SHORT REVIEW: PS4 VR
Carnival Games VR practically screams 7 out of 10 doesn’t it.
Myself and Joey Joey Jo plan to enjoy a selection of mini-games designed to show off your shiny new VR experience.
We shall review each game individually, check to see if the technology works and ask the most important question, “is it any fun?”
Your adventure begins by throwing you directly in the centre of the park with little fanfare. You won’t need to negotiate a menu screen, which is fine. What isn’t fine is the lack of set up, as the camera immediately tells you “you are not in the play area!”. This is the first game we’ve experienced where it doesn’t centre you on start… this does not bode well.
A lack of menu indicates a lack of any meaningful multi-player. That seems like a missed opportunity.
Anyway, enough of this, to the first section of park! I’ve been excited by every virtual experience so far and I’m keen to mess around.
Park Section 1 – Cowpoke Corral Alley
“Go ahead and choose the Cowpoke Corral Alley and come on in!” says the sinister guide, this bastard’s a bit too chirpy for my liking. Anyway, to the first game, over to Joey Jo Jo…
As in all VR games, the first thing I do is I look down… to find out I’ve got hands but no body. “So you’ve got a Golden Arm, do you?” Now throw balls at some milk bottles. Uh oh, better strap into those Move controllers… At least you can throw objects at your host and he will react. “Hey! Are you sure you’re using that thing correctly?”
It’s a classic carnival game, although none of the gold milk jugs have been glued to the fucking table. So in a way, it’s not a classic carnival game.
Happy to report it just about works. Are you having fun Joey Jo Jo?
“Arrr, I’m trying to see if I can beat these people’s online scores, so.. errr.. yeah. I guess.”
On her third try she aced the game and received 3 stars and 25 tickets. Throwing balls at milk bottles for 4 minutes was an inoffensive start. What else is there?
Verdict – Functional.
Have guns, will shoot. Shoot targets, shoot your host, win tickets!
When isn’t shooting things fun? Saying that, it would be nice if the bullets weren’t big stodgy balls. Until Dawn has ruined this for me. You stand in a static spot and blast away. Also there are no stages, no interesting changeable moments and no reason to play it again. G-Con games on the PS1 had more going for them. How I long for a Point Blank.
Verdict – Simple entertainment that lasts a minute.
Roll the ball up the alleyway into the holes. Later in this review you’ll come across the game “Down the Stretch”, because of the unlocking nature of the game we played Alley Ball last. We already did this and the second time round we were less forgiving.
Joey Jo Jo had to stand up to play this one, she was not amused.
Looks like you may need to re-centre for each game. Not a gripe, just an observation.
Scott says “I don’t feel like there’s any skill in this” as I throw the ball hard down the lane with my wibbly wobbly hand.
Verdict – A clone of “Down the Stretch”. Lasted a minute or two.
You begin Carnival Games VR with two games at your disposal and the rest you’ll need to unlock. That’s unfortunate, as it would have been nice to wander the park at your own pace, ya know; like a real park. Each themed area has 3 games to play and you’ll need to unlock these areas too. You earn 5 tickets on completing a game, or 25 tickets for acing it with 3 stars, all together now “wow-weeeee”. Tickets do not transfer to each “section”. The next game to unlock is 50 tickets… fuck off.
Top tip – To earn a lot of points very quickly, go to the darts event and hammer those fucking things into the wall without caring in 10 seconds flat. You’ll earn 5 points per game. Repeat until wealthy. Find a similar game in the next themed area and roar with anger and bile.
Parts of the game should be interactive, but aren’t. You’ll see a tantalising object in the world, lick your lips at the prospect of picking it up, but can’t, because lazy. You’ll want to throw something at some balloons, they won’t pop, cos lazy. You want to punch someone in the face, but can’t cos lazy. This game does not entertain player entertainment.
Park Section 2 – Wizards Walkway
Urgh, there’s some weird looking Shrek lookalike sitting up there… hmm… let’s climb.
“Wow, that’s some of the worst water animation I’ve seen in years.” “That is not even Mario 64 water.” “No, that’s not Banjo Kazooie water.”
As Joey Joey Jo shimmys across the rope “Oh man, don’t like that.” Joey Jo Jo loses her grip and falls, “URGH! That was horrible.”
The game loses it’s tracking quite easily, which is unfortunate. It requires a lot of re-centring and dimming the lights didn’t help.
Some of the blue things you grab look like a twi’leks tit.
