A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.