Regular readers of this site will know how much I adore and champion indie games. Every now and again, a game that grabs my attention will be announced. I was made aware of Arcade Paradise about 14 months ago when my good friend S.L Perrin from littlebitsofgaming.com started ranting and raving about it.
I was immediately impressed by the premise and the scope of Arcade Paradise. It is certainly ambitious but 14 months of hype by publisher Wired Productions and an amazing social media campaign by developer Nosebleed Interactive set the bar really high!
What exactly is Arcade Paradise and does it live up to expectations? let’s dive in and find out…
In Arcade Paradise you take on the role of Ash. A 19-year-old boy who has been labelled a waster and a layabout by your dad. Quick aside your dad is called Gerald and has retired to the Rivera, oh and he is also voiced by Doug Cockle. Expect plenty of puns, throwbacks and references like this throughout Arcade Paradise.
Your father has decided to give you one last chance to prove yourself and made you the manager of his beloved laundrette. Can you win your father’s respect? can you turn this small run-down laundrette into a successful business? Maybe this is the beginning of an empire?
This is gonna be a looooong section of the review because quite simply Arcade Paradise is packed full of content. You start the game in the laundrette carrying out menial tasks such as picking up trash, removing chewing gum, putting dirty clothes in the washing machine, waiting for the timer to finish then putting them in the dryer. Wait for the dryer to finish and pop the clean, dry clothes on the counter and get paid. Depending on how fast you complete the laundry you will be given a rank. S rank gets you $30 C rank gets you $5. (Unless you know the Konami code)
Every aspect of Arcade Paradise is gamified. Picking chewing gum off of surfaces? You have to time the power meter right in order to remove the gum. Picking up trash? Once the bag is full you gotta time the throw right to get the bag of rubbish in the dumpster. The more accurate you are the more money you receive.
Upon completing your first load of washing you will find the key to the back room. This just happens to contain a couple of old arcade machines. Fully playable arcade machines I should add. You come to the realisation that these machines can earn you money too so you decide to open up a clandestine arcade.
I will be brutally honest, the first couple of hours of Arcade Paradise of incredibly tedious and stifling. You will quickly fall into the pattern of Put in laundry, pick up trash, play a game, dive out of the game to put laundry in the dryer, play game some more, and drop out of the game to collect clothes from the dryer. Rinse and repeat.
This laborious and grinding gameplay might be daunting at first but please stick with it. not only does Arcade Paradise open up massively and progress starts to come quickly, but the sense of accomplishment is real. When you expand to get more machines, build out your arcade and take a minute to stop and look around it is an immensely satisfying feeling.
As the profits start to roll in from your laundrette/ secret arcade you can reinvest the money into new arcade cabinets. Fill the arcade to capacity and you can expand the property to accommodate even more machines! Arcade Paradise features over 35 machines! All are fully playable, stand-alone games.
Each cabinet has its own goals that make it more profitable. the difficulty and cost of each game can be tinkered with to increase revenue. Also, each game saves your progress in different ways. The coins collected in games like Space Racer and Vostock 2093 are saved as well as the upgrades purchased with them. Woodgals Adventure saves your progress and Zombat 2 saves the weapons you have unlocked as well as the number of kills with each weapon.
The arcade games cover every possible genre from shooters to racers, from puzzles to sports…even a dance rhythm game! The depth and scope of Arcade Paradise is breathtaking…The fact they successfully pulled it off is unbelievable!
Not only does Arcade Paradise feature over 35 fully playable arcade machines (some with playable arcade machines within the games!) But it actually has a story to it too! The story progresses through old-school MSN-style chat messages with your sister and answer phone messages from your dad. Obviously, I am not gonna go into spoilers here other than to say the narrative pace and progression are perfectly implemented.
As the story progresses you will unlock a daily to-do list. Three tasks each day to complete that will reward you in pounds sterling (£) instead of dollars ($). This currency is used to obtain upgrades such as slowing down time when playing an arcade game, new features on your PC and most importantly an assistant manager to collect the coins from the machines.
I am well aware this review is starting to get quite long and there is still loads of content in Arcade Paradise I haven’t covered. I guess you are just gonna have to buy it and discover it all for yourself.
I do have a few issues with arcade Paradise. The fact there is no possible way for your business to fail removes any sense of peril. The business simulation side of things is quite sparse and the story/progression is very much on the rails.
That being said Arcade Paradise is an absolute triumph. When I first heard about the game I thought it was an unobtainable concept. It is staggering what Nosebleed Interactive has been able to achieve. Arcade paradise is quite simply a masterpiece. When you consider the price tag of around £17 it is criminally underpriced!
I have lost count of how many hours I have spent on Arcade Paradise and I am still blown away by the sheer volume of content!