Review: Roundabout

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Roundabout has got me spinning right round like a record, baby

The two-man dev team at No Goblin created the most original, the most unique and the most crazy absurd thing I have seen in video game history – and it’s amazing. In the first few minutes of gameplay I was Georgio, the driver of a spinning limousine, en route to picking up customers with crazy missions. This limousine spins while you dodge traffic, hit a few pedestrians, and avoid other objects.

The objective of the game is very simple: pick up the passengers at the big yellow stars and take them to where it directs you. The only real thing you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride because there’s a show to catch. The cut-scenes with each passenger are quite enjoyable and humorous. I found the acting to be perfect for this game.

It’s really obvious No Goblin was going for humor in a fast paced, easy to play game. It gets better than this though. Along the way you will pick up some people who offer you challenges. Every challenge has a leader board which makes it fun to compete with friends and the world record holder. Yes, No Goblin thought of this too – a world record holder. Last time I checked, I was the world record holder on the coach’s challenge.

It’s easy to play a game, beat it and then forget about it. However, once you play Roundabout you will never forget it. The talking skeleton just puts this game over the edge. While all the craziness happens, Georgio doesn’t even say a word. Every mission is accepted while the passenger gives you a little story and Georgio gives them a look back.

No matter how much damage you take, repairs are a simple ride away. Just cruise over any yellow wrench and your all patched up. You can customize the limo by driving over purple wrenches. This includes changing the color, adding a top to the limo (such as a hat, a waffle, etc), and more – all while still spinning. While driving around you will find house icons on the road that let you purchase properties to bring in extra income. This comes in handy when you are trying to purchase short cuts to other areas of the map.

 

I was lucky enough to be able to interview No Goblin and here’s what I found out :

 

How did the idea for “Roundabout” come up?

Roundabout’s actually inspired by a launch GBA game called “Kuru Kuru Kururin”. Kururin had a similar “move spinning thing” mechanic, but didn’t really explore it beyond that. We took that simple concept and exploded it into the open world puzzle FMV madness that exists today!

 

How long have you guys been working on it?

We spent around 15 months on Roundabout from start to finish, so pretty quick considering we’re just two people! Since then we’ve been doing all the fun work of porting to different platforms and preparing for our next thing.

 

What was the most challenging aspect of developing the game?

The biggest challenge for us is positioning! “Revolving Limo Exploration” isn’t a genre with an established fanbase, so we have to work extra hard to let people know what the game is and that it’s fun. Once people start playing though, they’re usually pretty excited to keep going!

 

Any specific reason why the Limo spins?

The real question is “why shouldn’t it spin?”. Boom. Blew your mind.

 

How did the idea of the cut-scenes come up? Were the actors members of the dev team?

We’re only a two person dev team, so it would have been tricky for us to pull off a script with 20-something cast members. Instead, we tricked our friends and a bunch of people from the internet to act in our game. We were completely spoiled with the results – some acting was so good that we had to tell people to ham it up more!

 

Any reason why the Limo Driver doesn’t talk?

Georgio has no need to talk. A look is far more informative for Georgio.

 

Are there any hidden easter eggs in the game that have a specific meaning?

There’s a ton of small easter eggs that we’ve sprinkled through Roundabout. For example: the farmhouse and field in the Mountains is actually a recreation of the farmhouse area from Destroy All Humans!, another game I worked on when I was much younger and spritely.

 

Will there be a sequel?

Nope! We’re pretty happy with the length and the story we wanted to tell with Roundabout, so our next thing is going to be something different. Having said that, I’d love to find ways to bring our characters from Roundabout with us into our future games.

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How long have you and the other devs been in the gaming industry in development?

Panzer and I have been making games for a while – we met when we were on the Rock Band design team at Harmonix. I’ve also worked at a couple of other pretty rad places like Twisted Pixel and Pandemic Studios before Panzer and I got the itch to start up our own studio.

 

What were some of the previous games you or any other members of the dev team have created?

We’ve worked on games like Rock Band, The Gunstringer, Destroy All Humans! and more, but clearly our most impactful game before Roundabout was Super Drake Tracker 2000 EX. People say games can’t make you cry, but I’m pretty sure John Drake shed a tear at the end of that saga.

 

What were your favorite games growing up?

I grew up with an Amiga during the UK indie explosion in the ’80s, so a lot of my favourites are weird european games like Midwinter 2. I’m a big sucker for sandbox and construction titles too, which is why Kerbal Space Program is near the top of my Steam most played list.

 

Any plans to work on other titles?

Absolutely! Making video games pays our rent and gets us food, so we have a pretty big incentive to keep making games that people like enough to buy. 🙂

 

…. With that said, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. I can only hope 4 Guys with Quarters can end up in one of their future cutscenes on any creation they might make.

 

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