Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Indie Impressions - Roundabout


Now Available on Steam

Developed by No Goblin 

Most of us who game have been gaming a super long time by now, and anyone who's been around can tell that ideas are slowly running dry. Innovation is something more or less absent from the game industry as we see the market pump out bland shooters, uninspired retro platformers, Diablo-likes, or roguelike-likes sticking with elements they know sell while struggling to find ideas that haven't been exhausted already.

Every great once and awhile a game comes a long and changes everything capturing the hearts of players everywhere by simply presenting us with a mechanic so strange and simple yet is an absolute blast to play. A game that makes the player stop and ask "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?"

Roundabout is unlike any other game I've played, utilizing a concept more original since the world was graced with the likes of Katamari Damacy and its genre bending gameplay and definitely channeling that same spirit of creativity and imagination. The humorous 70's B-movie story of Georgios' epic rise to becoming the worlds most famous rotating limousine driver is told through the campaigns many quick narrative driven missions. Each twist of the story brings you to different locations on the map, with key events being triggered by large yellow exclamation points that are just as tricky to get to as the missions are to complete.

For such an out there and crazy concept Roundabout works incredibly well and plays like a dream with the swift and responsive controls of a rotating object through maze-like obstacles that is slightly reminiscent of the overlooked classic Kurukuru Kururin which spent more time in my GBA than probably any other game available for the system. Roundabout takes this concept of quick wit and extreme navigational skill to the next level, applying the quirky but obsessively fun sport of spinning to a GTA style sandbox world with an impressive map that you are free to explore at your leisure.

Don't feel like continuing the campaign? Tackle some side missions or test your skill against the world with some speedruns. Don't feel like pushing your rotating skills to the test and just want to relax? Take a spin around town and use your hard earned cash to buy various property, upgrades, and cosmetics in the form of hats and new horns! The choice is really yours, Roundabout is a sandbox with tons of possibilities offering open ended free-roam gameplay with a rotating twist that anyone can hop right into.

You'll spin your way through bright and sunny suburbs, crowded streets of the city, all the way to the snowy outskirts of the countryside all in a hilarious and dramatic journey to face down your ultimate rival and take back the title as the best spinning driver around. Finding your way to events is almost as much fun as the events themselves as you fight to go with the flow and use the rotation in your favor, bumping and crashing into everything in the process. You'll be whipping around in circles bringing your colorful cast of customers to their designated drop-off points in the fastest possible time like some sort of tweaked out Crazy Taxi.. Crazy Limo?

Roundabout has a seriously great sense of humor and tells its B-movie story in the best way possible; FMVs. Those not familiar with the long lost form of pop-culture might find this aspect of the game to be cringe-worthy, but as an old school fan of the likes of Tex Murphy, Bad Mojo, and Night Trap the style satisfies every nostalgic craving perfectly and even exceeded all of my expectations of what sort of imagery campy yet memorable FMVs are capable of.

You don't have to be a fan of FMVs to fall in love with Roundabout, though. It's a game that bursts with a style of its own, a game by people with a great sense of humor targeted towards those who don't take themselves too seriously. Its addictive and accessible obstacle course rotating action set to only the grooviest of tunes and the spiffiest of visuals. Roundabout comes from a history of quality game making, and has nothing but love put into its collaboration, making this one hell of an entertaining trip.

Danny wants YOU to play Roundabout.

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