Game - Roundabout
Developer - NoGoblin
Release Date - February 20th, 2015
Platform - Xbox One
Roundabout first launched on PC last year and was pretty much an immediate hit by developer NoGoblin. Picture a blend of Crazy Taxi, 70's porn music, some full motion video scenes with a little explosions thrown in (or in our case a lot of explosions) and BOOM, you have Roundabout.
You start off as Georgio Manos, the best there is at driving fully revolving limousines around the city of Roundabout. We begin with a little driving test that is unconventional to say the least. Straight away Georgio is put to the test in order to receive her revolving limousine license. Upon completion, which is rather easy thankfully, the full story begins. Along the way, we get to observe the funniest Full Motion Video scenes I've ever witnessed with some of the insane characters. The dialogue is reminiscent of something out of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. and possesses such banter that you miss a lot of what is said due to the sound of your own laughter. Some of the best, most awkward moments were with your passenger Beth. She's new in town and this stalker in training quickly becomes an integral part in Roundabout. Ironically, as uncomfortable as her scenes were in your taxicab, I found myself thinking "Gee, I hope there are some more missions for her". But this is the point of Roundabout. Set in 1977, the porn music vibe and tacky Full Motion Video scenes add to its impact and let you become more immersed in the experience.
When you get to control the revolving limousine, or death trap as the local civilians may call it for good reason, you're set in a world full of blended colors and obstacles that both frustrate and awe you at the same time. Missions are marked with a gold star on the map and flashing gold stars indicate which ones have yet to be undertaken. Once you start a mission, golden arrows show you which way to drive.....errr....spin....in order for you to reach your objective. During this, you'll be presented with obstacles like civilians in the streets, other vehicles both stationary and mobile, buildings, fences, traffic circles, etc and you'll have to navigate around them all the while spinning like you're on the Teacups at your local church carnival. Of course, various upgrades and customizations exist to improve your chances. Your stock upgrade, a helpful turtle, helps you slow down time in order to give you an extra edge in making those pesky turns while spinning. You can purchase others that allow you to find treasure more easily or even alter the design of your car with different color paint jobs, horns and hats. At one point, we had enough money to purchase an Eagle hat for our limo and made the splash. Expecting an ornament on top of the limo, it was to our surprise when we found the "hat" was an actual, live eagle that circles our limousine. Oh, by the way, a nice little achievement popped for purchasing that hat as well.
There are plenty of missions with a whole multitude of characters. In addition to stalker girl Beth, you also have Mr. Hairpiece here who uses his wealth to get what he wants from the city's political royals. Unfortunately, a new suit is not one of those things.
The driving is picked up quickly as within a matter of minutes you should be cruising along. Each mission adds its own caveat to the game with increased time difficulty and bonuses for no civilian casualties. Casualties may be putting it lightly as every injury dumps what appears to be an ungodly amount of blood in the streets in a cartoon like splash. The trick is attempting to find the blend in completing the missions in a timely fashion while not wasting too much time letting the civilians get out of the way. You can stop your limousine from moving, but it's constantly spinning. You also earn points for picking up gold coins along your route, not exploding (which is definitely easier said than done as you can see in our playthrough) and time bonuses.
Once you complete all of your missions and Georgio is a superstar, you're only half way done. Completing all the missions left us with about a 50% completion rate. There are plenty of challenges, including the one we are number one in the world in, as well as collectibles to find. Upgraded car horns, money stacks, gold coins and challenges accounted for most of our time playing. If there was ever a point in any game I found myself saying "Ok, I'll try just one more time", try a challenge, explode, then once again say "Ok, I'll try just one more time", it was Roundabout's challenges. The Bouncing Balls challenge forces you to keep a soccer ball bouncing in the air by bopping it off your roof. If it hits the ground you're out. Luckily, we finished tops in the leaderboard as you can tell (GT SUPER BOCHMAN) with 28 bounces in story mode and 2nd in challenge mode with 38. All these challenges and bonus modes kept me laughing in frustration all the while wanting to play "just one more time" in order to beat that score above me.
Roundabout is an incredibly entertaining game that NoGoblin blends all aspects of gameplay into. From the intriguing limo driver who never talks, to all your crazy, funny and quirky passengers to the challenges and collectibles that never end because of your own persistence to torture yourself in fun and frustration, Roundabout is pure fun in every aspect of the game and definitely recommended. You'll be entertained, intrigued and pulled along to try and get every last achievement just to "see what else there is' in the game.
Roundabout is available now on the Xbox One Store.
Review conducted on Xbox One with provided early access code