Bobby Danger says that he’s one of the video game greats of his time, and he’s been hogging my Protectian machine for most of the month. It’s one of the trade-offs you’ll be offered through the game in Arcadecraft, the management sim from Firebase industries.

If he beats the high score, my arcade and Protectian will get a boost in popularity, bringing money in for me to get new machines. If he fails, I’ve lost a months earnings from my best game.

In ArcadeCraft you take control of an arcade during the arcade boom of the eighties, with nothing but an empty room and $12’000 in cash.

You’ve got two years to pay back your loan, and it’s something of a slow limp, made interesting by the fact that you’re involved at the ground floor. You have to empty the coins from your machines with the space bar, sometimes the coin slots get jammed and you have to slam them on the ground to fix it and there are other interactions too. They don’t come along too often, but it keeps you amused while waiting for the money to buy new arcade machines.

The economy is the biggest weakness  about this game. It’s rare in the first 2-3 years that you’ll have two pennies to rub together. Sometimes you’ll spend 2 in game months trying to save up enough money to buy one single arcade machine. It is slow. When you finally get 10 machines together, you have to pay out another big chunk to upgrade your power supply and that’s before you pay back the bank loan at the end of your second year. Factor in how fast your arcade machines depreciate in popularity and it’s not uncommon for you to be perpetually skint.

It’s a struggle trying to balance getting the newest videogames every month while keeping the lights on. Reminds me of university.

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The sound design is decent, with 8 bit arcade-y noises and inoffensive jukebox songs blaring out across the arcade as you pan around it. It’s nothing particularly memorable but it does the job well.

Visuals are great, there’s a wide host of customisation options for your arcade, and my arcade “The IndieHaven” is looking pretty great with some retro inspired art on the walls and a fresh coat of paint. It’s fairly simple and does the job without flash, but you don’t come to a management game for the graphics, it cleanly displays your arcade without scorching any retinas and that’s good enough.

User interface is decent, but there’s a really annoying quirk/design glitch that means you can’t move an arcade machine over the top of another arcade machine, even while you are placing it. This means that sometimes I have to move a series of machines just to place one down and it’s irritating. Sometimes a salesman will appear and  offer up an arcade machine as a one off and it annoys me that I can’t sell off an older cabinet before accepting. If you have the money right that second you can have it, otherwise it vanishes off into the ether.

The salesman appears when I least expect. If I’ve just spent a few grand on painting a wall or I’m just about to empty my arcade machines then that’s when he’ll show up to sell me the latest killer machine. “But, please.. the money’s just out on the arcade floor” I plead, trying to will my machines to empty out and raise my coin total so I can purchase the shiny game… it never works and I’m often left mourning the road less taken.

So yeah, changing that would be nice.

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Despite the fact it sometimes felt like I was waiting for the game to offer me in-app purchases because of the long timescales involved, I found myself putting about 5 years of game time into it. The gameplay is solid and there’s a variety of fun things to do; naming and painting my own arcade ticked one off the childhood bucket list. I enjoyed my time with it, and I think I’ll probably return to it briefly if new content appears.
Everything is incredibly competent, my only real concern with it is that for most of your time with the game you’re just waiting for the game to play with You rather than the other way around. A few tweaks to the economy could have made this an instant classic, instead it’s just an interesting but limited diversion.

You can buy ArcadeCraft here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/297330/

Review: ArcadeCraft
Pros
  • Strong gameplay
  • Well polished
  • You get to run an arcade!
Cons
  • Slow economy
  • Plain design
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

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