Active Life Magical Carnival is the latest motion-control game in the Active Life series from Namco Bandai for the Wii. Previous titles in the series include Active Life Explorer, Active Life Outdoor Challenge, and Active Life Extreme Challenge. As with the other Active Life games, you will need to have an Active Life Mat and Wii remote to fully play the game. The Active Life Mat keeps track of your foot movements for the game much the way the Wii remote keeps track of your hand and arm movements. Many of the Active Life games can be purchased in a bundle with the Active Mat included.
As you’d expect with a name like Active Life Magical Carnival, the theme of this game is theme park attractions. There are twenty five different mini games on Active Life Magical Carnival. The 25 mini games are broken down into five different themed zones. The zones are Fantasy Zone, Haunted Zone, Circus Zone, Carnival Zone, and Pirate Zone. Each of the different zones contains between four and eight different mini games. You can play the games alone or with two to four players depending on the game. The mat will accommodate one or two people at a time.
I have to say that the first thing that struck me about this game is that the characters are sort of freaky looking. They have these big huge eyes but there are no pupils in them — they are just empty blue orbs. It sort of reminds me of Betty Boop but it’s rather disconcerting to have them bright blue. The animation is pretty good and the bright, neon colors will certain appeal to children.
The game can be played in a variety of different ways. If you use the adventure mode, you go through each game and as you complete it, you collect stickers in a sticker book to show what you’ve done. You can also choose to play each of the mini games individually and pick and choose which ones you’re interested in. You can also choose to play the party in the park mode which will let up to 10 different players play in a series of individual or team based games that is perfect for a party.
You’ll find yourself in a variety of different positions while playing the game. Some have you kneeling on the mat, some will have you running and jumping up and down or tiptoeing. Some you will use your feet to press certain buttons on the Active mat. There are a couple memory games where you see something and then have to report on what was/was not present. There is a pattern matching game to play as well.
I wouldn’t classify this as an exercise type game. While it will definitely gets kids off the couch and moving, there really isn’t any type of workout if what you’re looking for is a fitness game. It is better than having your kids become a couch potato and is a great game to get for younger kids to get them interested in motion control games. I think that older kids would find the mini games a bit too easy to keep their interest but it’s a great idea for younger kids.
Active Life Magical Carnival is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence.