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Arcade Paradise

Platform(s): Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Vostok Games
Release Date: Aug. 11, 2022


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Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Arcade Paradise'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on May 2, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Kit out your dream arcade with machines from the glory era, from simple, vector-based games of the '70s all the way to the early 3D games of the mid-'90s.

One of the best parts of joining your parents for chores as a kid was when you discovered something fun in one of the most boring places in the world. For me, this was the delight of discovering an arcade machine in the back of a laundromat, where the immensely tedious task of waiting for something to wash and dry could be replaced by quarter-munching fun. Arcade Paradise aims to recapture this feeling by letting you turn a failing business into a successful arcade — and play all the games along with it.

You can't just start off as an arcade. The business you're given to begin with is a run-down laundromat that looks like it's on the verge of failure. It's unpleasant, trash is everywhere, the toilets are clogged, and it's generally the kind of place you only go when you have to. Your dad didn't give you much to work with. The only thing the laundromat has is a handful of arcade machines in the back for people to play while they're waiting for their laundry.

The laundry isn't just a presentation, though. Keeping your laundry business functioning is important because it draws people to your arcade. That means you'll need to wash, dry, clean and unclog in order to make your place somewhat presentable. Thankfully, this isn't much of a chore, as most of the tasks are presented as fun arcade-style minigames. Throwing trash into the dumpster has you timing your throw, with a perfect throw into an 8-bit "hoop" earning bonus cash. Unclogging the toilet involves positioning the plunger correctly and "attacking'" the clog like you're mashing buttons in an RPG, right down to damage numbers.

All of that is secondary to the real goal of your business, which is making the best darn arcade you can. This is all about customization and structuring your arcade. You can order new cabinets, decorate the "laundro-cade," figure out what people want to make the arcade more popular, and eventually expand the space so you can fit more machines. Don't mistake it for a hardcore sim. The focus is more on customization than on pinching pennies. You still need to keep your business profitable, but you're doing it by making a cool arcade.

Where's the fun in running an arcade where you can't play the games? One might argue that the real reason to run an arcade is for all the games that you can play. Arcade Paradise has 30+ distinct arcade games that can be played once you've purchased the cabinet. These range from adventure titles to racing games to platformers, all with a nice and plausible early arcade aesthetic. What we got to play of the various games feels pleasantly nostalgic, with solid, pick-up-and-play controls. There are even challenges you can do in-game to unlock further customization options for the arcade.

Arcade Paradise lives up to its name. The laundromat wrapper around the delicious video game shell lends a nice feeling of reality to a game that seems to be largely about living out the dream of every kid from the '80s. The collection of arcade games alone seems like they'll be worth the money, even discounting the business sim wrapper around it. If you can remember the joy of finding an arcade machine and putting quarter after quarter into it, Arcade Paradise will hit home. I look forward to spending more time at the arcade when it releases later this year for PC and consoles.

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