In Karnival, [App Store] you play as a boy with the arm of a goat who decides to take his talents on the road by starting his own carnival that travels the country offering rides, fortune tellers, snack booths, and 30 different included oddities and attractions that are slowly unlocked as you play the game.
Karnival features gameplay that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played any of the Tycoon series of games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, or many others. In the game you have control over every aspect of your carnival from what rides go where to ticket prices to even keeping your attractions in good repair. You have to intelligently build your carnival to maximize karma, fame, and money earned while (hopefully) keeping your taxes and payroll low enough to turn a profit each day.
Karnival has an intuitive touch based interface to handle all the different carnival management functions, and features a tutorial which does an excellent job at explaining all the ins and outs of running a successful carnival. While the controls and interface do their job well, there were definitely times where I wished I was playing this game with a keyboard and mouse.
If there’s any down side to Karnival it’s that once you progress in the game a bit, you could drive yourself crazy with the micromanagement of your different attractions. Like other Tycoon-like games, you can mostly let your carnival run itself, or endlessly tweak your business to maximize profits and other stat gains.
Overall Karnival is a game that is a lot of fun wth a surprising amount of depth. The art style and music give the game an atmosphere that’s exactly what you would expect of a freaky carnival. With both a story mode that has you traveling across the country as well as a basic sandbox mode, Karnival should keep Tycoon fanatics busy for quite some time.
The game has received strongly positive feedback in our discussion thread, and the developers have chimed in with tips and answers to questions.
App Store Link: Karnival, $5.99