Bloody hell, this is going on for a while isn’t it. Joey Jo Jo is coming up to 500 seconds now. You should be able to select beginner, advance or expert level. Maybe the game should enjoy a fail state, in which you fall 3 times, game over… move on, nothing to see here. Watching the camera glitching in and out of the screen is pretty painful. Joey Jo Jo keeps hitting the PS button on the move controller. The only game she does this on consistently. She finally gets to the end, gets a crown for her troubles and is unable to put it on her head, or throw it. Why doesn’t that work. SLAPDASH!
Scott has a go after some camera resetting. The game is not consistent. Sometimes your hands aren’t touching the handholds and that’s fine. Other times, you’re definitely holding something and it still counts as a fall. Scott tries climbing from a sitting position on the sofa to see if this affects the camera. But then, it doesn’t really feel like you’re climbing if you’re actually sitting on your sofa pulling objects towards you, does it? Also, why is this carnie guy still talking? I’m pretty sure we turned him off two games ago. Scott completes the course in a much more respectable 200-ish seconds. So, seated climbing is a thing, now? Oh, and he got given the exact same 5 tickets for his efforts even though he did better. Mwah hahahaha.
On my second go I had to turn it off after 10 seconds. The entire world was glitching in and out and I couldn’t handle the insane unprompted movements. You’re not climbing anything, but moving the world around you. Your reward for making it to the top is looking down and seeing certain death as your disembodied corpse floats midair, please don’t fall. Please! In that respect, it’s a great game for the kids.
Verdict – Pretty broken and not very fun. Sickening.
The individual rings are laid out in front of you to pick up. You need to move way too far forward to reach the rings. You’re halfway to the TV, so you’re always falling foul of the “out of play area” message even though everything is still working. Second go though and Scott has aced the game. No really, 900/1000. Onwards to the prize booth, unlock another game, Pop Darts!
Verdict – It’s fine. Guess what, it’s short! Throw 10 rings and done.
Scott has stayed in the same spot, is standing stock still, yet his onscreen dart is moving. May need to check the camera setup. Tempted to say it’s the game. Scott is moving around the room much more than in any other VR game. One of the few times that I’m fearing for my safety. This one doesn’t work. Moving forward to pick up the darts brings up warnings, no amount of re-centering seems to make much difference. Now a quick interlude to check the camera setup. I mean, if the camera was good enough for Batman, it should work for Carnival games right? We can throw Batarangs with this camera placement, but not darts or rings?? What?
Scott then tries this minigame again from a seated position, it’s slightly easier, but the darts are still flickering, so possibly there are still some camera range problems.
Camera now in 3rd position, above the TV. “It’s better, but still shit.” So, still not quite right with the aiming.
Joey Jo Jo sat down on her go, I was standing. She hadn’t re-centered the view for the fact that she was sitting and it worked fine. The next round started and she was out of view. It decided she was out of view for no reason. The level didn’t change, she didn’t stand or sway, it was out of view because fuck it. It’s badly designed from a technical and game standpoint.
Verdict – Broken shit
The park aspect is genuinely fucking creepy. Strange alien children dressed as werewolves, the hideous staring, the adult men with dummies. The park guide is a total bastard that’s incapable of shutting up. He has 4 lines of dialogue per event, all of them shit. A small child would be insulted by this arsehole. Thankfully if you can find the options tent, you can mute him.
You know that crown we couldn’t pick up in the climbing game, some NPC is walking around the park wearing it! We couldn’t. Sad face.
Park Section 3 – Gizmo Grove
First of all, where are the gizmos?! What a misnomer, every zone, sorry, alley, looks the same. Not that you’d notice, since you’ll be too busy checking on the weird looking patrons in masks that creep up on you from all sides.
Another game where you throw things. Do I need to tell you what a shark tank is? Scott has already played and quit before I finished typing this sentence.
It’s exactly the same as the first game we played, “Golden Arm”, instead of bottles we have a target board.
Verdict – Complacent clone.
Funnel cake stacker
Pick the plates up in each hand and catch the cakes lobbed at ya. Somewhat fun. The creepy guide’s talking again, I muted him but he’s exclaiming “that’s putting the fun in funnel”. I think he’s planning to kill me.
Joey Jo Jo makes her own fun by chucking cakes at the sinister guide. Lasted a minute.
Verdict – Not too bad, fun in fact.
An on-rails shooter! With frickin’ lasers, cartoon ghosts, skeletons and spiders.
I don’t know what to say about this… erm. It’s ok, but incredibly short and devoid of any imagination.There’s is no finesse as a hundred things pop up all at once and you recreate your favoured John Woo film.
Joey Jo Jo somehow lost tracking whilst standing on the spot. She remarks “It’s alright, it’s a minutes worth of entertainment”. Halfway through her second go she glitched out, standing to the left of the cart. It didn’t affect her new high score.
