There’s a saying that goes: “it’s so bad, it’s good”. I couldn’t think of a perfect way to describe the game Roundabout. A game that feels like it came from the 80’s or 90’s, but also the cheese that comes along with it.
So the idea of Roundabout is straightforward. You play as limousine driver Georgio Manos, who after passing her test, begins her job picking up and dropping off passengers. So is this just a game about driving people around? Well..yes and no.
Georgio has a very unique, unconventional and impractical driving style- for some reason she spins while driving, and it’s this style that helps this game stand out. For those unsure on what I mean, her limousine is literally spinning on the spot and doesn’t stop, and you need to navigate it around roundabouts, cars, trees, etc.
Roundabout pretty much revolves (pun intended) around this idea, which might seem one dimensional at first, but as you approach more and more obstacles, you’ll realise you need some good reflex and timing skills to come through unscathed.
Coming up to deliberately placed cars and trees, then flawlessly spinning through them, is a satisfying feeling that can get quite addictive.
New mechanics come into play as you progress, such as blue tyres that reverse the rotation of your spin, which you’ll need to navigate certain areas, but also put you off as you’ll need to get used to it quickly.
Despite the game’s unique gameplay, it’s probably not even the most unique part. As you begin each main mission, you’re introduced to the character you’ll be driving, and this is where the fun begins! Each cut-scene is live-action scene with real actors, making it truly feel like a 90’s game.
The great thing is each character is weird in their own way, and I genuinely looked forward to meeting each one, just to see how over-exaggerated they are.
These cut-scenes are also just plain cheesy, but that adds to the fun of it. Yes you may cringe at most of them, and some characters are stereotyped the hell out, but you can’t help but laugh at them.
I swear the acting itself of these character is bad on purpose, like it’s some sort of parody. But again, it just all adds to the cheesiness, and cringe-worthiness of the whole experience.
Another hilarious moment is that fact that Georgio is so determined to get her passenger to their destination, she’ll run over anyone standing in her way! Pedestrians will splat on the road if they get in the way, and I don’t think you really get punished for it. It kind of reminds me of the ambulances in GTA games where they’ll run over everyone just to save the one they’re after!
I suppose to save money on hiring many actors for this game, you have the pleasure of driving some of the same characters in multiple missions. The good thing is, there’s an over-aching storyline with some of them, making me want to move straight on the next mission to see how they turn out.
But where the game suffers though is in its main missions, as the variety can be lacking throughout. Every mission seems to have the same objective- getting your passenger to their goal, all the while going through checkpoint rings and obstacles.
Of course the difficulty increases, and is still fun to play through, but you do feel like you’re doing the same thing every time. That’s why it’s a real blessing Roundabout has those hilarious cut-scenes at the start and end of each mission.
There are some additional challenges to do too, and collectables to find, but I was never really motivated to do them.
Like with the purposefully bad acting, I’m not sure whether the graphics were made to look bad to suit the era of the game. There’s a real lack of detail that can be an eyesore, but it’s not long before you just ignore it as you approach the next obstacle to avoid.
So overall, Roundabout is a game I’m kind of glad I gave a chance. It does have its flaws, but the test of skill it gives you, as well as the cheesy characters and cut-scenes, really make this game memorable.
I’ll gladly keep Roundabout on my PS4 because I know I’ll be keen to see what crazy character comes up next. As long as I can keep handling the cringe, I know I can keep enjoying this to the end.