My editor is going to be so annoyed. I told him I would have this to him by 9pm. That meant done and finished by 9pm., not finally getting started on it as I am. Why am I just getting started on a review I’ve had all week to write? I won’t blow smoke, I was playing the game I was supposed to be reviewing. In fact, I can’t stop playing the game I am supposed to be reviewing. The culprit in question is a game I’ve covered here a lot lately, but is finally ready to launch tomorrow and you can see for yourself. Arcade Paradise is finally here and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
Before we get into this game, I need to set the stage for you when it comes to my addiction with this game. There’s a certain vintage, especially the creators of this game and those who are as excited for it as I was, who will remember the Fisher Price 3-in-1 Tournament Table commercial. It wasn’t that the product was all that amazing, it’s just that it was featured on every Saturday morning cartoon run ever in the early 90’s. The commercial featured two kids who were playing a game of pool before breakfast. As their mom continuously calls out meals signifying it’s getting later and later, the boys keep changing the table up to create a new game. They play pool, table tennis, and eventually the air hockey table they’re playing on lights up to show them playing late at night. As one boy loses the final game of air hockey, he looks at his brother all competitively, holds up a finger and says “one more game” with all the intensity of a 90’s toy commercial. You’ll know it as soon as you see it if you grew up with it as I did.
The reason I mention this commercial is because both the era and the feeling apply to thebody of that Nosebleed Interactive have put forth with Arcade Paradise. The game might present as another sim where you manage a laundromat slash arcade. You can play it that way if you want, but to do so is to deprive yourself of the purpose behind the game, which is to play the absolute crap out of every, single game that you can buy for your arcade from beginning to end and then back. The best part of this game is that there are a variety of ways to play it, none of them are wrong, and they all compliment each other.
Go ahead, deck your business out and do the work for several weeks if that’s the sort of player you want to be. Making sure your place is tidy and efficient will earn you a good sum of money. You’ll be run ragged and you won’t always please your customers but you’ll get really good at doing laundry and cleaning as you save up for your dream business. Or you could simply accomplish the in-game goals you’re given, watch your money pile up like Scrooge McDuck, and then open the most impressive arcade your soulless seemingly never-pleased father has ever seen.
These goals change by the day and include different and unique items the game asks you to do, some of which may be totally unique to your day. I was told to take a nice walk down to the end of the street. Yep. That accomplished a goal for me. I then collected three pieces of gum that some clearly unhousebroken gamers left near my arcade machines, beat the requested 10 enemies in Woodgal and I was handsomely rewarded far more than I ever would’ve been running laundry all day.
So what are the games you can place in your arcade? These are full blown homages to arcade games that have been popular throughout the different eras. There are homages to Call of Duty, Pac-Man, Grand Theft Auto, F-Zero, Spy-Hunter, Yoshi’s Cookie, Tetris, Ice Breakers, and so many more. Every game within Arcade Paradise is fully realized and can be played to completion doing so earns you more money than any meaningless chore could bring and it also generally keeps you from doing, you know, chores, but I will admit to having a certain case of OCD and because of that I refuse to run a dirty arcade. It might be allowed in-game, but it’s not allowed on my PS5.
I won’t lie that some of these games can be pretty tough. You may not remember this, but Nintendo games were freakin’ tough, man. It’s sort of an unspoken thing for most Nintendo kids, but if you were to ask around with your friends, you’d find that we played far more games than we ever beat back then. Cast your mind back or ask your parents about titles like Battletoads, Ninja Gaiden, and Ghouls and Ghosts. Unforgiving doesn’t begin to cover some of the games we played back then. Fortunately none of them are that hard, but these are based on older mechanics and games, some are definitely based on figuring out and memorizing patterns, and then there’s remastering arcade, Atarii, and Nintendo controls and control windows. I’m just sayin that relearning the mechanics may take you a second and you shouldn’t abandon the game if it feels harder than you feel it should be. It only seems that way because games have come a longggggg way since then.
The great thing about Arcade Paradise is that these aren’t remakes of tired old games you’ve beaten a thousand times. These are brand new games just presented as an older package. You will truly be blown away by the imagination and variety involved within this title. I won’t ruin some of these titles for you by spoiling them, but I will name a couple and explain them so you have an idea of the fun.
Racer Chaser is a mix of Pac-Man meets a very mild Grand Theft Auto. Your car acts as the Pac-Man and the dots are simply money. You need to figure out some very specific patterns while avoiding the police, who obviously act as the ghosts chasing you. Should you slam into a police car, however, the game is not over at all. Instead your character is jettisoned from the vehicle and it’s your job to run around and avoid the cops while either completing the level or getting back to your vehicle. Should you find the power up, you can turn into a tank and then the reactions to you hitting a police car change rather dramatically in your favor. I struggle like hell with this one, but it’s also the one I come back to the second most.
My favorite game is Woodgal, which is a Yoshi’s Cookie and JRPG mashup. You are Woodgal and you have delicious meals to deliver but the bridges are out. The only way you can cross these bridges is to bring certain people different gems and stars. You collect these traveling the forest until you come along these battles that play out as a match-three where your job isn’t to beat them, but to feed them by clearing enough food that you earn a specific item from that particular foe. The puzzles end up with obstacles that you have to clear by matching a certain number of match-threes in a row, some will require you to match-three on four different occasions before it disappears.
There are plenty more to be had and this game truly has a unique story and a unique bend. The great thing about indie games is that it allows truly unique creators to blend ideas together that truly create some magical in-game content that games can come back to again and again and again and again. There are over 35+ games you can unlock within Arcade Paradise. Each one has an average playtime of 4-8 hours. That’s a lot of different games for you to conquer if you’re an arcade head such as myself.
I will say one other cool thing about this game in closing before I give my review score. The soundtrack was made by a friend of the developers and as such, you are free to stream or listen or stream and listen to any song in this game without any fear of a DMCA takedown for using copyrighted music. This came straight from the game’s inventor and the head of Nosebleed Interactive and it was done with the express intent of making this game something you can share and stream until your hands fall off. I’ve already hosted several fun streams and watched others play these games in events put on by Nosebleed. I learned tricks, tips, cheats, and strats all from checking out how others played. High score events are planned and there’s a full documentary on how the game came together and why it came together. If you like what you’ve read today, please check that out on their Discord and YouTube.
Arcade Paradise: 8.5/10 Joysticks
Arcade Paradise is available on PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC, and Steam on August 11th.