Verdict – It’s good, but very, very short. Do you sense a theme?
I’ve decided this isn’t a fun light entertainment game but a full blown survival horror experience on par with Until Dawn. The dead-eyed children boring a hole into my soul, the full grown man walking through his offspring, sucking on a dummy. The sinister guide has un-muted himself, he won’t stop. He can’t stop. I’m glad none of my home appliances are hooked to the internet or the bastard would get me.
The mini-games are incredibly mini! We’ve nearly finished this already!
We later found you don’t need to reach for the objects on the table. On holding the “pickup” button whatever you aim at flies into your hand, completely negating our earlier point and the whole concept of existing in a Virtual Reality fun park.
You can purchase items from the same shop you unlock games and mess with them in a playroom. You can move around and pick these items up. There is no play. It’s not a room but an open area. There is no fun to be had here. You can put objects in the mole holes. It’s not a room, there is no fun. You can bounce the objects on the trampolines. Devoid of fun, the anti-fun room. You can turn it off. Turn it off, quickly, before he gets you. TURN IT OFF!
Park Section 4 – Sports Station
DOwn the STRETCH
Roll the balls down the lane into the holes. Blimey, what a surprise. The game has become incredibly glitchy and my hands desperately attempt to escape my body, possibly to strangle me, in an attempt to end this.
Even after re-centering my hands disappear and reappear randomly. Sometimes I can’t pick up balls. Some of the balls fly off the screen for no reason. And I can’t use both hands at once to speed up my progress. You know, roll one ball while picking up the next one? My arm is tired. I’m done.
Out of the way Joey Jo Jo, my turn!
Not so much glitching. Hey you’re in first place! Scott is doing well at this!
Verdict – Huge shrug.
You have a catcher’s mitt. Catch these baseballs! Oooh, a curveball, Oooh a fastball! WTF is a Hokey Joe? OK, it’s getting a bit ridiculous now. A “snake” pitch? Is that a real baseball pitch? Is it?!
I don’t mind a bit of catch, but these curve-balls defy logic, as it feels like it’s been programmed by someone who’s never thrown a ball in his life. There is no replay value as a second attempt reveals the pattern remains the same for each throw. It’s a crap memory test. Abandon game.
Verdict – A shite hat. Meaning a hat that is full of shit, then placed upon your head.
You know those real life basketball games at the arcades? It’s that. Time limit, throw the balls in the hoops. Joey Jo Jo’s pretty good at this somehow.
Not glitching out, seems to work fine.
Surprisingly, that works. Here Scott, have a go. Scott sets a new high score! How do you feel? “Meh.”
Verdict – Actually good.
The final conclusion
The only limit to VR is your imagination. I fucking worry for the people who made this game, as they’d given up or were desperate for a pay day? This is a callous money grab.
The 12 games on offer provide 5 minutes of entertainment at best, if it decides to work. This game does nothing with Virtual Reality, you can’t even select the menus by looking at them. It’s a PS3 Move game pretending to be a VR game.
I wasn’t expecting to find gwent in a title called Carnival Games, but what I was expecting was a competent selection of mini-games that worked, or showed off some interesting moments. I mean, you could set ring toss in space! The whole thing lacks ambition or basic competence.
Our mutually agreed score is: –
It’s like those cash-in games on the Wii didn’t happen*. Games like this will kill VR. I really wanted to like this, I wanted a selection of fun mini-games to throw stuff around, to show off and enjoy with friends. Carnival Games VR is an insult. If this was your first experience of VR, you wouldn’t return. A friend remarked “It’s meant for kids, but under 12’s are not supposed to use VR”. Can I get my money back?
I would sack this off and dig out some of the original Move games again instead. At least they’re multiplayer. I guess when you go to real fairgrounds you play these games, you a have a bit of fun, but you know it’s just a diversion. No one is actually good at these games, they’re all rigged against you. Also, you know that you’ve been essentially conned out of your money. So maybe this is actually an authentic experience? Except in real life, I would at least have a cuddly toy to take home.
*Just before we published this review, we realised that Carnival Games was already released on the Nintendo Wii. Not the Wii U, the Wii from 2006!
“Hey, Joey Jo Jo, I seem to remember a crap Carnival-type game on the Wii?”
“What, another Carnival game? What are the odds?” Joey Jo Jo checks on the internet. “Not a Carnival-type game, it’s actually the same game! Is this a port? Wow, the original game had 30 mini-games and multiplayer!”
“I already felt ripped off. Now I find out it’s a Wii game from 2007. I feel even worse now. Anyway, feel like a game of Headmaster?”
“Yeah alright, at least that’s a VR game”