I very much wanted to get this review out there earlier, but with life catching up with me, it's been hard to find the time. Well, this afternoon I'm making the time. (Hopefully that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass, like it does sometimes in this game...)
Arcade Paradise, from Nosebleed Interactive and Wired Productions, is a service management simulator game wherein you, the character Ashley Goldman, manage a laundromat--at least at first. As the game progresses, your focus shifts to turning that laundromat into a much more-profitable arcade, the games in which you are encouraged to play, both because they're part of the fun aspect of the game, and because completing certain goals and playing the games for longer periods of time boosts their popularity, in return boosting your income.
Others have called the game a love letter to management sims and arcades of old, and I certainly don't disagree. In general, the game is incredibly fun, and surprisingly addicting! I personally have been playing the game largely focused on the laundromat side of things--which the game lets you do--and using the profits from everything to slowly upgrade the arcade, so that once that does take over everything, that'll be my ultimate focus. Of course, we're nowhere near that point yet, but I've still been having fun with it in spite of that.
One of my biggest complaints with the game thus far would be with the games themselves. The controls are pretty janky, and especially if you don't read the instructions--which can only be done from your PDA as part of the pause menu--it can be a challenge to figure out how you're even supposed to play many of them. Blockchain in particular, while definitely a fun puzzle game once you get the hang of it, has a STEEP learning curve, a fact referenced multiple times in-game; the fact that they're this self-aware of the problem tells me that, perhaps, the game itself should have been tweaked a bit. Attack Vector, I still can't figure out how to get a score higher than a three because the controls are so slow. Line Terror, a re-imagining of the classic game Qix, has several issues, including an apparent AI that changes the direction of the floating line enemy at random, and a bug that can cause the game not to progress past a level success screen on occasion. The games are definitely interesting, and honestly I can't wait to be able to focus on them full-time, but at the set-out, they seem to be too problematic to worry about.
I'm playing the Switch port of this game, which might be part of the problem. I don't know if these issues persist in the PC port, or those on other consoles.
But, in spite of the jank of the arcade games themselves, the outside game, the management sim, is incredibly fun. (I enjoy this kind of game! It's been a while since I've played a good one.) It's thoroughly enjoyable to build up a business like this, while certainly not from scratch, still from a low point. The consistent rewards of new games, higher profit margins, and the eventual expanded arcade space, all provide plenty incentive to continue playing. Once I get this Master of Science under my belt, I look forward to returning to this game for a significant amount of much-needed unwinding.