How time flies… the same fresh-faced Carrie who began her first assignment with Caregivers International as an infant nurse is now
married and raising two children of her own: Safi, the daughter she adopted
from Africa in the previous game, and her husband’s son Peter – both of whom are now teenagers! Camp Funshine: Carrie the Caregiver 3 finds Carrie assuming the role of head counselor at a summer camp for 7- to 13-year-olds with a new set of time management challenges to face.
Carrie the Caregiver 3 offers 70 levels broken up into five popular camp tasks that Carrie must help the children to complete: Tie-dying T-shirts, making friendship bracelets, growing flowers, constructing birdhouses, and cooking
gooey s’mores at the campfire. After spending ten levels on each task, the kids will move on to a different task. In the later stages of the game, tasks will alternate with every new level to keep players on their toes.
During a typical day, Carrie must seat the children at tables to prepare them for the day’s activity. In a new twist, tables hold either one or two children, and if a child is seating at a two-person table then he or she needs a partner. Children can be partnered with other children (you’ll get a bonus if you seat them with the partner they request), or paired with either Safi or Peter who have also joined the camp as counselors-in-training.
Then, Carrie must help the children complete whichever craft they are working on. To make friendship bracelets, for example, Carrie must give a piece of twine to each child, then take them the right color of beads that they ask for, followed by the right kind of charm (boys like suns,
while girls like moons). Then, she must grab the scissors to snip the bracelet, then drop the finished bracelet in the bin to clean up.
Like the previous game in the series, there will be crises for Carrie to solve. For example, a child might fall asleep or get confused, or two children seated together might start chatting or fighting – or even smooching! – and it’s up to Carrie to get things back on track.
In addition to the partnering feature, Carrie 3 introduces a few other new
twists to the formula. By clicking on various critters like butterflies, ants
and caterpillars that appear on the screen, you can earn extra hears for Carrie to distribute to children who are getting upset. You can also have a child play with the camp’s pet rabbits to keep them calmer while waiting.
The time management gameplay is rock solid, allowing players to chain commands far in advance and plan ahead, since requests are based on the color of each child’s shirt (i.e. the blue-shirted child will always want blue beads, blue paint, and so on). Things really start to heat up in later levels when Carrie can hold three items at a time.
As good as Carrie 3 is, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the game, while still a wonderful experience, is resting on its laurels just a bit. At least, that is to say, there isn’t as much of a leap forward from Carrie 2 to Carrie 3 as there was between the original Carrie the Caregiver and Carrie 2. This shows up in little ways; for example, while the production values on Carrie 3 are very good, many of the sound effects – while adorable – were simply brought forward from previous games and no longer have the right context, such as older children making baby noises when Carrie brings them something. As well, props like guitars, rabbits and critters seem to come and go without any explanation – it’s perhaps a small nitpick, but why would there be all kinds of bugs in the campsite one minute, and none the next?
Make no mistake: Gripes aside, we liked Camp Funshine: Carrie the Caregiver 3 a lot. With three level goals to shoot for (Goal, Advanced and Expert), and an Endless Camper mode, the game offers a lot of replay vlaue for completionists and time management veterans. And the fun and heart-warming theme is one that can be enjoyed by everyone.