Reviewed: October 4, 2006
Released: September 12, 2006
Mario Party meets One Piece in One Piece: Piratesí Carnival. However, like many other games that try to follow in the footsteps of someone else, Piratesí Carnival comes up a little short. Maybe itís due to all the other One Piece games that have been coming out, or maybe itís just Namco Bandaiís lack of experience in party games. In any case, you can easily tell that One Piece: Piratesí Carnival was made by an inexperienced developer for the party genre.
For now, One Piece: Piratesí Carnival has the following features:
Piratesí Carnival has two modes: Board Game and Versus. Board Game mode is what youíll play to open up the mini games that will be available in Versus mode. Both modes just contain mini-games that youíll play against 3 other players.
Board Game mode contains various boards that you can play on (only one board to start with). You basically want to control as many panels as possible on the board. You win a panel by winning mini-games or flipping over event panels. You can even steal panels from other players by trapping their panels between two of your own. Someone in first place can quickly drop to last after losing strategically gained panel.
Versus mode contains the same mini-games as Board Game mode, but there is no board. You can just go through and pick which mini-game you want to play and set it up as youíd like (assuming youíve unlocked the mini-game).
In each mode, you can choose from 7 characters: Luffy, Nami, Zolo, Usopp, Sanji, Robin, or Chopper. Certain mini-games, called captain games, allow you to play as a special pirate, such as Don Krieg. In the captain games, if youíre the special pirate, the game will be you versus the other three.
So what about the mini-games themselves? Well, they are fairly simple and you can pick up on most of them fairly quickly. But the rules donít exactly explain everything clearly. Some mini-games have little quirks that youíd avoid if you knew about them, but many small things you have to figure out on your own. For example, hiking up the mountain with the bears and chickens, I didnít realize attacking the snowmen brought on an avalanche. It took a couple times before I drew the connection. If you donít manage to make that connection early on, you can get pretty frustrated at times.
The one thing One Piece: Piratesí Carnival needs to work on: number of games. Once youíve played Mario Party, you come to expect a party game to have a large collection of mini-games.
The color scheme of the game follows the same styles set forth by nearly every other anime-based game out today: bright and vivid. Yet, it still somehow seems to skimp on being very lively. Maybe itís the booblehead-looking characters. I donít know why Namco/Bandai decided to do stick-figure players with gigantic heads, but Iíd rather see regular One Piece people. They tease you with the opening video, and then thatís the last you see of anything remotely close to the actual One Piece characters.
The screen layout is decent and usually easy to understand. There were a few times though, when Iíd lose track of where my guy was after Iíd get hit in a game. Also, during the screen that explains a mini-game, there is a small controller icon that shows you the button layout. Well, when there are multiple lines going to a small picture of a controller with buttons that are even smaller, it would make sense to use the same-colored line to refer to a particular button. Donít use a red line to show an action caused by the A button.
Namco/Bandai did an excellent job with the voices, which shouldnít be a surprise seeing as how Bandai nearly always nails anime-based games right on the nose when it comes to voices. However, the music and some of the sound effects donít run in the same boat as the voices. A lot of the music sounds like small clips, maybe around 30 seconds for some of the longer ones, just loop around, quickly getting repetitive.
Fortunately, Piratesí Carnival is set at $29.99. For a party game, this isnít much. Mario Party usually comes out at $49.99. However, you do get what you pay for. Your money wonít buy you as many mini-games or as much fun. The mini-games might not be enough to keep you and your friends interested a whole night. You can, however, pick it up and enjoy a game if you have time to kill.
A trial run thatís simply that: a trial run. It really isnít a contender for the Mario Party series, but it hasnít completely washed ashore. Hand has just gotten its feet wet. If they want to make a sequel, they have potential to do so. Piratesí Carnival isnít the buried treasure party-gamers have been looking for. Itís more like the foolís gold of party games.