Sep 20, 2016Roundabout is a cheesy low-budget FMV game starring a limousine driver, a mechanic, a lady in a hat, and a $40 skeleton bought off of Amazon.com with surprising entertainment value.
In Roundabout, you control a constantly rotating limousine. You play as Georgio Manos, the world’s first revolving limousine driver. Your limousine is constantly rotating at all times, which forms the coreRoundabout is a cheesy low-budget FMV game starring a limousine driver, a mechanic, a lady in a hat, and a $40 skeleton bought off of Amazon.com with surprising entertainment value.
In Roundabout, you control a constantly rotating limousine. You play as Georgio Manos, the world’s first revolving limousine driver. Your limousine is constantly rotating at all times, which forms the core of the game’s gameplay – you know how to get from point A to point B, but your constant revolution makes your life a lot more difficult. Early on it is fairly simple, navigating your way around stationary obstacles, but as the game progresses, things get increasingly more difficult, with moving obstacles, barrels which cause you to bounce in the opposite direction after striking them, platforming (done while spinning all the while), and the odd unique gameplay challenge to make things harder.
The core of the game are the “rides”. At the start of each ride, Georgio picks up a passenger, each of whom has a little bit of dialogue to start things off – a reason for going from point A to point B. There’s also a narrator, who chimes in, and both the narrator and the passengers are pretty chatty – every mission contains numerous lines of dialogue, as well as at least two FMV videos, one at the start and one at the end – with some rides having additional FMVs interspersed in the middle.
The passengers are deliberately terribly acted – every character acts in a very cheesy way. The videos are shot to look like something made in the 1970s, and the game itself is set in the 1970s, with references to Jimmy Carter and Disco present throughout the game, and a 70s aesthetic to the entire world.
But while the characters are campy as heck, they have a certain degree of Narm Charm to them – the acting in this is one of those “So Bad It’s Good” sort of things, and deliberately so, and it more or less works. It is impossible to take the game seriously, and the game knows it, and so plays it to the hilt, with “serious” events being comically ridiculous due to context, acting, and the very low budget of the game.
The game itself outside of the FMVs looks reasonable – it is not the highest quality of graphics, but the cars have an iconic quality to them, and while there’s nothing particularly special about the graphics in the game, they’re very serviceable and look decent enough.
While you can play through the game and just beat it, the game is not very hard in and of itself – the game is very generous with checkpoints, and it is impossible to fail at a ride. The real challenge in the game comes from completing optional objectives on the various rides. These include speed running the ride, beating a ride without getting hit at all, collecting all the coins in each ride, and beating the ride in various more difficult ways (no jumping, no using your alternate abilities). You can complete one or several of these challenges in any particular go at a ride, and you need not complete them all in a single ride.
Additionally, there are various collectables. Beyond being able to buy skins and limo hats via in-game currency which is not terribly difficult to collect (I ended up with $4k in the bank at the end with nothing to spend it on), you can also purchase properties… which periodically give you more money (oh boy!). But there are also piles of money in the environment to collect, “sick jump” icons which are in places you must jump to (ranging from inanely easy to reach to quite difficult, requiring multiple distant leaps), and horns which make different sounds when you honk them.
You also can unlock a bunch of items which allow your vehicle to do different things. There’s a raft which allows your car to float on water and dive beneath it, there’s an ability which slows down time, there’s an ability which reverses your direction of rotation just as if you’d hit a barrel, there’s an ability which makes your limo play ice cream truck sounds to pull in pedestrians to run over… there’s even an ability to shrink down your limousine, unlocked only after you beat the game, which makes a few things a lot easier (and is required for beating a few of the speed run times). These unlockables are either unlocked as you progress through the game, or (in most cases) unlocked by completing some sort of special challenge, such as running over 2,500 pedestrians or bouncing off of those direction-reversing barrels 100 times. While some of these sound tedious, I actually ended up unlocking almost all of them in the first of three major areas in the game.
All in all, this game is remarkably fun for how low budget it is. The gameplay works well, and it rolled with its low-budget nature and did not take itself seriously at all, and as a result, it actually ends up having its cheesy story work in its own special way. If the core mechanic seems interesting to you, this is worth checking out.… Expand
CD-ActionMar 17, 2015It’s a one trick pony, and that trick is moderately amusing and entertaining. [03/2014, p.79]