Active Life: Magical Carnival Game Poster Image

Active Life: Magical Carnival

Active gaming in a collection of fun fantasy settings.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to think on their feet -- literally. As the name implies, this is an active game that requires players to get up and move around quite a lot. In addition to the general "let's get physical" aspect of the experience, kids will also get to test their short-term memory, their ability to follow instructions quickly, and their skill at matching colors, shapes, and patterns. Kids move and exercise by playing Active Life: Magical Carnival, but they also keep their minds sharp with thinking games.

Positive messages

Despite these activities being unrealistic, fantasy-based challenges, the game's overarching theme is still one about being active and leading a physically fit lifestyle.

Positive role models

There aren't characters here, but the game has a generally positive tone. Nothing is too harsh; no negative words thrown around.

Ease of play

As long as you keep yourself centered on the floor pad, the controls generally work well.

Violence & scariness

There is one sword-fighting mini-game in which you duel a pirate by mimicking the steps and hand motions depicted in the corner of the screen. It's more about posing than real fighting, since the motions aren't realistic in terms of swordplay. Another mini-game requires you to zap ghosts and suck them into a vacuum.

Not applicable

You need to play the game with the Active Life floor pad, which you can get packaged with the game disc for the higher listed price. If you have a previous Active Life game, you can always use the floor pad from that game and save $20.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Active Life Magical Carnival is a collection of fantasy-themed mini-games that are intended to keep kids up and active while playing. The game uses both the standard Wii remotes and a special floor mat that track their foot movements. One or two mini-games feature mild, very unrealistic cartoon violence. The games are set in themed worlds including circus, pirates, and wizards.

Kids say

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What's it about?

ACTIVE LIFE MAGICAL CARNIVAL invites families to step into a fantasy theme park full of motion-controlled mini-games. You will tame lions and walk tightropes under a circus big top; you'll ride broomsticks and chase ghosts in a wizard's castle; you'll climb masts and duel buccaneers on a pirate ship; and more. Games are played with both the Wii remote and the Active Life floor pad.

Is it any good?


Active Life Magical Carnival, like the rest of the Active Life series, makes excellent use of its distinct, two-person floor pad. Having to step, jump, run, and hop throughout a game definitely increases the overall physicality of it. And most of the time, the actions fit well with the game's designated activity (pedaling, lunging, etc.). There are times, mostly when steering vehicles (including broomsticks), when leaning would have felt more natural, as opposed to stepping. But if the game used, say, the Wii balance board instead, then you wouldn't be able to jump on it. So nothing is perfect, but the developers here have done a great job with the hardware they chose to use. Plus, it's fun to see the kind of active gaming moves usually reserved for sports titles applied to a fantasy-adventure setting.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about active gaming. Is it a legitimate way to stay fit? In what ways can you supplement active gaming in order to lead a more physically fit lifestyle?

  • How does it feel to play competitively with friends or family members? Are you able to be a good sport? Or does it sometimes cause arguments or resentments?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Subjects:Hobbies: sports
Math: shapes
Skills:Health & Fitness: body awareness, gross motor skills, movement
Thinking & Reasoning: memorization
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Namco Bandai
Release date:November 1, 2011
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E for Cartoon Violence

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