Publisher: Enlight Interactive
Developer: Enlight Interactive
N Amer - 05/23/2007
Intl - 05/21/2007
Circus Empire Review
In the very crowded field of computer simulation games, it’s hard for any one game to be very different from any other. Every interesting profession has been covered, from theme parks to hospitals to fast food. Circus Empire is a simulation based on running a successful circus business, with the emphasis on creating circus shows. While Circus Empire doesn’t offer anything really new to the simulation genre, it does present a good economic simulation with the fun exercise of putting on a circus act, complete with clowns. It’s easy to pick up and play, and kids will enjoy it.
We previewed Circus Empire before the final release. This final release appears to be the same as the preview version, and so this review is mostly a revisit of the information in the preview.
When beginning the game, players can choose to either play a campaign mode or a sandbox mode. The campaign starts with a tutorial mode, which is narrated by a friendly dog. This tutorial is one of the better ones I’ve seen and it does an excellent job of leading players through the game mechanics. Kids should be able to easily learn the game mechanics playing the tutorial. Once the tutorial is finished, it’s off to harder and more complex tasks.
The main goal of Circus Empire is to build entertaining shows that the audience will love. Each day, players will assign new tasks to their performers and other employees. These tasks center mainly on learning new tricks. Once new tricks are mastered, the performers can use them in their acts onstage. If the acts are performed correctly, the audience will enjoy them and the show will get good ratings. Success in turn advances the game in terms of items and tricks that can be added to the menus.
The game is played in two distinct visual modes. Players can view the game map from an overhead view, or can choose to have the manager walk around. This up-close mode was actually pretty strange in that the character would walk sideways if the camera wasn’t turned in the same direction. The menus that pop up for certain areas won’t be accessible unless the camera has the character pointed straight toward the building. Also, the movement was awkward because the keyboard is used for walking and the mouse is used to turn the camera viewpoint. For the purpose of managing the circus, we found the overhead view to work the best.
While the game is managed in either view, the actual circus shows are viewed in the up-close camera viewpoint. The shows are first choreographed by choosing icons of various tricks, which are then performed in order. Players get to see each new show every night. This close-up view works very well for the show and the characters and backgrounds are drawn and animated very well. The shows are very enjoyable! The clown can be quite rude, though.
Circus Empire is a basic simulation on the lines of Zoo Tycoon or Rollercoaster Tycoon, but on a much smaller scale. This means there is less to do, but it also means it’s easier to play. For people looking for a few hours of easy entertainment that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, this is a good choice, especially for families with kids.
Review Scoring Details for Circus Empire
This is a nice circus simulation that the family will enjoy. Simple in execution, yet there are plenty of things to do to manage your show. Kids will especially appreciate the intuitive interface.
The graphics are pretty good, but nothing to get excited about.
The sound effects are adequate, but could have been better. The voice acting is decent and the music is average. More circus-themed music would have been great!
The game is easy to pick up and play. The interface is designed very well for players to pick up and play.
The game doesn’t offer anything new to the genre. The presentation is good, especially the interface design.
Having a circus as the theme for a simulation game is a good idea and works well in this presentation. It’s easy to play and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought. However, that’s because there’s not a great amount of things to do, as compared to Rollercoaster Tycoon or Zoo Tycoon Marine Mania. But, kids will be able to get into this game much more easily than they would with the aforementioned games. The price is right, too, at $20. This game is best for families that enjoy simple games that aren’t difficult, but offer a lot of casual fun.
Circus Empire offers hours of easy entertainment
Reviewer: Anise Hollingshead
Review Date: 06/07/2007