These days it must be tricky to come up with new concepts for video games given the amount out there already. Well, it doesn’t seem so if you’re a creative mind at No Goblin. They’ve developed a game called “Roundabout” which centres on a revolving limousine driver in the 70s. Will this potentially bonkers offering blow our mind or instead drive us round the twist?
The year is 1977, meet Georgio Manos who has a very unique set of skills; these skills are used to in a bid to stand out from the competition in the world of limousine drivers. Everywhere Georgio goes, it’s in a revolving limousine which soon brings infamy that changes Georgio’s world for both the good and the bad. We get a glimpse at what it would be like to be in the shoes of a famous driver and meeting all the unique passengers that end up in that back seat of yours.
Roundabout is a completely open word driving game and that’s ideal for those who love to explore, you aren’t tied down to doing anything until you feel like it. One of the many things you can do is the main missions which are generally point to point, pick up and deliver your passengers to their destination. The likes we’ve seen in Crazy Taxi, Simpsons Road Rage etc. Normally this would get repetitive; however each passenger has their moment in the spotlight during mission cutscenes that are shot with real actors in full motion video which really add something to proceedings.
So these aren’t award winning performances, nor should you expect anything overly serious because in reality they are very tongue in cheek. Whether it’s a multimillionaire, a Canadian tourist or even a talking skeleton named Jeffrey the aim feels like it’s to have a bit of fun with these characters. And they most certainly do, even the seemingly more serious parts have that B-Movie “I can’t take any of this seriously” style.
But I’ve digressed a bit there, overlooking the key element of the game during missions and even generally travelling, navigating the roads in a constantly spinning vehicle. The moment I saw this in action I thought back to Kuru Kuru Kururin on the GameBoy Advance, where you had to manoeuvre a revolving stick through areas and funnily enough this was one of the inspirations behind Roundabout.
Anyway it takes timing, patience, great reactions and a whole lot of luck at times to revolve through trees or around moving cars without taking any damage. Fortunately when you’ve taken enough hits and explode it’ll just spawn you at the nearest checkpoint with no real harm done, meaning there’s very little pressure or stress involved, unless you want to complete all the objectives. By avoiding the obstacles in your path and picking up the golden coins you’ll build up a multiplier which increases the money earned from the trip. And what does having more money mean? Customisation!
No you can’t add any nitrous oxide to your ride (why would you want to? Have you got a deathwish?!), but when it comes to aesthetics there’s a decent amount and plenty of variety in the paint jobs and add-ons to make the limo look swish on the streets. Where else can you have an Eagle flying above you as you drive around in a hazardous looking black and yellow striped vehicle?
Even though the missions are enjoyable, they are pretty short and so there needs to be other stuff to occupy the player. Challenges can certainly do that if you are of a competitive nature, whether it’s playing keepy uppy with a limo or mowing down as many pedestrians as possible, there are all sorts of mini games to beat your friends scores at or even become the best in the world with the right skills.
What about the locations in which Georgio goes about this crazy business? Well I dare say No Goblin have set up the areas brilliantly. The suburbs are where you begin and the obstructions on the roads are infrequent with even the most rubbish drivers managing to squeeze this rotating machine through all routes with very few issues. By the time you’ve unlocked the city you better prepare for exploding on many occasions as more vehicles will get right in your way and places are tighter to traverse through. The last section of the journey to unlock is the snowy mountainous area, it’s darn tough, so tough in fact that even aeroplanes will get in your way. This is where the unlockable abilities will be of extreme importance such as the ability to shrink and jump.
My only real criticism is that the story, which covers love, vendettas and success all in a light hearted way, is over just a bit too quickly for my liking. Luckily they’ve added a load of collectables to find along the way, you’ll not find all these without actively searching around and thus it can add hours onto the overall gameplay. Roundabout takes some getting used at first, even the cutscenes, however once it’s embraced you can appreciate the game for what it really is, a jolly good time.
If you’re bored of the same old games doing the same old stuff then come and let Georgio Manos take you for a spin.