The minigames are more important than the action on the board, though, aren't they? Pirates' Carnival doesn't seem to be a letdown there, either. While you'll run into the usual fighting free-for-all with crappy control, things get a little more imaginative than that. The worst from our play test was a wannabe Where's Waldo (remember that old thing?) starring a buff panda dude; the best involved climbing a snowy mountain while bowing politely to polar bears and slicing up freaky rabbits. If you like the sound of lunging around on stilts, gliding to the ground with the help of an octopus parachute or beating people up and throwing them through basketball hoops, Pirates' Carnival should do the trick.
At the end of a game, the number of squares on the board is totaled up and bonus treasure gets handed out based on who managed to do what during the course of the game - even the biggest loser gets some extra cash. Whoever comes out richest is the winner, then it's time to start all over again, if you're so inclined.
And, oh yeah - if you're a One Piece fan, you'll dig on the fact that eight playable characters from the whiz-bang anime series are here, along with dozens more of its less popular whackjobs on the periphery. The spirit of the anime is definitely captured, for fans; people who have never seen a moment of it will simply be mesmerized and confused by the game's utter peculiarity. Either way, this is one title that fills a weak spot in the PlayStation 2's library - but not so much the GameCube, of course, with its avalanche of Mario Party games - and is fun in and of itself to boot. Can't ask for much more from a game based on a cartoon series, can you?