It’s a real shame when a great gaming concept is butchered by bargain basement production values. Unfortunately that’s the case with Carnival Games: Mini Golf. This game arrives hot on the heels of the bestseller Carnival Games, with high quality expectations.
It’s a bad sign when the bright and cartoony images on the game box actually surpass those in the game itself. Although bright and imaginative, there’s just not enough polish to the visuals; there’s pixilation in parts and actually locating the hole can be difficult because of this lack of clarity. The sound is just as bad; it’s really a missed opportunity, with severely lacklustre tunes and minimal sound effects that would add a sense of fun. Worst of all are the putter swing mechanics, which are cruddy at best. You’re required to swing the Wii remote just as you would a real mini golf putter, but there’s a serious lack of sensitivity which means really small movements simply aren’t registered. This is annoying because it makes it tricky to putt short distances and judge your swing correctly.
In saying this, the game isn’t all bad; it’s just that it could have been a lot better. Although limited to just nine holes, the golf courses are creative and get harder as you progress. Gold coins can be collected and then used to purchase a new golfing wardrobe, natty accessories and other silly items. Players can customise their golfing character to their heart’s content with their purchases. Enjoyable arcade style mini games can also be accessed from most of the courses to add some much-needed variety. Another positive addition is that you can choose to play solo, in a group with friends, or against Barker - the host. Barker isn’t consistently good at mini golf, which often makes for a healthy ego boost when playing against him.
Carnival Games: Mini Golf will certainly entertain young children for a while, but grown-up gamers simply won’t find enough satisfaction to make it a worthwhile purchase.