More fun than a real carnival? Possibly…
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 fairgrounds. Come; show your mettle; beat the carnies at their own games.
We were familiar with Edaqa’s Room having played his first game, the appropriately titled ‘Prototype’. We also had a good idea of what to expect as we follow Edaqa on Twitter so have seen his posts about developing and testing his new game for quite a while. Prototype was good lighthearted fun, and we expected this game to be the same, especially because of the theme. Carnival’s can be creepy but this game was set in a very wholesome carnival, that you would be more than happy to take your family to.
Carnival is set up to be a collaborative game but you can technically play solo if you want to as there is nothing that requires two people working simultaneously. That being said, there are certain things that will be much simpler if you play cooperatively with a few extra people. Having read the clear instructions at the start, we were ready to enter the carnival. One thing worth noting though, there is no real time limit to this game, but for technical reasons it could be 15 days – that should hopefully be long enough to complete it!
Carnival is a true multi player online experience, allowing up to four users to log in from separate devices, and explore different aspects of the game, with the game progressing equally for each player as puzzles are solved. The game is a completely self-contained point and click adventure, giving it a very simple video game feel, aided by the cartoon-esque drawings.
The interface is the same as that used for Prototype, and includes a useful inventory system to show what has been collected, and also what has been used, and also a handy little notepad that can either be used as a place to keep notes for solving puzzles that can be accessed by all players, or alternatively, as a chat platform if remote players prefer not to have a separate voice/video call going throughout the game (although that would make for a much more difficult game.)
It’s rare in the world of online escape games to find one that manages to evoke that feeling of exploration that we get in a live escape game, but that’s precisely what Carnival managed to do, thanks to the open structure of the game. The non-linear game play had us exploring our environment, often discovering things that made no sense until later in the game, and affording us the opportunity to work on puzzles independently – which is always a blessing when you stumble across one puzzle that makes no sense to one player but totally clicks with another (and we found a few of those here).
Carnival didn’t have much in the way of a narrative, but the game was infused with a silly sort of humour that kept us chuckling throughout play as we progressed through the game. Like the video games that the styling emulates, be prepared to uncover different characters and easter eggs as you make your way towards the finale. The finale was probably where we felt the game fell a little flat, being set in a carnival it would have been nice to see and over-the-top ending (no clowns though, we don’t like clowns).
Don’t let the cartoonish feeling of Carnival fool you into thinking that the puzzles will be easy; they aren’t. The cutesy feel of the game may lull you into the belief that this game will be child’s play, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, one or two that are deceptively simple, but others are more complex and multilayered, requiring a bit more thought than we had initially realised.
Carnival offered a number of easy-win puzzles that had us thinking, “Surely that’s not it?”, combined with others that had us stumped enough to take a clue to get us back on track. But perhaps we found this to be the case thanks to decent sign posting leading us towards exactly what we needed to accomplish. Many of the “easy win” puzzles rely heavily on observation, and drawing a logical conclusion, but that certainly isn’t the entirety of the game. In addition to these tasks, the game brought out varied puzzles that used a combination of logic problems, codes, very minor maths, patterns, plus quite a bit of puzzling out just how exactly to interact with the game itself all combining to keep the game interesting. In other words, Carnival is full of the sorts of puzzles I would expect to find in a live escape game, with enough variety to keep us completely engaged.
Hints are available along each step of the way, and easily accessed using the very clearly marked “?” button on the left hand side of the screen. The system will then use the tried and true method of delivering a series of gradual hints, followed by a solution if needed. One or two of the puzzles felt slightly less than intuitive to us, resulting in the need for a clue or two to be taken. In one instance, the first clue told us what we already knew, but the second clue was enough to have us kicking ourselves as we realised what we had overlooked, which I think shows the sign of decent puzzle design.
We enjoyed Edaqa’s first game, and the second is equally is fun. If you’re looking for some light-hearted family friendly fun, with some trickier puzzles to keep your brains sharp, Carnival is an excellent option, and perfect for remote teams.
- Internet connection
- Pen and paper for taking notes
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 50 minutes (all eggs collected)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.