Everyone’s a Winner with Carnival Games® VR

The VR community has been desperately clamoring for AAA titles for months now; so when developers such as 2K Games come out with a VR debut, you know we take it as a nod and wink for exciting things on the way. 2K Games is a household name in video game publishing, with such smash hits as the NBA2K,  WWE2K, Borderlands, BioShock and Civilization series. Here’s our look at their debut virtual reality title: Carnival Games® VR.

Carnival Games® VR is the virtual reality version of the Wii game released in 2007. It’s a fun-filled virtual carnival that appeals to all ages. The title offers a total of 12 carnie-filled “game modes.”

A Classic Carnival

The game is set inside a carnival-themed park called Midway where a virtual barker (or carnie) is the host, cheerleader and heckler throughout. There are a few Carnival alleys to explore: Cowpoke Corral, Sports Station, Gizmo Grove and Wizard’s Walkway, each with a different group of games that go with their individual themes.

When you launch the game for the first time, only one game will be unlocked by default. You’ll have to earn tickets to unlock more game modes. You can spend your tickets at the Prize Booth where you can choose from fun toys (which you can play with in each alleys “Play Room”), additional games in that alley, or to unlock an entire new alley. Here is a list of all the games:

  • Golden Arm (unlocked by default): your classic throw-a-ball at milk jugs game
  • Shooting Gallery: target shooting with some stationary targets, along with fast moving and flying ones (it’s all about the combos!)
  • Alley Ball: ball-rolling into holes at the end of an alley (aka Skeeball)
  • Ring Toss: a simple ring toss into pegs, which is always a good challenge
  • Pop Darts: this also includes moving targets for higher points
  • Funnel Cake Stacker: one of our favorites – catching cakes shot from a cannon
  • Swish: simple basketball hoops, another classic
  • Shark Tank: dunk other carnival-goers into a water tank by throwing baseballs at a target
  • Down The Stretch: ball-rolling on a ramp with a horse-derby twist
  • Fast Pitch: catching baseballs is not as easy as it sounds when they swerve fast toward you
  • Climbing Wall: grab on to ropes and climb holds and get the prize up high
  • Haunted House: jump in a cart while a conveyor takes you inside a haunted house

There is a neat trophy tent included in game, where you can bask in all your glorious unlocked achievements, or check out ones you’ve yet to achieve. Achievements are cleverly displayed as trophies, which adds some fun and possibly motivation to continue playing.


To move around, the game uses a grabbing mechanic. The Vive controller is represented by cartoony hands that close when you press trigger. You’ll be transported to whichever game tent or entrance the hand is aimed toward. The same mechanic works for grabbing stuff in the individual games. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need to reach out to grab –just point to an object, and then press trigger.

Carnival VR is more of a standing game, making it playable in various VR platforms. While it would be nice to see an  updated version for the Vive and see some room-scale immersion, this doesn’t really detract from the gameplay as it is. It’s a super polished title with high quality graphics, which makes it great for demoing VR to friends and family (especially if they’re not ready for full room scale immersion). It’s marketed as a “party” game in which you can take turns playing with others for a bit of friendly competition. In any case, there’s replay value if you like breaking your own records or just going on leisurely trips to your own personal carnival.

If you’re up for some good clean fun, try out Carnival Games® VR on Steam for $19.99.


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