Edaqa’s Room: Carnival review
|The Carnival is coming and you’re definitely going! Rumour has it that a secret society is hiding there, luring potential members with puzzles spread over the fair grounds. Come; show your mettle; beat the carnies at their own games.|
|Around 90 minutes|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|$12.50 per team|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 80 minutes (collecting all bonus items)|
As with their previous game, Prototype, the design is clean and uncluttered though the theme and accompanying music brought a more family-oriented feel to proceedings this time around. The interface is pretty much identical to their last online experience and, all in all, this is more of the same really.
Carnival is Edaqa’s follow-up to his aptly named first creation Prototype. It has a lot in common, with its cartoonlike graphics and same well crafted bespoke game engine with collaborative gameplay and point and click interface. Depending on preference, you can either play simultaneously on multiple devices, or share one screen and have a single person in control of the mouse.
This is a bright and colourful game that evokes the fun and playfulness of a carnival. The vibrant visuals are a step up from Prototype and the puzzles are seamlessly incorporated into the theme, making use of all aspects of a fairground, from food stalls to rides to scenery. The secret society storyline seemed to disappear though.
To be honest, I wasn’t as enamored with the puzzles in this one. A few of them were simply variations on the same theme – divining sequences is the aim of the game here! Because of this, some parts felt repetitive and it became easier to play as time went on once we noticed the pattern at play. I’ll say now that not everything was similar, just more than you’d really like or expect to see in a single game. It also seemed a fair bit easier than Prototype but with one or two spikes.
The appearance may fool you into thinking this game is for children. Whilst there are some super simple puzzles, there are also some really tricky ones. It means Carnival is perfect for groups with mixed abilities like families. Expect simple searching, interacting with the environment, a mathematical cipher, matching patterns and other logic based tasks. The game leans a little too heavily onto the matching aspect though, and I would have preferred a bit more variety.
There are 4 optional Easter egg puzzles to find and solve along the way. Pleasingly, if you make it to the end without finding them all, like we did, you have the option to return and complete them. A clueing system is available, but we completed the game without needing it.
Despite earlier comments, I genuinely had a good time traversing Carnival. The game was logical and the clean design makes for an experience where you can simply focus on the puzzles. It’s evident that the game hasn’t been thrown together in a weekend and although some of the puzzles were slightly repetitive, they never became a chore.
The game also throws in a cool, seldom seen feature where you can actually complete the game without solving all the puzzles – not everything is necessary to ‘escape’ but going through everything will obviously extend the value of the game. The only downside to this was that there didn’t appear to be a triumphant ending for doing 100% of the game. We expected an extra snippet of story or something along those lines but what we got was a bit underwhelming given the extra ‘work’ we’d put in! That’s definitely something that could be looked at…
If I had to choose one word to describe Carnival, it would be ‘fun’! The visuals, theming and interactive games all shout the word. The only exception is the ending which was pretty anticlimactic. I expected a conclusion to the secret society story and a celebratory ending scene, but it just abruptly ended. This game was iteration not innovation over their previous game, there wasn’t that many new ideas. But overall, this is a well made game that transports you out of your living room and into the joy of the carnival.
Overall, this game is worth the $12.50 charge. You get a well-designed, nice, and breezy game that would be a perfect entry point for beginner players. It may not have the same allure for experienced players but sometimes it’s a good switch to engage with something that doesn’t have all the noise and flash of some of the other games out there.
$12.50 per team is a fair price to pay for what you get. It’s an approachable game with an easy to use interface and a wide range of difficulty levels to appeal to all skill levels. Pick up your tickets and take your family or friends on a socially distanced trip to the funfair!
Theming - 6.67/10
Puzzles - 6/10
Enjoyment - 7/10
Value - 6.67/10