What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this colorful collection of circus-themed mini-games offers kids a lot of variety and some really fun active-gaming experiences, but that there are a number of less interesting, harder to play segments as well. The inconsistency may be a source of frustration for some kids.
What's it about?
In order to become a star of one of the Big Top shows in RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS, you first need to spend a lot of time testing your skills at dozens of different acts on the back lot. Only after you've gained certification in enough different acts will a spot in the "Greatest Show on Earth" open up for you. Acts include all the classics you'd expect (tightrope walking, trapeze, clown pie fights, animal training, etc.), plus a few more surprising ones (a singing dog chorus and clown bowling, for example). Along the way, you'll earn Barnum Bucks, which you can use to purchase new costume pieces or random circus-related prizes (balloons, cotton candy, etc.) that don't seem to serve any purpose once bought.
Is it any good?
There's a really awesome big-top game hidden somewhere at the core of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but a number of way-too-difficult mini-games with touchy controls hold it back from reaching anywhere near "Greatest Game on Earth" status. Successfully guiding a unicycle across a tightrope, for example, apparently requires the hands of a surgeon -- the movements needed to keep the unicycle upright are so minute, that a hairsbreadth in the wrong direction will send you plummeting off screen. And then, strangely, some of the other tightrope games (there are four) can be completed with far less difficulty. All of this is not to say that there isn't fun to be had with Circus. Many of the stunt, animal training, and clown games are a blast to play. And the way the acts you trained for appear in suped-up, more challenging forms when you reach the Big Show is done really nicely. Still, some of the control problems will leave you shaking your head.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the way backstage practice sessions are used to prepare players for Big Top shows. How does this mimic real life? Is there an important lesson about practice and preparation in the game?