In CarneyVale Showtime, the player controls an inanimate object turned performer named Slinky. Slinky has a dream to become the greatest performer who ever lived. The player helps him reach his moment of glory throughout various levels.
Slinky is basically a rag doll to be thrown around. In each level, you fling Slinky all over to reach the great ring of fire at the end. This is done by grabbing him with grippers placed throughout the level and throwing him. By pressing the A button, the gripper shoots out and grabs Slinky and begins to spin. If the A button is let go, Slinky is flung in that direction. The player can also reverse and slow down the spin by holding the left-analog stick down. As Slinky is in the air, he can be controlled to go left or right with the left-analog stick. Obstacles are placed in later levels to make the game more challenging.
During each level, there are certain objectives to be done. Collecting every balloon, not dying, and beating the level within a certain time all give you stars. These stars allow Slinky to rank up as the player gets more. There are also little achievements the player can get during the level.