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Arcade Paradise review

Arcade Paradise Review

An arcade in the back of a run-down laundrette? That’s your flourishing business in Arcade Paradise, and seeing it grow as you play on its varied selection of machines is nothing but a pleasure.

You’ve just inherited a laundrette business from your dad, and he’s entrusting you to keep it growing. He’s swanned off on holiday somewhere, so other than a few phone calls, he’s left you entirely to your own devices. Your older sister, who took charge before you, put a couple of arcade cabinets in the back room so people could play while they wait for their laundry to be finished. Except: you realise that those two machines alone have made more money than the laundrette has. So it gets you thinking: why not expand the arcade?

Your dad isn’t keen, of course. “The neighbourhood needs somewhere to wash their clothes, it doesn’t need an arcade,” he barks. It’s just as well you don’t listen to him. With your sister’s help over instant messaging, over the course of the next few weeks you’ll use your profits to invest in new arcade machines and expanding the arcade’s floor space.

To start out with, you’ll need to do some busywork to keep profits rolling. You’ll need to load washing machines and tumble dryers, pick up trash that accumulates around your laundrette and, er, occasionally plunge the toilet. Everything’s presented with an arcade shine, with cleaning the toilet becoming a minigame itself and tossing trash into the bin presented as a test of skill.

Arcade Paradise review

Once you’ve got a few arcade machines under your belt, your time in Arcade Paradise will be split between keeping the laundrette running and playing the games yourself. Every cabinet is an actual game that can be played. They’re all original titles, but many of them are based on classic games. There’s the Pong-like Shuttlecock, Racer Chaser which inexplicably (but brilliantly) blends Grand Theft Auto with Pac-Man, a Dance Dance Revolution knock-off, and plenty more. As you continue to expand your arcade you’ll find puzzle games, racing games, beat ’em ups, shooters, pool, darts, and more.

Related: The Best Retro Collections on PS4 and PS5

What’s particularly cool is that you spending time playing the games will influence how well they perform in your arcade. Not every cabinet is made equally, of course, and some are going to be better money-spinners than others. Spend lots of time on a particular cabinet, and its popularity will skyrocket. Each game has a set of challenges for you to complete over time, and completing these will also influence how popular that game is within your arcade.

You’ll likely find yourself drawn to a selection of the games on offer, and it’s easy to while away the hours simply playing those. For us, it has been Blockchain and Zombat. Blockchain is a Tetris-like puzzle game, while Zombat is a twin-stick shooter that sees you lay waste to hordes of zombies. Your own favourites will likely vary, but there really is something for everyone here.

Arcade Paradise review

There’s a fair bit of micromanagement to keep on top of as you play Arcade Paradise. You’ll want to adjust the price and difficulty of each cabinet in order to maximise profits. Higher prices might turn players away, but then again, if a game’s popular, your visitors might just be willing to play it. And if a game is attractive but difficult, each session is likely to be shorter, meaning more people will play. And that means more money for you. Ka-ching.

You’ll need to keep up with the busywork of your laundrette for a while, but before long you’ll likely find yourself abandoning the front of your business, with your arcade machines bringing enough money to see you growing at an alarming rate. You’ll need to frequently empty the machine’s hoppers – the most popular bringing in hundreds of dollars a day. Perhaps you’ll feel a little guilty about abandoning people’s laundry, and you can keep at it if you want. There’s something engaging about the loop of loading and unloading machines, paying attention to the timers and being as diligent as possible. But after a while, it simply isn’t worth it.

Eventually, you’ll get a set of daily challenges to work towards, earning you a second currency which can be spent on various personal upgrades. These challenges are a mixed bag: some of them might be laundry-related (pick up X pieces of trash, do X amounts of laundry), but most relate to an arcade cabinet. You’ll be challenged to achieve a certain score, perhaps, or to simply play a specific game for a few minutes. The amount you earn for each challenge is nominal however, and so it takes quite a long time before you can unlock any meaningful upgrades. They include things like faster movement speed, less trash in your arcade, machines that break down less, and an assistant who empties machine hoppers for you.

Arcade Paradise

But it hardly matters that progress in that regard is slow. You’re likely going to be having so much of a blast playing Arcade Paradise that the in-game days simply whizz by. This is a seriously compelling experience, and between management, busywork and playing the arcade cabinets for yourself, it’s easy to lose hours of your evening without even realising it.

Arcade Paradise is something rather special. Its mixture of playful management sim and arcade gaming works incredibly well, and it’s all so nicely presented that you’ll easily forgive its few flaws. Whether you get swept up in keeping your laundrette and arcade running as well as possible, or whether you find yourself addicted to a particular arcade cabinet, you’re going to love your time here. And considering its bargain price, it really doesn’t get much better than this.

Arcade Paradise Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Arcade Paradise is based on the PS5 version of the game, via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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