The waft of menace emanating from a carnie’s beard, rigged games, wailing children getting their limbs tangled in the whirring mechanics of a hastily constructed death wheel - sorry - Ferris wheel; there’s no denying it, carnivals are horrible. This makes Namco’s carnival simulator a surprisingly faithful adaptation.
Even real carnies would balk at the audacity of only offering nine shoddy minigames. Especially when the best of the bunch - a remote pointer controlled-cork-gun-target shoot and spreading pancake batter over a hotplate - aren’t as good as Twilight Princess ’ worst minigame offerings.
However, the real indicator that you’ve mistakenly wandered into the carnival of the damned is a dart game that has you tugging the remote backwards to throw the dart forwards. Then you have a hoop fishing game that makes Wii Play ’s awful Fishing look like the most finely honed fishing simulator ever created. The worst offender is the rice cake bake stall which uses the remote pointer to direct the cake-prodding stick and a remote twist to prod; it’s impossible to twist without shifting the pointer so it’s burnt cakes a-go-go.
The weirdest game has you rubbing a crystal ball to receive your fortune. It’s impossible to fail and, unless you speak Japanese, impossible to read. But the general gist of ours said “You will give Ennichi no Tatsujin a 2” – spooky!