Roundabout Review

You play as Georgio Manos, driving your clients around town in a crazy spinning limousine while trying to avoid obstacles and pick up items. A controller is strongly recommended.

It’s a non-linear open world game with storyline attached. You head towards one of the animated stars on the mini map to pick up your next client. There’s a short film (FMV) of a real-life character actor on the back seat telling you where he/she wants to go and why, then off you go following a big yellow arrow, trying to avoid all the cars and other obstacles in your way. If you hit 5 obstacles your car bursts into flames and you respawn at your last checkpoint, of which (thankfully) there are many.

Dotted around the streets there are spots where you can get a full repair. These are useful when they’re in the middle of a particularly difficult stint but mostly redundant since you constantly just die and respawn anyway.

At the end of each successful trip there’s another FMV as the character’s personal story progresses. There’s no overall storyline, the various threads are all unconnected apart from the fact that Georgio drives them all around.

At a certain point in the game jumping your limo becomes a thing, and the tasks increasingly require it.

Pickup Items

There are many items to collect all over the place:

  • Stars placed along the route. Try to collect them all during each trip for a bonus.
  • Piles of cash boost your profits (which also increase as you complete tasks) and with the money you can buy properties, which boost your profits further.
  • Shortcuts open up new areas of the map to explore.
  • Hats (objects that appear on your limo roof – burger, donut, cardboard boxes etc), horns and paint jobs are unlocked which you can then buy with your profits.
  • 9 mini games/challenges – eg. keep the football in the air, place the coffins, destruction derby – most of which have related achievements and leaderboards.
  • Upgrades are introduced as you reach certain milestones in the game. The first one allows you to slow the car down which is very useful for new players. I’m fond of the one that reverses the spin direction at will – most obstacles are designed to be navigated either by spinning clockwise or anticlockwise so being able to choose makes things slightly easier.

 

’70s Theme

It’s certainly recognisable as 70s. The generic background music (twanging bass and fast trumpet) from all 70s cop shows gives it away immediately, but if you’re looking for period drama or insightful commentary on 70s culture then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. There are some wing collars, tasteless sports jackets and I heard a pedestrian yell something about Jimmy Carter but that’s about as far as it goes. There’s a groovy disco tune on the main menu; I would have liked to hear more pieces in-game but sadly not even Disco Sylvain managed to produce any, and there’s no punk at all.

Wanton Genocide

Crowds of pedestrians shout angry comments wherever you go. They all end up in your wake as a bloody mess (don’t worry, no close-up gore). There’s no penalty for murdering innocent civilians, in fact one of the upgrades requires you to mow down 2,500 of them. It seems counter-productive for a driver to cull potential clients though doesn’t it?

Acting

… is (intentionally?) bad and the storylines are a bit wacky and inconsequential. There are quite a few characters with a different actor for each. The star of the show is a plastic skeleton, which indicates the general standard of acting here. These FMVs, though I wouldn’t find them very impressive in any other context, do bring the game to life and I’ve enjoyed every cheesy minute of it. Georgio herself never utters a word. No idea why not.

Difficulty

For the first few hours I was bursting into flames literally every 5 seconds. Towards the end my stamina increased to 10 seconds and occasionally even to the dizzying heights of 15 seconds (please resist any filthy comments). Deaths cost nothing though, unless you’re trying for a deathless achievement. After a while it becomes part of the game and you’re often repeatedly trying to make it to the next checkpoint without dying. Checkpoints are numerous enough that you can still make good progress despite frequent deaths.

Overall it’s a good challenge. Difficult but no rage-quit due to the plentiful checkpoints.

Performance/Graphics

Smooth and responsive, no glitches found on either Windows or Linux. The artwork of the game is clear and cartoony 3D, good quality but not overly artistic. The FMV is like watching TV (not flatscreen, ofc). There are a few cutscenes within the FMV which are deliberately fuzzy film snippets of cars exploding at the bottom of cliffs and suchlike. No problems at all.

Value

It took me 7 hours to finish the story with 31% completion. Bear in mind that my controller skills are abysmal. The story is really only a means to show the player the entire town, afterwards you can continue in sandbox mode to collect further upgrades, hats, horns etc. Not to mention the achievements and mini-game leaderboards. All in all I’d say it’s well worth the full asking price.

Steam

5 trading cards. 40 achievements. Steam cloud. Steam leaderboards. It’s got the lot. Cross-platform is the cherry on the cake.

Verdict

7 hours was more than enough for me – towards the end I was starting to find it tedious. I’m not blaming the game for this, it’s just that I usually prefer some mental stimulation in my games whereas this is pure fun with no brainwork required. There’s only so much fun I can take before I feel the urge to torture myself with some masochistically difficult puzzles.

This is a unique game, unlike anything else you’ve ever played (probably). If you like the idea of using a controller to grapple with a spinning limo then I highly recommend it, you’ll have hours of fun. The many extra features flesh out the core gameplay nicely and it runs smooth as silk on all platforms.

Good

  • A lot of fun without too much thinking
  • Nice cheesy acting and plenty of other silliness
  • Storyline campaign then open world with achievements, leaderboards etc.

Bad

  • It can get tedious after a while
7.2

Good