💪 Difficulty: Not specified.
⏲️ Time duration: 90 minutes.
🔢 Capacity: 1 to 4 players.
💬 Hints: Every unsolved puzzle will have clues (and solution) available on the top left corner section of the game.
🛒 If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
MATTSTER'S REC 🙂
💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): Ranging from 2/10 all the way to 8/10 (team of 1). When it gets tough, it's tough.
🔢 Ideal team size: For the overall experience, I recommend 1. (A few puzzles, however, may benefit from more brains.)
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 fair grounds. Come; show your mettle; beat the carnies at their own games.
Roughly a decade ago, before real-life escape rooms became a common mainstream topic, their early emergence were mostly confined to online, point-and-click counterparts. If you were not part of the fad then, you can explore a list of such games right here. Ever since then, they never really went away, (and boy am I glad for that). Of course, their eventual evolution into live games is the whole reason why this blog exists in the first place.
Now, "Carnival" by Edaqa's Room falls squarely into the the first category. At its very essence, it is a fair themed point-and-click puzzle adventure, designed and executed well within the confines of its historical predecessors. To say it has broken out of the comfort zone of its mostly conserved web game format would be an overstatement--because it does not--but it indeed does demonstrate what an exemplary model of its kind can be.
In short, the maker of "Carnival" is well aware of the strengths and shortcomings of this sub-genre of escape game, and he maximizes the former while also simultaneously minimizing the latter. Let's break it down:
For the most part, this vibrantly colored online escape experience looks pretty good. Carnival is inherently a paradise for young children, characterized by fun rides and delicious junk food; hence, the cartoonish art style choice reflects perfectly that happy and carefree sentiment. However, while the ticket operator, the hot dog vendor, and the silly clown designs blend well together, all the customer images employ a different stock art type, most noticeable by their eye appearances. I may be a minority that is bothered by this inconsistency, but it does in fact ever so slightly disturb the overall visuals.
Don't touch his wiener! | Edaqa's Room
Puzzles, on the other hand, are plentiful and absolutely consistent throughout. Because of the natural limitation of a point-and-click setup, there is a good chunk of the materials that I have already seen before, though fortunately, the designer has also included as much variety as he possibly can, while implementing them organically in various carnival structures. Every part of the fairground was utilized, the rides, the resting areas, even the trash cans. There is a lot to explore, tons of puzzles to discover and solve, and "Carnival" easily entertains a player for an hour or two.
There'll be a lot of changing elements into the correct colors, clicking on objects in the right sequence, a bit of scavenger hunt, and other familiar territories. I am personally partial to the few that require multiple analysis steps, or the adorable ones that infuse comedy--I mean, who doesn't love wieners jokes? There should always be more delicious wieners jokes.
Also noteworthy is that the game never once tries to trick the players. Everything you need to accomplish is presented in plain sight, except a selected few objects' being a little more well-hidden than others, though this game still always remains fair. This is opposed to the handful of point-and-click escape rooms in the past that purposely put key items in the most obscure places possible, a feature that I do not miss one bit, and graciously not found in "Carnival".
Challenges difficulty ranges from easy-peasy and intuitive (such as ordering items by size), to "are you kidding me, this is SO frustrating!" hard (like a logic puzzle that involves more variables that I could handle). The clue system may become a lifesaver for those one or two pesky puzzles that you just rather not. Nonetheless, overall, it's a solidly competent puzzle variety pack that functions as a healthy and delightful brain workout.
Carnival | Edaqa's Room
Bonus system of Easter eggs is a nice touch, (especially when once again coupled with "looks so good but utterly useless" humor), though I highly doubt if anyone would not be able to collect the majority, if not all, of the eggs simply by the natural progression of game play. And they're right--the emerald one is really, really pretty.
Somewhat disappointingly, the story introduced in the beginning turned out to be just as meaningless as the Easter eggs--the entire notion of a secret society behind all the random puzzles found at the carnival turned out to be a moot point, as there is neither a satisfying explanation or proper closure at the finale...
You mean, after all this hard work, I am not getting inducted into a prestigious, exclusive society after all?! This is preposterous! Well, at least I got to have fun in a carnival... something not so feasible in the dismal 2020.
Make sure to collect all 4 Easter eggs before exiting the game! | Edaqa's Room
★ There're a lot of "alternating patterns" puzzles. So if you see stripes, lights, banners, and such, pay close attention.
★ Though Mr. Delicious may contest a bit, in this game, you should touch on every wiener you see. No, You MUST.
★ Once you exit at the end screen, you won't be able to access the game anymore. So finish everything before doing so!
READY FOR FUN?
"Carnival" is available for purchase HERE.
If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
Full disclosure: complimentary game access was generously provided for review or testing purposes. All media are sourced from and credited to rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. In certain cases, media materials are made available under fair use doctrine of copyright law. ERCarnival.