A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Carnival Games VR is a downloadable collection of carnival games. That said, one or two mini-games has you shooting projectiles at fantasy creatures like ghosts, while another mini-game has you knocking someone into a dunk tank. Otherwise, this game, which has many of the same gameplay options as an older Wii version of the game, has no objectionable content. Parents should also be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
2K Games' CARNIVAL GAMES VR is a collection of carnival-style mini-games that work with virtual reality headsets like PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive. Examples of the dozen games include "Ring Toss" (throw rings to toss onto pegs), "Pop Darts" (pop balloons), "Swish" (see how many hoops you can make in this arcade basketball game), "Shooting Gallery" (fire at moving targets), and "Climbing Wall" (virtually climb as fast and as high as you can). As with the original Carnival Games on the Nintendo Wii, the motion controls require you to pantomime throwing a ball, tossing a ring, and so on -- and now the VR headset gives you 360-degree visuals tied to head-tracking for an even more immersive experience. You can also collect tickets and redeem them for virtual prizes, like at your local carnival (or Chuck E Cheese), plus you can unlock additional game modes at the Prize Booth. There's also a pass-the-headset multiplayer component to see who can rack up the most points per game.
Is it any good?
Even though this is an update to a nearly decade-old game, the premise is good, but control and camera issues hurts overall play. That said, for under $20, there isn't much to complain about. Carnival Games VR offers a wide assortment of fun arcade carnival pastimes that's also playable in virtual reality. Younger kids may enjoy this VR party collection, because it's fun to play around with games like the shooting gallery or dunk tank. Easy to pick up, these digital versions will no doubt make you smile. Some games are better than others, of course, but it's a challenge to get the high score and then compare your results on the online global leaderboard. The ability to earn tickets and prizes is a welcome addition.
But some games can't get the tracking right, like in dart tossing and basketball throwing, both of which seem off. Another issue is the lack of true online multiplayer, which would've added tremendously to the longevity of the game (with voice support). Plus, if you already have the original game, there's very little reason to buy it again, even with improved graphics and 360-degree VR play. For what it is, this sub-$20 collection is great for little kids, especially if they haven't seen these games before in a previous console generation. Just be prepared to deal with some of their frustration when it doesn't fully work as well as it could.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: HTC Vive, PlayStation VR
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 2K Games
- Release date: November 20, 2016
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.