Karnival Review: From Selling Lemonade to the Carnival

Carnivals have always been a classic icon of a place to spend time with friends and family, and it’s usually represented with a Ferris wheel or a cotton candy machine.  Carnival games have been transferred onto the digital screen also, including ring toss and whack-a-mole.  While the carnival has always been associated with the word “fun”, the letter “K” in this game seems to make this word turn out to be a whole different meaning.

If two words can describe the gameplay, it’s pretty much Lemonade Tycoon.  You build your structures, earn money, attract customers, and all those great things associated with running a business.  If people aren’t interested in your carnival anymore, you must move on into other areas and cities to lure in more and more people.  While in description it sounds fun, Karnival seems to have some minor flaws that keep it from becoming major.


Graphics: Graphics aren’t bland, they’re not great, they’re right in the middle.  The presentation looks fine, and I came to enjoy the look and feel of the game.  While the building models aren’t quite what they look like in the screenshots, the current 2.5/3D models will suffice.

Items/Collectables: There are so many stores for you to unlock, it’s unbelievable.  From balloon stores to gypsies, you have a long way to go before unlocking all the shops and stores and completing your carnival adventures.  You should find yourself jaw-dropping at the amount of things there are to unlock, and I found there to be more than I expected.

Locations: There are around 20 different locations to pitch your tent, and once you start playing the game, you’ll see that it’s more than enough.  When I first opened the application, I thought to myself, “There is no way I’m going to unlock all of those.”  There are many different locations to chose from, and personally, I think it’s welcoming to see developers add tons of content.


Interaction: This is a game that require little to no interaction, and it’s very far from being a “hands-on mobile” experience.  The basic gameplay is this: open your carnival, fast forward through the day, rinse and repeat.  The only interaction would be setting up a new shop or moving locations once interest from the people has died down, and it’s definitely a game that didn’t interest me much.

Tutorial: The tutorial was pretty lacking, and by the end of the day, I did not know what I was doing at all.  What the tutorial did do right was explain all the basic gameplay mechanics, but it didn’t explain when new locations were unlocked or what all the buttons stood for.  While I did understand Karnival’s basic gameplay, it would have been nice if the tutorial explained more of the extra stuff.

Karnival was a game that I had hope in, and being a huge fan of Lemonade Tycoon on the iPhone, I was expecting a little bit more than this.  Atleast Lemonade Tycoon required some interaction including changing the recipe, changing locations, etc.  I was able to leave my phone running Karnival for 30 minutes with just two taps on the screen, and I would earn money as if nothing had happened.  While the presentation and production values are high, it definitely needs some work on speeding up the gameplay and providing a more interactive experience.


Karnival was developed by Hands-On Mobile, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $3.99 for a limited time sale.



About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

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