Step right up, step right up. Come see the eighth wonder of the world, right here at the Big Top!
OK, so there’s no bearded lady in gawking distance, but Spin & Play is a cute circus-themed casual game that lets players play virtual versions of the amusement park attractions we all grew up with.
Alas, the thrill drips away faster than a sno-cone in August humidity, though younger players may get a kick out of these multiple mini-games.
As the name suggests, Spin & Play asks you to spin a giant wheel and play the mini-game it lands on, each one resembling a popular carnival pastime. Not unlike Nintendo’s popular WarioWare games, these activities – represented by a unique token on the wheel — only last a few seconds, but gets more difficult the longer you play and the better you become at them.
Spin & Play houses 16 of these games. Here’s a look at a few of them:
- Smack the Rodent — a Whack-A-Mole-style game where you must use a mallet to hit as many critters on the head within a short amount of time; they pop up out of holes on the board and then drop back down again if you don’t smack them in time (or miss)!
- Pop 100 Balloons – use your mouse to click on as many balloons as you can within a short amount of time. The colored balloons float towards the top of the screen and players will receive 10 points for each one they click before the timer expires (e.g. 570 points for 57 popped balloons)
- Seesaw Frog – You’ll remember this one. Flip the frog into the basket by smacking the seesaw with a wooden club. Try to use the power meter to gauge how far you should toss the frog so that it lands in the moving basket. You have five tries in all.
- Conveyor Catch – A mainstay at amusement parks and Chuck E. Cheese’s, the goal of this game is to navigate a claw over some toys and click to lower it so that it picks up a prize. Except in this version, the toys move along the bottom of the screen so you must time the descent accordingly. You have 30 seconds to catch as many items as possible and rack up as many points as possible.
Other games include tossing basketballs into a net, dropping coins down a pegged board, trying to catch magnetic fish to win prizes and shooting at little hearts for points.
Much of the fun in Spin & Play is to see which carnival games are included in this download, but once all have been found, the game-play gets redundant quickly.
And there’s very little variation between each of the three game modes: Quick Play gives you ten spins on the giant game wheel and all games (tokens) are shown; Surprise gives you 25 spins on the wheel and the tokens all have question marks in the middle so you don’t know which game you’re about to play; while Super Mode gives you 50 spins to start and you an see what game token you landed on.
Instead, I would prefer to see very different game modes or perhaps more than 16 mini-games to play (or unlock) so players have a reason to keep clicking through all the activities.
Aside from a High Score board, another reward for finishing a mode is the ability to decorate the entrance to the park by handing balloons to a clown and adding various flags to poles, but it’s very anticlimactic.
That said, there’s nothing really wrong with Spin & Play – in fact, those with short attention spans may like the simplicity and game variety – but don’t expect to be playing long after you’ve seen everything it has to offer.