From the Garage: CarneyVale Showtime

Welcome to From the Garage, TGR’s weekly feature spotlighting Xbox Live Community Games and independent development. Given the enormous amount of content that is hitting the marketplace, we’ll keep you clear of the garbage and point you in the direction of treasure. This week, we feature CarneyVale Showtime.

CarneyVale Showtime

A game requiring precise timing and a keen eye for understanding basic physics is essentially what you’re getting with CarneyVale Showtime. In the game you will control Slinky, an acrobat in a circus show. You’ll fling the ragdoll character higher and higher via different “hooks” to pop a number of balloons, find secret stars, and eventually fling his seemingly lifeless corpse through a ring of fire. The game essentially boils down to a vertical platformer, complete with collect-a-thon gameplay.

It manages to break free of some platform genre conventions due to its verticality and its almost complete lack of platforms. The hooks serve as the only means for travel, and work quite well. Timing is paramount as you’re swung around quickly. Most of the time you can save yourself by grabbing onto a nearby hook, but a number of times you’ll flop down to your death.

Within each level you’re judged based on how many balloons you’ve popped, and your success or failure at finding the secret star in the level, running through in “perfect” fashion (not dying), beating the level within the “target time” and beating the level at all. You are rated from one to five stars based on how many of these five objectives you complete. It’s up to you if you really want to go out of your way and try to complete all five challenges — I chose not to.

One of the better parts of the game is its graphical presentation. This is a community game, but CarneyVale does not skimp on quality. It stands up to Xbox Live Arcade standards admirably.

CarneyVale is definitely one of the better community games to hit the service, but its quality will depend on how long you are captivated by its vertical levels. CarneyVale definitely deserves to be played, but I’m not convinced it deserves a purchase at 400 Microsoft Points.

Verdict: Try It

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