Impressions: Go Play: Circus Star

At the circus you always expect a good time to be had by one and all. Subsequently with a circus title released for the Wii in Majesco’s family-friendly series with Go Play Circus Star, you’d expect some fun and interesting circus antics or perhaps a bit of a career mode in which you vie to become one of the most popular circus stars around. Instead, you get a lackluster collection of mini-games that, just like Go Play Lumberjacks, is held together by shoddy production values and hastily thrown together for some quick ‘n simple casual gameplay.  While that’s a respectable goal in itself, the genre has seen better and I sincerely hope that future Go Play titles do not end up as lazily created as this one.

When you fire up the game you’re given a choice between six different avatars that will represent you in the game. There is no customization to be had here, and strangely enough I found that you cannot use your custom Miis during play, which seems to defeat the purpose of actually having them in the first place. As with Go Play Lumberjacks, the character do not move their mouths when they speak and they make strange, exaggerated and wonky movements suggestive of low production values as per usual.

You can’t choose any kind of career mode so the meat of the game lies within free play or tournament mode, where you will play through fifteen different mini games, all appropriately circus themed. In tournament mode you’ll work your way through a road trip that ends in Las Vegas (you will only travel to four different locations), and you can choose between unicycling, taming wild animals, knife-throwing, juggling, and even practice as a human cannonball. These activities are divvied up into different categories with several different mini-games within each one to try out. This is essentially the same game as Go Play Lumberjacks, though in Circus Star you will be aiming to please the crowds that come out to witness your exploits. While you participate in different mini-games, you’ll need to keep filling the trick meter displayed onscreen in order to keep the crowds cheering you on. If for some reason you displease them, they’ve got plenty of tomatoes handy to toss your way.

If you do a good job, the crowds will shower you with additional money as well as the ability to unlock new and different games to test out. I enjoyed this aspect way more than the lumberjack themes in the previous Go Play title I reviewed, as it offered a finite goal to look forward to rather than just some arbitrary lumberjack competition. However, most of these games are little more than silly button-press competitions and waggling of the Wii remote in order to finish a game with flying colors. It offers Balance Board support, though I do not own a Balance Board so I cannot accurately comment on how well the added control benefits the various games.

The circus motif should be a no-brainer for mini-game collections (and the Wii certainly has no shortage of either), but lackluster production values and repetitive gameplay make Go Play Circus Star a disappointing experience.  Multiplayer should be where the game shines, but the lack of simultaneous play and dearth of inspired activites turns this party game with high aspirations upside down. Taking turns when playing with family and friends shouldn’t have to occur when it unnecessarily draws the games out longer than they should fairly take.  There are better circus-themed collections for the console, but even with its budget price and family-friendly aspirations I wouldn’t bother clowning around here.

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