Roundabout
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Roundabout is a game about traversing narrow city streets to get your passengers to their destination. The catch is that your limousine constantly rotates, so good timing is required to avoid hitting obstacles and blowing up. It is a very short game, but lots of fun, and the cheesy FMV scenes must be seen to be believed. The game is also very forgiving, so anyone should be able to enjoy it despite the challenging concept.

Gameplay: Requires timing and patience, but successfully dodging obstacles is very satisfying.

Graphics: Not spectacular, but colorful and charming.

Sound: The soundtrack is very fitting, as is the unconvincing voice-acting

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 7
Graphics 9
Sound 7
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Summary 7.7 Great

Roundabout

Developer: No Goblin | Publisher: No Goblin | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Casual / Action / Adventure | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Roundabout is what happens if you mix a dash of the original Grand Theft Auto with a pinch of Kuru Kuro Kurrurin, then let it stew in some Crazy Taxi and sprinkle it liberally with some 70s B-movie cheesiness. It’s the story of Georgio Manos, who, as the narrator informs us, is the world’s first revolving chauffeur. Driving a massive limousine is tricky enough in a city with narrow roads and roundabouts, but having to deal with it constantly rotating adds a whole new level of challenge. However, players will have to help Georgio accomplish this in order to help out the weird and wonderful passengers in Roundabout.

Anyone who has played the Gameboy Advance title, Kuru Kuru Kururin, will know precisely what Roundabout expects from them. The former was a puzzle title that saw players having to move a stick that was constantly rotating through a maze without letting it touch any of the walls. Roundabout follows this same theme but replaces the stick with a limousine and the maze with a city. The open-world setting for Roundabout is very Grand Theft Auto-inspired and features an overhead perspective similar to the first game in the Rockstar series. The city is split into three distinct zones, which open up as players progress through the storyline.

Missions in Roundabout generally consist of driving to an indicated spot, watching a silly FMV of your passengers telling Georgio where they want to go, and then following some markers to the destination where another FMV kicks in. To say that these FMV scenes are cheesy would be an understatement, and, in the best B-movie tradition, they are filled with people hamming it up, glancing directly into the camera, and attempting ridiculous accents. It feels like everyone featured in the cut-scenes was just given a costume or wig along with their lines and then told to get on with it to ensure it’s all as stiff and awkward as possible. There’s even a skeleton prop featured as a passenger, complete with the very visible hands of whoever is offscreen manipulating its movement. It’s all absurd, over the top, and very, very funny.

Roundabout is not a very complex game, but it can be very tricky. There’s a slight learning curve involved when timing your limousine’s movement so that it matches the rotation required to curve around obstacles safely. Make a mistake, and you will inevitably bump into something, which can cause your vehicle to explode if you do it once too many. Fortunately, the game is very generous with its checkpoints, so you’ll usually restart nearby.

While you can’t control the speed of your rotation, you can change the direction by hitting the conveniently placed blue tire stacks in the game. Later on, you’ll also be able to unlock the ability to change its rotation on the fly. Other skills that can be unlocked range from shrinking your limousine to driving on water and even shooting traffic cones at pedestrians. Eventually, you’ll find that your limo can even jump and perform a speed boost.

To add a bit of variety to the game, Roundabout also features several mini-game-style challenges. These range from seeing how many times you can bounce a soccer ball on the roof of your limousine to trying to survive as long as possible in an enclosed arena while cars fall out of the sky. Once unlocked, these challenges can also be played outside of the main story mode, and the game even features leaderboards, so you can see how you stack up against other players. The missions, which mainly consist of driving from point A to point B, also have optional challenges. These are not essential for completing the actual missions but are great for players who want to put their skills to the test. The challenges cover everything from completing the mission under a particular time or collecting all the pickups along the way to not hitting anything or reaching a certain combo level. Not all have to be done at once, so players can focus on one at a time, and missions can be replayed at any time by returning to the starting spot. To add even more longevity to the game, players can explore the city and buy properties, which then generate additional income. Bundles of cash and new horns for the limousine are also tucked away everywhere. We would have liked the ability to travel fast straight to different zones and missions, as navigating the city to search for all the cash and horns after completing the main storyline can be tedious.

The visuals in Roundabout are not spectacular, and despite everything being 3D, it has more in common with the first two GTA games than the newest ones. Still, there’s plenty of destructible scenery, and driving over pedestrians also leaves blood smears on the road instead of the usual skidmarks. In keeping with the surreal nature of the game, players can even use their hard-earned cash to buy new hats and paint jobs for the limousine. On the other hand, the FMV, which is set almost entirely in the back of the limousine, looks as cheap and fake as one would expect from a 70s B-movie. Speaking of the 70s, the soundtrack also perfectly nails this era’s vibe. While Georgio never utters a word during the game, the narrator and other characters more than makeup for this.

Overall, Roundabout is a very fun game, and the generous checkpoints ensure it never becomes frustrating. However, it is also a very short experience, as demonstrated by the unlockable “eSports Speedrun” mode. This mode challenges players to complete every mission in the game sequentially in the fastest time possible but strips out all the narration and cut scenes. Most players should be able to accomplish this in 30 minutes or less. On the other hand, there’s also an unlockable “Desert Limo” mode, which challenges players to drive an uninterrupted eight hours along a straight road in a first-person view. Letting go of the controls is not an option as the limo veers left and right occasionally, and leaving the road results in failure. It’s obviously an homage to the Desert Bus mini-game from Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, but completing it awards players with a Steam Achievement. All of this means that there are plenty of things to keep players busy after completing the main storyline. Roundabout is not groundbreaking in any way, but it is fun, and it feels like everyone who worked on it also had a lot of fun judging by how quirky it is.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 with SP1 or later, Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500 or faster
  • Memory: 4096 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible graphics device required: NVidia 400 series or higher, AMD 6000 series or higher. Some AMD 5-series cards may also work with minor issues.
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes
  • Additional Notes: Plays best with an Xbox 360, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.
  • OS: Windows 7 with SP1 or later, Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500 or faster
  • Memory: 4096 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible graphics device required: NVidia 400 series or higher, AMD 6000 series or higher. Some AMD 5-series cards may also work with minor issues.
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes
  • Additional Notes: Plays best with an Xbox 360, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.

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