Managing a carnival is all fun and games in Twilight Carnival

Twilight Carnival is a combination of two of the most popular genres on Facebook. It’s part business simulation, letting you build and manage your own amusement park. But it’s also a collection of mini-games, as you can actually play all of games you purchase for your budding carnival. it may not be particularly original, but the two sides of the game work well together and, when combined with a terrific presentation, make for a great overall experience.

You aren’t given a clean plot of land to start your carnival. Instead, you’ll take control of a now completely run-down amusement park and return it to its former glory. In practice, this works much like it does in games like Ravenwood Fair or FrontierVille, forcing you to clear away garbage, plants, and other debris in order to expand your reach. Frustratingly, removing all but the smallest of debris takes a very long time, making this process painstakingly slow.

Twilight Carnival

Actually building up your business is pretty straightforward and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played any of the glut of business sims on Facebook. You build attractions that earn you money at regular intervals, decorations to make the place look less like an abandoned plot of land, and you also have a generator that needs to be running at all times to keep your carnival running smoothly. You’re free to do things however you like, though the mysterious Ms. Luna will regularly give you goals to complete.

The defining feature of Twilight Carnival, though, is its games. As you purchase different games to keep your customers busy, you can also play them yourself. The games are largely pretty simple — the first two you’ll be able to purchase include a Bust-a-Move clone and a novel take on match3 — but they’re still quite fun, and provide a nice distraction from the otherwise cookie cutter design. And you’re actually encouraged to play regularly, as the only way to level up a game (and thus unlock new levels to play) is to be successful at it.

Twilight Carnival

Twilight Carnival has a bright, cartoony look to it, but beneath that is a hint of darkness that’s otherwise absent from most games on the platform. The attractions and decorations you’ll purchase are all pleasantly colorful, but the rest of the landscape isn’t quite so cheerful. There are angry little shrubs and trash littered about the place, and broken down cars squeezed in amongst the rest of the debris. There’s even an old, broken Ferris wheel looming menacingly in the background. It all makes you wonder just what happened here.

That sense of mystery, combined with the fun collection of mini-games, are what make Twilight Carnival feel new and interesting, even though it’s an otherwise standard social game. But it’s one that does just enough to give it a unique feel that’s well worth checking out.