Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: CarneyVale Showtime

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            Originally available as an Xbox LIVE Indie Games release on Xbox 360, CarneyVale Showtime has spelt much success for Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab. Now available as a Windows Phone 7 Xbox LIVE enabled title, as well as on Games for Windows, CarneyVale Showtime has stumbled upon a winning formula that seemingly very few have taken notice of. While the likes of Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Flight Control are benefiting from much praise and attention, CarneyVale Showtime has slipped onto Windows Phone 7 with merely a nod, which for all it’s ingenuity is clearly a great shame.

            In CarneyVale Showtime, players must learn to throw about the ragdoll clown Slinky, projecting him from gripping claw to bouncing him of walls, to placing him into tubes that fire him through the level at an alarming rate. Each level begins by shooting Slinky out of a cannon, and by pressing the touchscreen the player can extend the rotating Electronic Theatre Imagearm from floating hubs and grab him. Removing your finger from the touchscreen will then catapult Slinky with the momentum at which the arm was rotating, working your way from arm-to-arm and eventually reaching the flaming ring that marks the completion of a level. In addition to that ultimate goal however, the player has a number of bonus objectives, such as collecting all the ballons and/or life tokens in a level, beating a time limit and finding the Secret Star.

            This basic premise is built upon slowly, adding a number of new mechanics throughout its numerous levels. From flaming turrets and electrified walls to rockets and momentum-building tubes, CarneyVale Showtime soon becomes a challenging series of dexterity and timing puzzles, and for those wishing to achieve perfect runs, mathematical equations also. However, while CarneyVale Showtime does have a plentiful supply of levels, there are passed through surprisingly quickly, and only the additional objectives provide the game with a respectable lifespan.

            The presentation of CarneyVale Showtime is noteworthy, significantly bright and colourful so as to stand out from the crowd. Its Cirque de Soleil interpretation of a circus may be a little at odds with itsElectronic Theatre Image often manic gameplay, but that’s surely the point that’s being made. What even more notable however, is that the wholly enjoyable experience is available at an incredibly low price, acting as part of the Windows Phone 7’s Xbox LIVE enabled entry level catalogue.

            CarneyVale Showtime is the kind of experience that Windows Phone 7 should pride itself on providing, immediate, absorbing and unique. Microsoft certainly should’ve made that effort to snap-up CarneyVale Showtime prior to its release on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, as had it been a Windows Phone 7 exclusive title, it would undoubtedly have garnered much more attention in the run-up to and beyond its release. As it is however, CarneyVale Showtime is simply one of the best showcases of ingenuity currently available in the format, and a game which is most likely to be enjoyed by many at its pocket money price.

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