Roundabout (PlayStation 4) review
"Spinning limos, therefore, I drive."
Roundabout is a fine example where a game can both bring you a witty experience and a legitimately fun ride where it makes no sacrifice in either department. The B-Movie style of cutscenes with atrocious acting, awful script-writing and all sorts of other 'mistakes' are worth quite a few laughs, while the gameplay of your constantly rotating limousine is tricky, challenging and save for a few instances where you'll call foul, bizarrely entertaining.
Enough time has been spent harping on the nature of Roundabout's live-action cutscenes with the comedy that it brings, so I'll merely be parroting the good points regarding the humor, acting and production quality that is all borked on purpose, which is what makes it so enjoyable (I swear, they use the same damn briefcase three or four times for different characters!). What isn't as mentioned as often is how smart Roundabout's humor is, where unlike Swery65's recent work, they're not trying too hard, reaching for jokes or bizarre moments to really try and elicit a laugh out of you when it just clearly won't work. An actress looking directly at the camera, children doing their worst (see: best) cheer for excitement, a rich man who calls just about everyone Jeeves while making rotation-based puns, there aren't many outright punchlines in Roundabout (at least as I can remember), so the numerous laughs I had came from the sheer ridiculous nature of the passengers Georgio (which is a woman's name???) picks up during her time as a rotating chauffeur. Cutscenes don't overstay their welcome even if they pop up during a mission, generally staying under one or two minutes to not keep you too long from the gameplay. The actors come in, get the point or plot (yes, they try to tell a story in this game) across, try and get a chuckle from you, and then get on with it, not pulling a Family Guy and jabbing a gag at you until the writer's get bored or you turn it off. At worst it makes the game quite amusing and at best it makes you want to press on to see which weirdo hops into the back seat next and what their deal is (and to see if they'll say 'Let's go, Georgio!' which makes me want a t-shirt of that line).
You're no doubt well-aware that you drive a rotating limousine in the game, and if you wondered if controlling such a vehicle is weird, it is... At first, that is. The entire map of the game is designed in such a way to prey upon your constantly spinning ways, but your rotation is done automatically; all you have to do is steer your ride and avoid smashing into everything along the way. Controlling your limo is nice and responsive (you'll quickly get a feel for the controls within a short amount of time) though it's far from a supercar, so changing direction instantly won't be happening which will result in bashing into a few obstacles here and there, and taking enough damage will result in a violent explosion killing you and your passenger - But you'll respawn at the last checkpoint in order to try again. Death is only a minor setback in Roundabout, where you're only penalized with lost time and not being able to get a 100% rating on your current mission. Later on you'll be able to cause your limo to jump (among other changeable upgrades), allowing you to access rooftops and other areas in order to pick up extra horns to sound off with, multipliers for your score by collecting coins and murdering civilians in cold, unpunished blood, or cash in order to purchase property for more money collection, paint jobs or hats for your vehicle. If you're not playing Roundabout for the comedy, you'll be playing it for the various elements of being a collect-a-thon (the Sick Jump tokens hidden away, cash stacks, horn unlocks), a completionist (acing every mission's objectives which isn't the easiest thing ever), a competitor (there are various challenges and mini-games with leaderboard support for your friends or the top spot), or just going through the main story which is fun all on its own.
The only major complaints I have about the game is that when you're required to push objects with your limo, it can get a little squirrely and annoying with the floaty physics, but these moments are far and few between. While the map is designed both for and against your rotating ways, finding yourself between two obstacles within close proximity can mean that nudging one will make you change rotation direction and nudge the other in quick succession, not giving you much time to recover and taking a death in the process. In most cases like this you can find an alternate, less tightly squeezed route, so you'd be actively putting yourself into challenging little moments like that. The final big issue I have is that trying to slip down cliffs or hills that specifically aren't made for your limo to drive on will result in death nine times out of ten. What happens is that your vehicle will bump against the geometry of the slope which will count as crashing into something, which will result in a few seconds of erratic twitching followed by an explosion before you can drive back onto solid, flat ground. Again, you'd be putting yourself into an instance like this, but the ensuing twitching of your limo before the kaboom makes it seem like the collision on slopes wasn't quite polished out.
Roundabout rides that line of comedy and gameplay incredibly well, being funny while also handling and playing well and having plenty to do for various forms of completion. Your replay-ability will stem from your desire to reign over the challenge leaderboards or to get 100% on absolutely everything or to simply just play through the story again and encounter all the bizarre people hitching a ride in the back of Georgio's limousine and how they interact with our silent protagonist. Once you get past just how utterly silly the game is, you have a very enjoyable, fun time on your hands - All while spinning on and on and on and on...
Community review by Dinoracha (February 17, 2016)
Dinoracha is a world-renowned internet famous Let's Player, voice actor, writer, reviewer, e-sports competitor, masterful stream host and man of the people. These may or may not all be gross exaggerations.
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