PETER HOSKIN reviews Arcade Paradise and Rollerdrome

Launderette has retro gamers in a spin: PETER HOSKIN reviews Arcade Paradise and Rollerdrome

Arcade Paradise (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, £15.99)

Rating:

Verdict: My beautiful laundrette 

Turns out, they paved paradise and put up something even better: an Arcade Paradise. Although, to start off with, it looks awfully like a launderette. Your Dad’s launderette, which you’re looking after in his absence. 

The aim of the game is to slowly stock its back room with arcade cabinets, so the punters have something to enjoy in between wash loads.

Oh, and the time is the early 1990s. This is important to the spirit of Arcade Paradise, and the spirit of Arcade Paradise is perhaps its most charming component. 

Everything just feels true to its era and place; from the jagged, MTV-style animation that begins the game to the chipped floor tiles of the launderette itself.

This is what elevates Arcade Paradise from a basic nostalgia trip to something truly transportive. There I was, or so it felt, filling and emptying washing machines so that I could raise cash to buy more arcade cabinets. 

The aim of the Arcade Paradise game is to slowly stock its back room with arcade cabinets, so the punters have something to enjoy in between wash loads

PETER HOSKIN: Everything just feels true to its era and place; from the jagged, MTV-style animation that begins the game to the chipped floor tiles of the launderette itself

It’s meant to be a chore, but there’s something so straightforward and rewarding about the process that it becomes compulsive.

And then there are the arcade games themselves. There are about three dozen to collect in total, and all of them are actually playable. We have riffs on old classics like Pac-Man and Mr Driller and Missile Command. Just walk up to them, as the launderette-arcade’s proprietor-turned-patron, and start gaming.

Until duty calls, that is. There’s always another wash to put on. It creates an undeniably weird loop — between arcade sessions and launderette maintenance — but isn’t that what life is like, anyway? Sometimes neon. Sometimes full of dirty socks.

They don’t go in for non-contact sports in the future, do they? It’s never just, say, tennis in the dystopian year of 2100. It’s always death-tennis, with grenades for balls, maces for rackets, and the crowd demanding blood.

So it is with Rollerdrome, the name of a new video game but also of the violent future-sport it proposes. You, as the rookie Kara Hassan, have to roller-skate around a series of undulating arenas, all while dispensing bullets into various hired goons and dodging any rockets that come your way.

It is a game of immense style. This is one of those retro-cool visions of the future that’s a little bit James Bond, a little bit Clockwork Orange, and a whole lot Ski Sunday

The graphics, composed of detailed outlines and bold colour washes, are inspired by the French illustrator Moebius. The excellent, electronic soundtrack is very Vangelis.

PETER HOSKIN: With Rollerdrome…You, as the rookie Kara Hassan, have to roller-skate around a series of undulating arenas, all while dispensing bullets into various hired goons and dodging any rockets that come your way. (Pictured: Still from Rollerdrome) 

PETER HOSKIN: The graphics, composed of detailed outlines and bold colour washes, are inspired by the French illustrator Moebius. The excellent, electronic soundtrack is very Vangelis. (Pictured: Still from Rollerdrome)

But the style isn’t just on the surface. It’s also the deeper point of the game. In order to progress through this bloodthirsty tournament, it’s not enough to simply knock off the bad guys — you have to knock them off with panache. 

Each arena contains a set of challenges, like performing particular tricks in particular places, or doing special kinds of murder.

Which means that you’ve got to really master the controls. And I couldn’t quite. 

It felt great whenever I achieved the flow that the game is going for — blending a jump into a trick into a slow-motion gunshot — but I was mostly just floundering against the difficulty.

Still, I suppose that’s my problem, not Rollerdrome’s. When the future finally arrives, I’ll just make sure I’m in the crowd.

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