Arcade Paradise is a game you can get lost in for hours on end, no matter your preference for games. I found myself addicted at times, saying “Just one more day! “ over and over until it was 2 am both in game and in real life… How could a game engrossed me to that extent? Hopefully, I can adequately answer that here.
First, we’ll start with the basics. You play as Ash, who has taken over your father’s first business, a laundromat. Throughout the first day on the job, you learn how to clean the area, empty the token machine, and do loads of laundry for customers. All of the game systems have been gamified in some way. Throwing the trash in the dumpster presents you with a target and hitting the bullseye awards extra money. Finishing loads of laundry quicker awards more money as well. At the end of the day, you take your earnings to the back office safe and discover a few arcade cabinets in the back room filled with quarters! So you decide to start investing in them as a way to make more money, using your profits to buy more games and eventually expand your arcade space.
Day to day gameplay is fairly open ended. You can spend time cleaning, doing loads of laundry, emptying hoppers, ordering new machines, or playing your arcade games. By playing the games, you can influence how popular and thus how profitable each machine becomes. Just by playing, you temporarily increase popularity. And if you complete one of the three or more goals for a game, you permanently increase its popularity. These goals mimic getting a high score on the leader board, even though most goals do not require attaining higher scores. Later in the game, you will also get three daily tasks to complete that award a different currency that’s used to buy upgrades to help you manage your business. There’s no need to do anything quickly to move the story along, so it’s really up to you what you want to focus on each day.
The arcade games themselves all look and play great. I would categorize each game into four different sets. There are reskins of classic games like Pong and Dance Dance Revolution or genres like shoot em ups or twin stick shooters. Then there’s mashups of classic games, like Racer Chaser that combines the gameplay of Pac Man and the original Grand Theft Auto. They also include original creations that feel right at home in a 90s arcade. Finally, there’s analog games that most arcades would have at least one of, including air hockey and darts. All together, there’s over thirty games with more on the way, representing different genres and styles, so everyone should find at least one they like.
The graphics and artstyle are going to be a little difficult to talk about this time. The building itself that game takes place in is a well rendered 3D environment and, if you play enough, legitimately feels like an actual arcade, including how dark it can be. The individual arcade games have varying levels of graphics, but I would say that they all look and play better than their original counterparts.
Overall I immensely enjoyed my time playing Arcade Paradise. I have already played for thirty hours, and I haven’t even been able to put significant time into half of the arcade games! I really do believe that everyone would find something to like about the game. A fan of simulation/management games? You can do laundry and manage your business. Nostalgic for classic arcade games? There’s over thirty of them to sink your teeth into. I really can’t recommend the game enough, it really does pack a lot of content into one game. I just wonder if a game about classic arcades would accept a famous cheat code on its main menu? Hmm…
I played Arcade Paradise for about thirty hours, including some of that time after the “day 2” patch, on an Xbox Series X. I was given a code for the game by the publisher with the expectation for an article of some kind. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience.
Arcade Paradise is available now on several platforms.