At PAX West, the gracious folks at 2K Games allowed me to try a behind closed doors demo of Carnival Games VR–a spiritual successor to one of the best selling Wii games. I will admit, I was a little skeptical of this demo. The original had mediocre reviews and was a liberator of countless copycats full of cheap gameplay and uninspired minigames for Nintendo’s motion controlled system. However, it can be considered that Carnival Games is one of the most successful third-party Nintendo games (selling over 7 million units to date and being the third most successful game on the Nintendo Wii). However, the second I took off the headset with this VR iteration, I was instantly sold on one of the most fleshed out VR games to date.
I was able to look around the Carnival at the many minigames that surrounded me, the 2K rep told me to choose the Haunted House demo and I was thrown in a chariot that looked straight from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I was told to grab the two guns to my side and instinctively I was able to pick them up and feel as if I was actually holding them. I looked around the Haunted House, backdrops looked real and ripped straight from an actual ride–as they shared the same neon aesthetic for most of the props. The chariot hurtled down a track and I felt as if I was actually in a moving vehicle. I was shooting at multiple targets from the hip, I felt like I had full control over the guns in my hand. As racking up as many points as possible, I felt every twist and turn of the track. the ride ended with an abrupt stop to the chariot that made me lurch my body forward. This was when I noticed Carnival Games VR had fully immersed me with a simple roller-coaster and arcade-shooter hybrid. I wasn’t able to play any of the other demos, but if the amount of polish from a single minigame transcends to even the more intricate parts of the game; then 2K has a hit on their hands during the birth of affordable VR.
I can’t stress enough how surprised I am by Carnival Games VR, the game was announced mere days before I played it so my expectations were pretty low. I went in expecting shovelware, something that was cobbled together quite last minute without any follow through. However, I’m excited for other people to try the game–as it’s one of the most diverse and pick-up-and-play VR games I’ve played this year.
Carnival Games VR releases worldwide for digital download for $19.99 on October 28, 2016 for PlayStation VR.