Sim titles are big business just now, where the most mundane of tasks and jobs are being turned into surprise hits like grass cutting, jet washing driveways and renovating houses. So it’s a market that is getting a bit crowded if we are being honest, but Newcastle based Nosebleed Interactive have put an interesting spin on the genre with Arcade Paradise being the studio’s latest title. It sits as a laundrette sim up front, but then also an arcade compilation out back, all wrapped in a coming of age tale. It’s a really interesting mix that creates a title that truly stands out from the pack.
You fill the high tops of Ashley – who is “forced” by her rich dad (who is voiced by Doug Cockle, A.K.A the voice of Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher series) into working at the family’s run down laundrette… the King Wash. Things start out by loading and unloading machines and it quickly hits you that almost every action in Arcade Paradise has been gamified. Which really helps to curve the edge on the… let’s say… less then exciting jobs you have to do like picking up all the rubbish at the end of the day. Keep chipping away though and you start to bank some coin, as well as spotting a few old arcade cabs in the back of the laundrette. This is where things start to evolve as your goal develops from folding laundry to creating the coolest arcade spot in town. It’s also where the game shifts into you automating tasks so that you don’t have to focus on the laundrette and can put all your efforts into the arcade.
There you’ll find over 35 different arcade games, each with its own gameplay, stories, missions, and high scores to set! It’s worth noting that even though these are all inspired by 3 decades of gaming, from early vector games up to the 32-bit era, none of them are licensed so no Pac Man or Space Invaders. To the developer’s credit there are more hits than misses from the 35 titles on show in Arcade Paradise, with some even having couch co-op options, though there are no online modes. On the arcade front things also shift to a more management gameplay loop, with factors like where you place the cabs, as well as how much you charge for a play, affecting how much money you can bank from each machine. This in turn lets you buy new ones as well as other bits of kit – like a jukebox – that also earn you cash off the back of being played and used daily.
Visually Arcade Paradise is a bit of a tour de force as the overall environment has a real world vibe. Being fair, textures are touch and go at times, but when you get to the arcade cabs they run the gamut of the past 30 odd years, so there are a lot of visual styles on show. Oddly the models of the people in the laundrette and arcade are the stuff of nightmares, especially the fact that they disappear and pixelate if you get too close to them. Sound-wise it’s very nostalgic in a way as each cab bleeps and bloops as they cycle through free play modes, and once you get the juke box you get a handful of solid tracks to play in the background – with more available to buy with the games spin on eBay. Arcade Paradise treads a thin line as it’s never a full fat sim and it’s never fully an arcade compilation. However, it is full of fun and with that dishes up something new and very addictive with its rinse and repeat formula.
An Xbox review copy of Arcade Paradise was provided by Wired Productions PR team, and the game is out now on PC, Xbox, Switch and PlayStation for around £20.
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