailed shading or detailing, just fun and playful graphics that will please eyes of all ages. Whether you’re trying to throw balls into cups or trying to throw strike after strike, every game has a distinct feel to it.


The music in Carnival Games really sets and suits the tone of the game. The music in the menu is very ragtime-esque, and the music during the games perfectly portrays the friendly but competitive mood you and your friends will be in when playing these games. Accompanied by an announcer (or as the game calls him, “game barker”) that sounds perfectly like one you would find at an actual classic carnival, the sound in this game does a perfect job to create a festive mood in the comfort of your own living room. However, the game barker has so many frequent and repetitive lines that he can get a little obnoxious and annoying sometimes. He can be turned down in the menu, so if he does get on your nerves, there’s no need to keep him around the entire time.

The sound design in the game is really good. From scrolling through the menu to selecting games to play, and from shooting darts at balloons to shooting targets at the shooting range, every little thing in this game has been thought and taken care of. The only demerit, which is a little bit of a stretch, shows its face when the game is finished and you are being shown who won the game. When the game reveals the winner of the game, it does so by revealing scores from fourth place all the way up to first. During this, the game plays sounds that are rather blunt and boring, and they don’t really suit the tone they’re going for, which should be cheery and celebratory. Instead, they sound like the scoreboard is a little bit of a drag.


Carnival Games is, to its core, a minigame party game. Just like the previous iterations, the game is filled to the brim with up to 20 minigames to be enjoyed by up to four players. The game can be played alone, however, if you’re playing against easy AI, prepare to win very easily. This can be useful if you’re just trying to unlock every minigame for when you’ll be playing this game with other people and don’t want to go through collecting tickets to play that one game everyone wants to play.

Carnival Games has four ‘areas’: Jungle Lane, Saturn Station, Vulture Gulch and Nuts & Bolts. Every area has up to five games. However, when you first start up the game, only two of five games are available in every area. To unlock the rest of the games, you have to collect tickets. These can be collected by playing the available minigames. Every unlockable game costs the player 25 tickets, so it’s not a very difficult job to unlock them all. All minigames have similar controls, which are explained every time before a minigame starts.

Carnival Games has two game-modes: Free Play (which speaks for itself) and Tournament. There are two types of tournaments, named Decathlon, in which you will play 10 minigames, and World Circuit, in which you will be playing all games you have unlocked at that time. There is an option to play games individually, or in teams of two. Choosing games can be done by browsing the selection screen, or by having the game pick a random game for you to play.

The sensitivity of the controls is set rather high. More often that not, you will be finding yourself trying to not overshoot or miss a target, and it is pretty difficult to not move your joysticks too much. This way, concentrating on a minigame is a little bit harder than it has to be, which is unfortunate to say the least. Also, some of these games are as easy as spamming buttons without actually having to follow the instructions.

When playing on your own, you will face off against AI as your remaining opponents. Before you select what kind of game mode you want to play, you get to choose who your opponents will be and what difficulty you will be playing against. Every character can only be selected once, however selecting one doesn’t take them out of the pool of options later on. This means you will potentially have to flick through up to two unavailable options before getting to characters you can actually select.

There are three difficulty options: easy, medium and hard. If you choose to play against easy AI, prepare to destroy all competition with your eyes closed. For some games this is even the case when playing against medium or hard AI, which might make you question how small the difference between the different difficulties actually is.


All things considered, Carnival Games does a pretty decent job at creating a fun and breezy atmosphere and replicating a fun day at the carnival, whether you’re playing with family and friends or just on your own. The music perfectly creates the illusion of being at a fun fair, and the sound design suits the tone to a T. Even though the game has a few problems, it’s easy to look past those and casually play fun minigames whilst hanging out with the people you most like to surround yourself with.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Carnival Games - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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