Move over 80’s, it’s time to retire for a while and let the 90’s shine once more; this is my decade, baby. Ever wanted to run a laundromat? No? What about one with a fly secret arcade? Well, now you can simulate just that with Arcade Paradise!

Is Arcade Paradise all that and a bag of chips, or is it totally buggin’? Find out in our review, after the break.

Arcade Paradise
Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, XBOX Series SX, Windows

Developed by Nosebleed Interactive
Published by Wired Productions
Released: 11th August 2022
Digital copy provided by Wired Productions
Please note some screenshots were taken in handheld mode.

Running an arcade must’ve been every 90’s kid’s pipe dream, I know I had that fantasy from time to time. Thankfully you can now live that dream electronically with Arcade Paradise. You play as Ashley, a young adult recently graduated from a business course, who has been tasked by their father to run his laundromat while he goes to do successful adult things… I mean, who cares about what our parents do, right?

Either way, welcome to the mundane world of adult life. The grind of chores and responsibilities awaits until you find a few old arcade cabinets in the storage room. Though your father is dead set against the idea of running an arcade business alongside airing out your neighbour’s dirty laundry, your presumably older sibling, Lesley, entices you to do so anyway; show dad that people prefer spending their quarters playing games than making suds! Of course, you can’t run a successful arcade with just a few cabinets, so best utilise both businesses to make the dream a reality.

Before you even think about the arcade, you’ll primarily focus on the laundromat for a little while. The job’s simple enough. First, whack any baskets of clothes customers bring in into a washing machine. After three minutes you can transfer the moist rags into a dryer. Another three minutes later you can decanter them into a basket and set them off ready to collect.  Doing this quickly will net you even more dosh. As mundane as it sounds, there’s some peace to be had performing these menial tasks… that is if the dirty laundry wasn’t haunted. Seriously! The business must be built on an ancient gravesite… I look away from an empty counter for one second and suddenly a basket appears from nowhere; creepy!

Every day the laundromat will likely look like a pre-pubescent teen’s bedroom; we’re talking trash absolutely everywhere. Empty coffee cups on counters, crushed soda cans in the corner, demolished pizza boxes tucked under benches, and don’t you dare get me started on those starchy socks scattered everywhere. 

If you want to run a successful business, you’ll have to pick up the trash and throw it in a nearby dumpster. Too boring for ya? Why not make it a game; throw the trash in the centre of the dumpster for a nice cash reward. Don’t forget to unblock the toilet and search for those special packages of chewed-up gum while you’re at it.

Now you’ve got the satisfying sounds of laundry swishing about in your sparkly clean laundromat, it’s time to focus on the arcade. As I mentioned before, you can’t run a successful one with only a few games on offer. Your office has a computer which can be used for various things such as chatting to your boring dad or ordering fun ‘new’ games.

There’s a whole range of games to choose from, with more being added as you expand your arcade further… and yes, you can play each and every one of them, some even let you bring in your Player 2. The games are based on classic staples from the early vector titles to the 32-bit era. Take Racer Chaser for example, this game puts a GTA-esque spin on the totally not-so-well-known PacMan. Concerned you’ll miss out on the wonderful life of a laundromat clerk? Never fear as your watch will alert you whenever a load has completed its wash or dry cycle, only during opening hours however.

Are certain games not bringing in enough cash to fill your pockets, I mean, your business? There are a handful of cool ways to try and increase your revenue. Using your PDA, you can find out all sorts of information on each game you own such as popularity, goals and more. If you find certain games aren’t too popular, place them near cabinets that are to entice more footfall. You can also change the price per play and difficulty which can help fill up the change hopper. Just racking up hours of gameplay can increase this too.

One of the coolest ways to increase machine popularity however is by completing goals. Each game has a handful of these missions; achieving these ups the popularity metre. It’s also a great way to work towards more than just a high score on each of the cabinets. Goals range from reaching a certain score in Racer Chaser or reaching 500m in Strike Gold to completing the entirety of Woodgal’s Adventure. These are all great ways to get you acquainted with each game on offer.

I felt attacked on a personal level by Arcade Paradise, especially when it came down to working on this review. One thing this game simulates well is how, in boring adult life, life often gets in the way of our gaming needs; I couldn’t help but feel a bit of anxiety playing Zombat 2 thinking about when the laundry will be done. Thankfully you can purchase upgrades, such as slowing down time or hiring someone to clear up the trash, once you unlock the daily tasks feature.

Every day, you’ll be given three tasks by your father to complete. Tasks include, but aren’t limited to, playing ten minutes of Racer Chaser, retrieving three pieces of chewed-up gum, destroying ten monsters in Woodgal’s Adventure, and more. Completing these missions will net you some British Pound Sterling, which can’t be used to purchase machines but it can net you some jammin’ tracks for the Jukebox and more tubular upgrades. Ironically the idea of rushing around to do these extra tasks adds to the anxiety… especially when some of them bug out and don’t record properly. I suppose at least it gives some structure to my day.

Though the game may not be the prettiest, that almost feeds back to the nostalgia of the 90’s, not to mention the game makes up for that with the colourful arcade interior and pretty fly soundtrack (once the jukebox has been unlocked). It’s basically everything you remember from the 90’s more or less.

Arcade Paradise surely proves the 80’s nostalgia is over and we need to move over to the 90’s… either that or I relate more being a 90’s kid; I lack the experience of actually existing during the 80’s. Either way, the title is a fun and unique simulation game full of arcade goodies while teaching you how to multitask. There’s a fair amount of replayability with the extra goals and daily missions, not to mention you can play more than 35 unique arcade titles while washing strangers’ knickers. Arcade Paradise is really all that and, with a little more polish, a bag of chips!

Final rating – 4 out of 5

Leon Fletcher

I am a huge Nintendo fan, hence why NintyBuzz exists. I especially love all things Zelda and Metroid. NintyBuzz was started by me back in the Summer of 2014, it started out mainly as a hobby, though the site has gradually grown, and I hope it grows for many years to come!