The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Remember when I said the Dissidia version of Blue Fields as the worst remix in the game. Well, I was wrong. The remix of Final Fantasy XI’s overworld theme, Over that Hill, is far far worse.

Ick. So slow and boring and what’s with the reverb? Anyway, Dissidia isn’t the subject of todays post. I hope you’re not afraid of terrifying clowns ’cause today I’m talking about terrifying clowns.

CarneyVale: Showtime is a rag-doll physics game available on XBox Live’s Indie game Marketplace. Developed by Gambit Game Labs it is one of the most professional and polished Xbox indie games available. And, amazingly, it’s not nearly as terrifying or cringe inducing as its circus theme would have you believe. Its aesthetic hues closer to the best casino levels in the classic Sonic games than say… Aero the Acrobat or Kid Klown in Crazy Chase.

CarneyVale is a magical circus and one of its rising stars is Slinky, the living doll acrobat. He dreams of being the most famous of CarneyVale’s acrobats and so sets out to wow the audience with never before seen death-defying stunts and trapeze tricks. The goal of each level is to get Slinky from a cannon at the bottom of the stage through a ring of fire at the top. You’re only given minimal control over Slinky and instead have to control his trajectory with grabbers placed throughout the level. When Slinky is near a grabber pressing A will cause it to hook onto him and spin him around. Release it at the right time to send Slinky flying towards the next one. This creates a marvelously fluid style of game as you fling Slinky from one grabber to the next, gaining points for flips or perfect throws.

Showtime starts out easy with no obstacles or traps but soon Slinky is dodging walls of electrified bricks, steering rockets through streams of flames, and performing perilous balancing acts on dangerously placed grabbers. The later levels are extremely challenging and quite sadistic. Unfortunately, the game only features 18 stages (though more can be unlocked by excelling at levels) but does offer awards (in place of achievements) and a level editor.

The circus theme is also used to great effect with playbill quotes at the end of each performance and an audience that gasps at the more extreme stunts or murmurs loudly if you take too long to get to the top of a level. The game excels at creating a magical atmosphere and avoiding the cliches of a “circus game.” Concept art and loading screens show a wide verity of characters that suggest a larger story than just Slinky’s acrobatic antics. I hope this means more games in the CarneyVale series. This is one of the best games on XBox live and at only 400 SoftClams™ an amazing bargain. I can’t wait for more.

1 Comment

Filed under Games

One response to “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

  1. OctoPrime

    I’m glad that someone is willing to try all these XNA games, so I can learn which ones are worth my time.

    It’s a bit of a full-time job, otherwise.

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