One thing I love about reviewing games is that sometimes I get code for a game that I know absolutely nothing about. It’s a bit like going to see a support act at a gig; you could literally wind up with anything. Arcadegeddon is one such example, and at first glance I couldn’t figure out exactly what I was getting.
To set the scene, Arcadegeddon puts you in the rather stylish sneakers of a young hero who frequents his local arcade, which is sadly an endangered format. This isn’t just because it’s the only one around, but the sinister and seemingly soulless Fun Fun Co are looking to stage a very hostile takeover. The reason? Arcadegeddon.
That’s right, the title refers to the jewel in the crown of Gilly’s arcade. The fully immersive game Arcadegeddon falls victim to a cyberattack from the folks at Fun Fun Co, and the only way to save it is for you to quite literally get in the game and clean things up, byte by byte.
An easy way to picture Arcadegeddon is imagining a neon clad, pumping beats backed cross between Jet Set Radio and Fortnite. This combination of style and gameplay gels really, really well. The eye-popping colours make the characters, enemies and environments look fantastic, especially thanks to ray tracing support. Despite potentially being an acquired taste, the collection of futuristic hip-hop beats makes for a truly fantastic soundtrack. I love it.
As you may have guessed, Arcadegeddon is a third person shooter. The main (or adventure) mode consists of “runs”, which is a fancy name for each time you play it. You’ll get chucked into a variety of biomes at random (of which there are six) and be given certain objectives to help fix the game, such as resolving data breaches and destroying power siphons. All the while the virus is getting to work by spawning all sorts of robotic enemies which are trying to end you.
As with any such game, loot crates are dotted around which will yield different classes of weapons and stat boosts, ranging from common to legendary. The weapon variety is really interesting, with some truly unique and wacky weapons up for grabs like the Party Favor. They aren’t all offensive either, with examples such as “The Good Doctor” that heals your team members when you shoot them with it.
As you play through each stage, the difficulty will increase and players can choose to speed the process up at mid-level checkpoints, if they should wish. Of course, there’s a trade-off here in that the harder the level the bigger the rewards will be. Arcadegeddon touts this as a selling point, as the player has control over the pace at which their run unfolds. You can even start at higher difficulties after unlocking the ability to do so. Whilst playing you’ll fill boss meters that unlock bigger encounters with a randomly generated elite enemy. Again, it’s up to the players to decide when and if they enter these battles, but the potential rewards are huge.
Playing runs also rewards you with tickets, power tokens and more. These allow you to purchase new abilities for your character, along with upgrading stats such as health and shield bars. But possibly most predictably, there’s lots of customisation options to unlock. Gauntlets, jackets and even hair styles are all available to help shape your character. As I say, Arcadegeddon is a cool looking game anyhow so there are no real bad options in my opinion, as welcome as they all are.
You can play Arcadegeddon by yourself, or with others online. Playing offline is still a lot of fun, partly thanks to the fast paced, high octane action. There are also gang members dotted around the arcade, who offer additional challenges for you during your run. What wasn’t too clear and stumped me for a while, was the need to go back and “turn-in” your quest for rewards to the quest giver, rather than the game automatically dishing them out. Unless it was just me being daft which, is a strong possibility. These quests also gradually push the story along as you complete them. However, it’s the multiplayer where Arcadegeddon really shines.
Playing with others will allow you to progress further into your run, and earn more rewards. You can emote and drop waypoints if voice chat isn’t your thing too. If you do really well, runs can last for hours and Arcadegeddon can be really hard to put down when you’re on a roll. What also helps is the constantly changing setting and objectives which manage to help keep a fairly standard shooter feeling fresh and fun. Then there are high scores to chase, with online leaderboards providing something to strive for and boast about if you are skilled enough.
However, after a few runs you will have seen what Arcadegeddon has to offer, and this lack of newness may disappoint some players. The core gameplay is fast and light, and above all else solidly designed which keeps things accessible and enjoyable. The action feels balanced and the weapons, as well as the movement of your character, control very comfortably indeed.
For those playing online, Battle Mode is also available for those who want something a bit different. These are short PvP rounds, which see players fighting for survival in different arenas. One, for example, sees players shooting away platforms to eliminate the others and emerge as the last man standing (quite literally).
I did come up against a slight problem when matchmaking, as the servers seemed very quiet. On a couple of late evenings, I couldn’t find any other players at all. However, at more reasonable times of day, I was successfully matched up after an average wait of three to five minutes. This is potentially concerning considering crossplay was enabled and I’m reviewing the game a little bit after its full release. I guess time will tell, but Arcadegeddon feels like an ideal candidate for Xbox Game Pass.
Unfortunately, there are also some minor niggles I came across whilst playing. After completing a run, exiting and then heading back into the game, Arcadegeddon would get stuck in a loading screen. Also, you can link your Epic account from the main menu, but when I tried I again got stuck in a loading screen each time I tried. As I say, minor problems but certainly noteworthy.
In terms of longevity, it all depends on what you’re looking for from Arcadegeddon. Personally, the solid gameplay kept me playing for hours despite the content being on the lighter side. Given that you’ll need to stump up £24.99 to get involved, when there are many free to play alternatives out there, may put some people off checking this one out.
There are also options to purchase in-game cash for real cash, which will unlock premium outfits. This isn’t needed to enjoy the game which is good news, but an optional extra.
As you have probably gleaned from my words I very much enjoyed my time with Arcadegeddon and I’m really rooting for it to be a success. It’s an incredibly playable game that oozes with a style to absolutely adore. Objectively speaking however, that may not be enough for some.
Despite legitimate questions around longevity, Arcadegeddon is an absolute blast that takes place across a lush, digital battleground. With the right support, the future should be bright for this one.
Arcadegeddon is available from the Xbox Store