In a world, where video games like to play by the rules, one game stands to break a couple. That game? Roundabout. When Dan Teasdale, who’s probably best known for his work on games like Destroy All Humans and The Gunstringer, helped co-found No Goblin, a Seattle based game studio last year, many people wondered what his first game would be. If you said a cheesy 70s B-movie version of Crazy Taxi had a baby with Kuru Kuru Kururin, then you would be correct, and really oddly specific. But that’s what Roundabout in a nutshell is.
The year is 1977. You play as Georgio Manos, who’s just your typical girl trying to make it in the world of chauffeuring. With so many limo drivers out there, how do you stand out from the pack? Well what if your limo was constantly rotating? As the world’s most famous revolving chauffeur, the game follows her rise to the top and through this journey we meet a wide assortment of characters, and soon Georgio finds herself intertwined in a story of revenge, love and all sorts of crazy shenanigans.
The game is absolutely bonkers in the best way possible. The game utilizes full motion video for it’s pickup and drop-off scenes and it’s Grindhouse levels of awesomely bad. Most of the “actors” are just industry professionals and gamers they brought in as a favor, and the costumes, cinematography and everything in between drips with so much cheese, you might as well call this game fondue. What works though, and why these scenes are never annoying is that you can really tell how much each and every person loves being there. It’s wonderfully endearing and you’ll find yourself laughing out loud more times than you’re probably willing to admit.
How do you play a game with a rotating limousine though? Slowly or incredibly fast depending on where you are. Like I mentioned before, this game takes a lot of cues from Crazy Taxi and Kuru Kuru Kururin. You travel around the colorful and vibrant open world picking up passengers and taking them where they need to go. There are optional objectives like getting to a place in a certain amount of time or not hitting anything on your way to the destination, but these challenges can be replayed at any time if you feel like taking it easy your first time around. The way you get around is by rotating through the streets and trying not to crash. This is where Kuru Kuru Kururin’s influence comes in. Instead of your typical racing game where you rush from point A to point B, it’s more like a puzzle game. Navigating your constantly rotating vehicle (which you have barely any control over save for a couple of power ups here and there) through the streets avoiding light posts, cars, trees and yes, even roundabouts, is a lot easier said than done. It’s a textbook case of “easy to pick up, difficult to master.” Anyone can play Roundabout, but truly mastering the streets is going to take some time.
Once you finish Roundabout, there’s plenty of reason to go back. Between beating the challenge missions for a higher spot on the leaderboard, finding all the collectibles, 100% all the missions or playing the game in speedrun and/or Georgio mode (which is a first-person version of the game) you’re never really going to get bored or run out of things to do while playing this.
Roundabout is one of the most original games I’ve ever played. It’s endearingly cheesy 70s B-movie style is charming and hilarious. It’s gameplay is fun, complex and will keep you coming back for more. There’s something for everybody in this game and it’s definitely a strong contender for Game of the Year. I’m going to remember Roundabout for a long time, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again.