Every year without fail a new release is heralded as the 'Citizen Kane' of video games. It's a baffling, completely unfair comparison, as movies and games are two totally different mediums; but it's one that is easy to make when recognizing a quality product. While No Goblin's revolving limousine arcade game, Roundabout, is more 'Sharknado' than a cinematic classic, that might actually be for the best. Roundabout is one of the funniest, most absurd games to release in quite some time.
Players take the role of Georgio Manos, a luxury chauffeur who will take you on one of the most unique rides of your life. While the goal in Roundabout, delivering passengers to their destination, is similar to Crazy Taxi, it is accomplished in a much different way. You see, Georgio's limousine is unlike conventional automobiles, as her car is always rotating in circles. This caveat, along with the game's top-down viewpoint, turns Roundabout into as much of a puzzle game as it is an action game. Navigating the crowded streets of the city in Roundabout is all about taking the right approach, as it is too easy for Georgio's stylish ride to explode if it takes too much damage.
Not that death is much of a setback, though. While Roundabout is a challenging affair that will test the best of gamers, it is overly forgiving with checkpoints. This is for the best, as players will end up dying dozens (or more realistically, hundreds) of times throughout the course of the game. Anyone with enough perseverance will be able to finish Roundabout, but an extra layer of challenge is there for those who want it.
While the game initially arms the player with only the ability to speed up and slow down rotations, other upgrades are quickly unlocked to make your limousine quite the vehicle. While the biggest upgrade is the ridiculous ability to jump, other ones can be equipped: such as the ability to float on water, the ability to change which way you are rotating, and even the ability to shrink your limousine into an adorable mini-limo! While jumping is a permanent upgrade, only one of the other abilities can be equipped at a time which means players will need to find one that fits their style of play.
Each mission in the game is graded in a variety of ways that reward both speedy and careful play. While the game clearly has a focus on speedrunning, it'll take completionists many tries to check off all the goals in each checklist. These range from skill-based goals such as not dying, to collecting all of the multiplier coins during a mission.
The game's story is all told through a series of hilarious live-action cutscenes. It is very difficult to create a game that is successful at being funny, but No Goblin has an uncanny ability to make players laugh throughout. The game's silent protagonist is wonderfully played by Kate Welch, who is able to say much more through her telling glances than any line of dialogue. Those who follow the game industry will be rewarded with several cameos as Harmonix's Eric Pope and Xbox Live Operations Manager Eric 'e' Neustadter appear as characters. All of the dialogue is appropriately cheeky and it really nails the feel of a 70's B-movie.
Exploring the city of Roundabout is just as fun as the game's missions, as its open world contains plenty to collect and see. There is a lot of side-content packed into Roundabout, which is needed since the main story is a short-lived but memorable affair. There are dozens of different horns to collect (we at Pure Xbox exclusively use the Flatutron 1999), over a hundred sick jumps to take and even an aspect of property management sprinkled in. There is always something to do while exploring the city, which makes the game a constant joy to play.
Roundabout features a great looking art style and has a film grain applied throughout. The title's wild gameplay is accompanied by a jazz-infused soundtrack that goes with its 70's setting well. This is a stylish affair that is consistently fun to experience.
The game also features nine different challenges including a designated speedrun mode, destruction derby, and even a mode where you have to avoid cars crashing out of the sky. These challenges, alongside every mission in the main game, have leaderboards that allow you to easily compare your scores with friends. While none of these challenges are as fun as the core concept, they remain a great addition and a huge selling point for those who want to make sure they get their money's worth out of Roundabout.
No Goblin has managed to create a game that is not only funny, but also one that is full of heart and which can be genuinely touching. While Roundabout's ride is over after a few hilarious hours, there are enough collectibles and challenges to keep your attention focused on the title for much longer. If you're a fan of absurd humor, fast-paced challenging gameplay and seeing Eric Pope in a farmer outfit, then Roundabout should be the next game you purchase. It may aim to feel like a B-movie, but Roundabout is a blockbuster in terms of fun.