The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

Review: New Carnival Games

One thing I remember as I kid is going to the 4H fair with my parents and being tempted by those enormous stuffed animals by the carnival games. You always saw them hanging, but you never saw anyone win one. That should have been my first clue that there was something fishy about the games.

Flash forward to when we got the first Carnival Games for Wii. The controls were difficult and some of the games nearly impossible. An accurate interpretation of those childhood memories, but for some reason, we just kept on playing. This sort of masochistic behavior is best left for therapy sessions.

So when the sequel, New Carnival Games: Return to the Midway arrived, we thought we were in for more tears and controller throwing. Fortunately for all involved, there have been improvements. Yes, some of the games are quite difficult, but these are balanced by others that are enjoyable to all ages

The overall concept to the game is the same as the first. You create a custom character, play games to earn tickets and virtual prizes, and then redeem tickets for crazy clothes for your character to wear. That’s all there is to it, but for a game aimed at younger kids the silly hats are enough motivation to keep on trying for those tickets.

You’ll play games of the same style you would expect to see at a fair: skeeball, make baskets in a moving hoop, bag tossing, and shooting targets. These are similar to what the first game offered, but the controls seemed a little easier and less frustrating this time around. What really sets this second game apart are the more unusual activities. The family favorite is the haunted house, when gives you a first-person perspective as you aim for and shoot targets on ghosts that pop up. The other would be the tractor pull which, being from Indiana, is something I’ve witnessed in person. This version has all the fun and none of the ear-bleeding.

Overall, the game is aimed at younger kids starting around first grade. Though older kids would enjoy most of the games the first few times, I don’t think it would hold their interest over the long term. If your kids enjoyed the first version of this game, the new one is certainly worth a try.

Suggested Retail Price: $37.99

Website For More Details: New Carnival Games

This product was received as a review sample. The thoughts and opinions expressed will always be honest and heartfelt and no reflection on receiving a sample copy.  We promise to always do our best to also give away each of these products to our readers because it is always better to give than to receive!  Want to know more about how things are handled here at MomAdvice? Be sure to read our Disclaimer which clearly states how things work and know that we will always offer only the best reviews to our readers.

Noodleboro Pizza Palace Listening Game

I recently posted about some of our favorite family board games and Hasbro contacted us to see if we would be interested in reviewing some of their products. They sent over some really great classic games like Operation, Trivial Pursuit, and the Cranium Family Edition.

Tucked in there though was a perfect game for our little children  called Noodleboro Pizza Palace that I had not heard of before. This game was a unique game that works on building listening skills through a fun preschool board game.

The concept is simple and straightforward. You can give your kids little plastic pizzas and then you have a deck of cards that you can draw from to pick your toppings for the pizza. Depending on the age of your child, you can pick as many or as few of toppings as you feel they can remember. The toppings you can choose from can be the traditional pizza toppings, but they can also be silly toppings (like a shoe) which is a surefire way to get your children giggling.

For the game, you show your child the cards you have drawn and then you flip them back over so they can’t see them. This is when they look through their box of toppings and find the toppings that you requested and have to remember what you said you wanted for toppings. Listening skills are the focus of the game so you are trying to see if they listened well enough to remember your topping requests.

There are other elements tucked into the game like a story that shows what can go wrong in a pizza palace if people don’t listen. There is also an audio disc that the children can listen to and build on the listening skills focus.

This game is geared towards children between the ages of three to six years old.

Thanks Hasbro for adding your great games to our family nights.  We truly believe board games are a great frugal way for families to enjoy time together and can’t wait to spend evenings incorporating your wonderful games in our collection.

Suggested Retail Price: $9.99

Website for More Information:Noodleboro Pizza Palace Listening Game

Rockin’ It Out With Wii Music

When our copy of Wii Music arrived, we were a bit skeptical. Based on the summary, the game lets you play a bunch of virtual musical instruments by waving around your Wii remote and pressing buttons. I’ll be honest and say that did not sound very satisfying on paper. However, after countless jam sessions, hand bell performances, symphonies, and music video recording, I can tell you that this game is incredible.

Unlike most games, there is no set path and there is no right or wrong way to experience Wii Music. The game is more of a tool to allow your kids (and you) to understand music theory and foster their musical creativity. This is not done through the sadistic exercises that piano teacher from your childhood employed. Rather, the game introduces you to the basic mechanics of the various instruments and underlying concepts of music and sets you on your way.

You start with about two dozen different instruments to try. As you progress through the additional lessons, games, and challenges offered, you unlock more. This process is extremely satisfying because of not only the sheer number the game offers in total (a whopping 60!), but also their variety and humor. This is a fantastic way to introduce you children to instruments they would never have the opportunity to experience otherwise. Sure, there are the expected standards like a drum set, piano, violin, trumpet and guitar, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Ever played the djembe or taiko drums? Rocked out with a shamisen or sitar? Maybe strummed a dandy on the jaw harp? Neither had I until Wii Music. For some real laughs, you can “play” a dog or cat suit (your Mii barks or meows while dress in full costume), lay down some dope beats with your DJ turntables or beat-boxing, or just go nuts as a cheerleader yelling and shaking your pom-poms. There is enough variety here to keep your family smiling for hours.

Getting to the actual music, the main mode is the “jam sessions” where you can choose your role in the band (melody, percussion, bass, etc) and play your heart out to dozens of songs from the elementary “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to some pop and rock classics like “Mr. Postman” or “Material Girl”. Your kids are not scored, graded, or judged like other music games like Guitar Hero. They are free to play however they like, in whatever style they like. They don’t have to worry about the notes they play, as the game does a surprisingly intelligent job of deciding that for them. To get a great performance, it’s all about the timing, rhythm, and the gusto with which they play.

The lessons mode does a fantastic job of gradually teaching them more advanced concepts of musical theory. It demonstrates how you can play the same song in different styles and how the mood of a song can change from start to finish. This serves as a great teaching tool and make the game more engaging by enabling your kids to play the same songs it an endless variety of ways. You can see what I mean in this video:

There are other modes such as music videos, hand bell performances, music quizzes (another great teaching tool), and our favorite, conductor. Conductor allows you to take control over a symphony or choir who follow your lead through a number of rousing classical numbers. Depending on the speed and tempo of your movements, the musicians will play faster, slower, louder, or softer. This is one mode that does score you and leads to some great competition. If you conduct with robot-like precision, you will not get as high of a score as you might think. You are awarded for creativity and the personality you inject into the performance.

Words can only go so far in describing what playing Wii Music is like, so check out this video and then get your copy!

Suggested Retail Price: $49.99

Website For More Details: Wii Music (Amazon)