It feels like Arcade Paradise kind of came out of nowhere. We'll admit that we reviewed it on a whim, not really sure of what to expect, but we're pleased to say we've been having an absolute blast with it so far, and we've still not yet seen everything it has to offer.
So, what is Arcade Paradise? Essentially, it's a management simulation game where your job is to run a laundromat business - and that means doing the washing and the drying, picking up bits of trash and cleaning the toilet. Your side hustle, however, is running an arcade in the back room, and as the game wears on, you can build your arcade to such a level that the laundromat becomes much more of an afterthought in terms of profits.
All in all, it's possible to build up enough cash to acquire around 35 unique arcade machines, and every single one of them is playable. In fact, the game encourages you to play them in order to not only boost the profit of the machine, but also to complete goals and earn extra money to spend on upgrades. They range from quick, bite-sized titles like a Pac-Man/GTA clone called "Racer Chaser", to multi-hour experiences like the puzzle-RPG game, "Woodgal's Adventure". It's actually really impressive how enjoyable and in-depth some of these arcade games are, so it's always a thrill when you get the chance to add a new machine to your collection.
The laundromat side of things is quite an important part of the game initially in order to earn cash, which might prove a bit tedious for some (after all, it's basically simulating work), but to be honest we quite enjoy the routine of putting some laundry on, clearing up trash, going into the arcade and completing some goals, and then rushing back to quickly remove the washing from the dryer in order to earn as much money as possible from a customer. But as we said before, as your arcade begins to build, you'll start earning a lot more from your machines anyway.
There is a management aspect to the arcade too. You can choose where you place your machines in order to drive popularity, as well as select how difficult they are and how much they cost to play. Other unlockables, such as buying tunes for your jukebox, as well as the ability to hire an assistant and even extend or slow down the work day, become available to you after a short while via the 90s PC in the staff room.
We've still got a ways to go until we're finished with Arcade Paradise, but so far we're really impressed. The laundromat part of the game won't suit everyone, but in our opinion it's actually pretty darn engrossing, while building and managing your arcade is consistently enjoyable and the machines themselves are packed with a surprising level of depth. At a very reasonable base price of just $19.99 on the Xbox Store, this one's definitely worth adding to your wishlist.