Gregorio Manos is the world’s first revolving chauffer. As such, her job is to take people from place to place while keeping her limousine revolving in a circle. However, her world is turned around as she discovers love and treachery in the seedy underbelly of the city of Roundabout. Can she conquer the town of Roundabout or will the big city just leave her spinning her wheels?
Much of Roundabout’s mission structure is taken straight from Crazy Taxi. You take a person from one point to another while trying to collect coins along your path. However, the game makes it somewhat simpler by not having the arbitrary timed system that Crazy Taxi has. It replaces the stress of having a timer with one simple sounding mechanic. Your limousine constantly is rotating.
This might seem like a simple mechanic to master when reading about it, but when you are actually playing it, the game becomes extremely complex. The thing you need to understand is that you never stop rotating. On top of that, colliding with the environment can cause you to explode after five hits. As you progress, more and more environmental obstacles are added to the world, making your challenge that much more difficult.
As you progress, the game quickly changes from sillier version of Crazy Taxi to a driving puzzle game. Each passenger has a path that you need to follow and as you go through the paths, more and more obstacles are added to the world. At first, they might be things like lamp posts or cars, but by the end of the game you are dodging spinning planes, cop cars and all sorts of other general chaos. You will, undoubtedly, die a few times. As you play, you learn that patience is your greatest tool in the city of Roundabout.
These puzzles might get frustrating if it weren’t for the clear love that was put into creating the world itself. Roundabout is an open world game where you can (and will) end up running over tons of pedestrians. Hearing all of the silly things these people say is, honestly, one of the best parts of the game. In Roundabout, someone’s last words may be, “I will call Jimmy Carter!” For some reason, there’s a juxtaposition between the murderous rampage you are going on and the silly things you are hearing that makes the game just fun to play around with.
More than that, the actual cut scenes of the game add a layer of charm that’s hard to find. The game uses FMV cut scenes, inspired by cheesy 70’s flicks that have an incredibly uneven level of delivery. Some characters are not into it at all and others are incredibly into their dialogue. Some lines are flat and others are way too excited. It’s clearly intentional, but it comes across as organic: it doesn’t feel like it was intentional. The developers have clearly seen a lot of bad movies and as such, they can channel the bad line delivery.
The cast itself is a cornucopia of industry veterans. Seeing the legendary composer of Super Meat Boy, Danny Baranowsky as a Swedish tourist, or Harmonix’s own Eric Pope as a hillbilly will be incredibly funny to those who know the industry on a somewhat deeper level. However, seeing the games memorial to Giant Bomb’s Ryan Davis is incredibly heartwarming, especially when you realize the context for the reference. Dan Teasdale and his team at No Goblin clearly have a large set of connections to the industry and, as such, those in the know will likely find something to enjoy here.
The game itself has a lovely presentation as well. The art style is bright and comical, and seeing mountains of blood against this bright surface almost never gets old. The soundtrack is a brilliant blend of different styles of 70’s music. Additionally, the game includes a litany of cheat codes including Roundabutt mode, which changes every sound effect to a fart. It also needs to be said that if you’re interested in the game, the Collector’s Edition is perhaps one of the best digital Collector’s Editions ever made. It includes seven early builds of the game, allowing you to see how the game progressed, as well as several videos, a 127 page art book, detailing a ton of information about the games writing process and a build of the game featuring Georgio vision, which puts you into first-person mode. This mode could, alternatively, be called “Vomit Mode”.
If nothing else, Roundabout is charming as all hell. The gameplay is simple, yet can lead to some extremely complex puzzles and the FMV cutscenes are hilarious. There’s something to be said for how much work was put in to make Roundabout as silly and enjoyable as possible. No Goblin has made their first title a truly unique, stand out game.
SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
A code for the Deluxe version of Roundabout was provided to Pixel Related for review.