Growing up in the 1990s I wasn’t the biggest arcade game fan, but I do have some fond memories of going to them. When I first saw Arcade Paradise I was intrigued because I thought it would be fun trying to run my own arcade. There is also the fact that I genuinely enjoy a good simulator/tycoon game. Arcade Paradise is a fun collection of arcade inspired games built around the theme of running an arcade. Unfortunately the actual arcade management is a little lacking.
In Arcade Paradise you play as a young adult in the 1990s. Your father thinks that you are a slacker so he forces you to run the family laundromat. Running a laundromat is boring though. In the back there is a collection of old arcade games though. This leads you to the brilliant idea of turning the family laundromat into a thriving arcade without your father finding out. Can you create a thriving arcade and show your father that an arcade is a better business idea than a boring old laundromat?
In many ways I would say that Arcade Paradise feels like a combination of three different games.
The most prevalent element at the beginning of the game is running the laundromat. You could theoretically ignore this aspect of the game. It is the best source of money early in the game though. I would describe this element of the game as a bunch of simple little mini games. These mostly involve holding a button for a certain amount of time, or pressing it at the right time. While running the laundromat you will be washing and drying customers’ clothes, picking up all of the trash scattered around the building, and doing a few other odds and ends.
The whole premise behind the game is that you don’t want to run the laundromat. This kind of seeps its way into this element of the game. This mechanic is on the basic side. The various little mini games can be fun for a while. It is kind of funny how the protagonist turns everyday tasks into their own little micro video games. I had some fun trying to take care of the laundromat.
The problem with this aspect of Arcade Paradise is that it leads to a lot of sitting around doing nothing. You don’t have enough tasks to do in the laundromat to fill the entire day. Therefore you basically have to wait for the clothes to wash or dry. While you could spend your free time doing things in the other elements of the game, to maximize your money you need to just focus on the laundromat. Going back and forth basically prevents for doing well at either. After a while you will tire of this aspect of the game.
The good news is that outside of the first couple of days, you can basically ignore the laundromat mechanics if you want. In fact much of the game is built around earning money so you can ignore it. As you start to earn more money, you will be able to acquire more arcade machines to expand the arcade. After a while you will be making considerably more from your arcade than the laundromat. At this point it really isn’t worth your time to even think about the laundromat.
The second main element of Arcade Paradise is the arcade management. As for managing your arcade, you mostly need to figure out how to place the machines. You can only place machines in specific places, but you can choose the specific position of each cabinet. How you place your arcade machines has an impact on how much you will make from each machine. For example you want to place popular machines next to less popular ones. This will earn you more money which you can then use to acquire more machines and expand even further. You can also increase the price and difficulty of a machine in order to try to earn more money.
I honestly don’t have a lot to say about the arcade management element of Arcade Paradise. This is because there isn’t much to it. As far as I can tell, there is no way to lose the game. Whether you do a good job placing the machines and adjusting the price/difficulty only has an impact on how fast you earn money, and how fast you can expand. I like that you have control over where you place the machines. You can increase your revenue quite a bit if you do a good job maximizing the arcade cabinet positioning. In a way it feels like you are running an arcade in the 1990s.
If you are looking for a deep arcade management simulator though, you likely are going to be a little disappointed. Instead of being a focal point of the game like in a tycoon style game, it is more of a complimentary element. Honestly you could ignore it entirely and the only negative impact would be that it would take longer to expand. As a fan of more robust tycoon/management games, I have to say that I was a little disappointed by this aspect of the game.
This brings me to the final aspect of Arcade Paradise. The game features 35 different arcade games. All of the games are completely playable. Most of these are inspired by old arcade/video games. While some are very similar to their inspiration, others are more abstract. For example one of the earlier game that you will acquire at first seems like Pac-Man. Once you start to play it though, it starts to remind you of GTA. Whenever you get caught by one of the ghosts/cops, you can make a run for it to try and get into a new car to continue playing.
At first playing the arcade games might seem like a simple distraction from the rest of the game. They are in fact a big part of the game. Each game has a set of goals that when completed will make the machine more popular. This will ultimately make you more money.
After you reach a specific point in the game you will unlock the to do list. This gives you three tasks that you should try to complete each day. If you complete them you earn a different type of currency which can be spent to automate parts of the laundromat so you can focus on what is most important, playing video games. You will eventually reach the point where you will completely ignore the laundromat to focus on trying to improve your score on the arcade machines and completing your daily tasks.
Some people might think that the playable arcade games are a gimmick. This is not the case as I actually think they are Arcade Paradise’s greatest asset. Once I acquired enough cabinets to start making a decent amount of money each day, I mostly just ignored the other elements of the game. I then just focused on trying to complete the goals for each game as well as each day’s do list.
This element of the game works because the arcade games are generally pretty fun. I will admit that some of the games are better than others. This is partially due to personal preferences. Some of the games are just made better than others though. Some of the arcade games actually have quite a bit to them. Others are more basic or don’t have the greatest controls.
I genuinely became kind of addicted to a few of the arcade games. One game I got so good at that I basically had to purposefully lose or it otherwise never would have ended. It feels like real effort was put into the arcade games where they weren’t just an afterthought to the rest of the game. Obviously they aren’t full fledged games, and are more reminiscent of old arcade, NES, and SNES style games. Fans of this era of video games will likely really enjoy this element of Arcade Paradise though.
Ultimately I had some mixed feelings towards Arcade Paradise. I generally really enjoyed the arcade games included in it. Instead of just being a gimmick of being able to play all of the games in your arcade, they are legitimate games. Some of them are surprisingly addicting as well. Unfortunately the rest of the game is pretty mediocre. The laundromat elements can be a little fun for a while, but get repetitive rather quickly. The arcade management elements are okay, but are kind of limited.
My recommendation for Arcade Paradise really comes down to what you are looking for. If you are looking for an in-depth arcade or laundromat simulator, you likely will be disappointed as these elements are kind of limited. If you are looking for a fun collection of arcade style games built around the premise of running an arcade, I think you should enjoy Arcade Paradise and consider picking it up.
Release Date: August 11th, 2022 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Nosebleed Interactive | Publisher: Wired Productions | ESRB Rating: Teen for Blood, Lyrics, Fantasy Violence
Genres: Arcade, Indie, Simulation
- Fun collection of arcade inspired games that are completely playable.
- Managing an arcade is pretty fun.
- The arcade management elements are kind of limited.
- Running the laundromat gets kind of boring after a while where you just want to play the arcade games.
Recommendation: For those looking for a fun collection of arcade inspired games built around the framework of running your own arcade.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Nosebleed Interactive, and Wired Productions for the review copy of Arcade Paradise used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.