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Roundabout Review

If you look at any of the media for roundabout you will know right away that it is a crazy game. You star as Georgio Manos, a female limo driver who can't drive straight. You will spend the entire game spinning around. This presents a very unique gameplay style that forces you to think in new ways. But does Roundabout spin this the right way? Or does it just leave you feeling dizzy and sick?

Developer: No Goblin
Publisher: No Goblin
Format: Xbox one
Release Date: February 20th, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
Being set in 1977, Roundabout does a very good job of capturing the retro look. From the clothes to the HUD it all looks the part for a 70's "B" movie. The cutscenes are all live action which only adds to the extreme wackiness of the game. The characters that get in the back of your limo are hilarious and the facial expressions from silent protagonist Georgio (played by Kate Welch) and perfectly executed. Georgio being silent seems like a jab at other game's with silent protagonists. The passengers are forced to respond simply from the look on her face which, again, is really hilarious. The audio in the game also sets a perfect 70's tone with some very psychedelic tunes playing while you spin and even in the menus. The game really does set the 70's theme very well.

You would be forgiven for thinking the game would be lacking a story. However this is not the case. Roundabout tells the story of the rise and fall of Georgio along with her love with Beth. Kate Welch does an incredible job of getting Georgio's thoughts across without the use of sound. While it won't win any awards for story it was very enjoyable nonetheless. 

The real draw of Roundabout is the gameplay. Spinning constantly makes for a very interesting experience. Getting around obstacles has an almost puzzle-like feeling to it and when you manage to get the hang of it, weaving through the streets, it's a satisfying feeling. However if you let your mind slip for a second you will end up getting stuck and dying. As the game goes on the obstacles get more difficult and dying will be something you need to get used to. With cars driving in circles, back and forth, and a ton of other obstacles, it can be a pretty stressful game.

Not too far into the game you get the ability to jump. That's right, your limo can jump. This makes getting around certain obstacles a lot easier and adds a platforming dimension to the game. It's another way that the game keeps things mixed up. There are other things within the game to mix things up as well such as the upgrade system. You are allowed to equip 1 upgrade to your car at any one time. The first one you get gives you the ability to slow down time, another one allows you to change the direction of you rotation at the press of a button. Both of these are extremely helpful in traversing the world. There are however a handful of upgrades that are just there for fun. One such upgrade causes your limo to play the music of an ice cream truck which causes all nearby pedestrians to come running into your car then exploding into a pool of blood. Running over pedestrians will bring out the sadist in anyone! The game is open world so you have plenty of opportunity to just mess around with these upgrades and just go silly. Something that seems like a glaring omission however is the lack of fast travel, or mission select. If you decide you want to get across to the other side of the map for a mission located over there, or just because you want to, there is no other choice than to spin your way there, which can be a very tedious task. 

Story missions in the game require you to drive from checkpoint to checkpoint. There is also a big handful of side missions for each one to add to the replay value. From beating it without touching anything to beating it in a super quick time there is plenty of reason to replay these over and over. Aside from these there are also a few side missions which are simply mini games, such as trying to bounce a ball on your car as many times as possible or killing as many pedestrians as possible without letting the combo drop. These do a really good job of breaking up the checkpoint based story missions. On top of the missions there is a plethora of collectibles in the open world environment for you to track down which will also add to the length of the game if you want it too. Reaching 100% game completion will take a considerable commitment. 

The achievements seem like a mixed bag. There are a lot of easy ones like beating the story or honking your horn 1000 times. But the hard ones are exactly that. Hard. Beating the eSports speedrun without exploding requires you to beat the entire story in one sitting without blowing up which seems like a monumental task. You will also have to beat the campaign to 100% completion too which will take some time and practice. At the time of writing too there seems to be at least 2 glitched achievements. But hopefully they are fixed in the not too distant future. (EDIT: The achievements have since been fixed!)

Overall Roundabout is a fantastic game with a fresh gameplay mechanic unlike anything before it. Innovation like this is something seriously lacking in gaming these days and hopefully this is the start of developers thinking outside the box. The game is not only incredibly fun but it also has a great sense of humor and a bucket load of content to keep you coming back for more.The only drawback is it can be frustrating if you keep getting stuck on a obstacle where the timing of your rotation is off. This can lead to numerous deaths and a frustrating experience. $15 might seem a little steep on the face of the game but once you get into it you realize there is a hidden depth that none of the trailers have revealed.

+Incredibly funny
+70's tone is incredible
+Completely fresh gameplay mechanic
+Kate Welch is terrific as Georgio
+Absolutely tons of replay value
- Getting caught on a obstacle over and over can get frustrating quickly
- No fast travel leads to some tedious travelling across the map

Score: 8.5/10

What I played: Xbox One. Finished the entire story and dabbled in a variety of side challenges and spent a couple of hours generally goofing around the open world. A code was supplied by the developers.
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  1. I would love to be entered and also win this game! Loved it from day one. My Twitter name is Jzarp43. Hope I win. Keep up the good work

  2. Great write up and I'm delighted to hear this game is good. I've been following it since I saw the first trailer and was reminded of Crazy Taxi so it's good to hear it lives up to that hype I built up. Keep up the great work with reviewing Indie games guys!

  3. Great review, the game looks like a lot of fun!


  4. Great review! Keep up the good work on the podcast... I am really enjoying it.


  5. Great review! :)
    If I win,
    Contact: cityofmiller@gmail.com

  6. Great review. Would love to play Roundabout after reading your review :D
    Twitter: @Slicen_Dicen

  7. Great review!

    TA: Jacob4526

  8. Really good write up, Bond! Glad to hear good things about the game here and elsewhere as well cause it looks like a lot of fun! Keep up the good work!

    TA or XBL if I get drawn (Krazie x360a)

  9. Watched and read many reviews ,game looks like lots of fun. Thank you for your review it makes me really want this game GT Darkslide Thanks Again

  10. This game looks awesome, can't wait to play it! - BiLLzuMaNaTi
    Contact- Nickbillz@live.com

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Nice review, definitely looking forward to playing this game!
    Twitter: livlif2fullestx

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Is the game cover a not so subtle hit that women are bad drivers? lol. Looking forward to trying this out.

  15. Can't wait to play this game. Looks so cool.
    Twitter: @hsith

  16. this game looks cool if i win contact me on twitter my twitter is MrTwistedGamez or MrTwistedReview or xbox Gamertag MrTwistedGamez

  17. Played this at PAX East and thought it was interesting

    GT: CoolKidJoe

  18. Seems like it could be a bit of fun! :D

    Twitter: @Cilisien

  19. Review was a good read.

    TA/XBL - Crandy

  20. Ah, I finally underdstand why that limo keeps spinning, in the introduction of your review! I can sleep well tonight.


  21. File this under: Games I'm going to suck at. Lol. Looks fun though!

  22. Nice review, would be cool to give this game a try.
    Twitter: @ShawnSig

  23. Nice review, seems like a weird game.
    XBL GT/Trueachievements: xxxIsaiahxxx

  24. Great review! This game looks fun.

    GT: Pi5ton Honda

  25. This game looks like a mix of Zombie Driver HD with Loco Cycle lol
    I'm more excited about this game after reading your review xD

    TA/xbox/Twitter: dfs1402eX

  26. Can't say no to a free game.

  27. The winner of the Roundabout Xbox One giveaway is.....


    Congrats and we'll be getting in contact with you for your code. Thanks to everyone that joined and stick around as we'll be giving away another code on Twitter tomorrow!


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