Roundabout is the port of a game that came to the PC last year, and it's easily the most bonkers release we've played in a long time. You assume the role of the ever-silent Georgio Manos – the world's first spinning limousine driver – and are tasked with re-enacting her fictional rise to fame in the 70s.
Stages adopt two guises: fares where you must transport one of the locals from A-to-B as smoothly as possible, and challenges such as bouncing a football on the roof of the car. Of course, none of this is as easy as it sounds as your limousine will be in a perpetual spinning state, and has a nasty tendency to explode should you clip the scenery or, heaven forbid, another vehicle. Essentially what we have here is an open world puzzle game in which you must determine the optimal route to your location while avoiding the various obstacles which litter the streets along the way.
The cartoony visuals are viewed from above and are bright but basic. Massacring the poor innocent civilians of the City of Roundabout is positively encouraged with the reward of a small amount of additional cash; more if you manage to chain together a number of kills. Red is frequently the most prominent colour on the screen as you bathe the streets in blood.
As you may have guessed, this isn't a game that takes itself too seriously. Each fare is bookended with an incredibly low-budget FMV scene in which intentionally hammy actors provide reasons for being ferried around town. We didn't find any of these all that amusing and we imagine that they were inserted with the goal of encouraging Let's Play videos on YouTube, to be honest.
Missions are repetitive and, as such, we recommend experiencing the game in short bursts. However, when we were really hitting our grove and dancing around obstacles like the champions that we are, it's hard to deny how rewarding it all feels. Story objectives reward you by unlocking additional perks such as jumping – enabling you to hop onto the roofs of buildings – or the ability to drive on water and visit areas that were previously out of reach. However, these skills don't deliver quite enough variety to keep you coming back time and time again.
Failure of missions is impossible with death just meaning a respawn a short distance away. As a result, we breezed through the game relatively quickly, with each mission taking around five minutes and the story about three hours in total. You're only penalised upon death by the loss of optional side objectives in a similar manner to the more recent Assassin's Creed games. However, we didn't feel particularly inclined to revisit any of the stages a second time in an attempt to better our scores.
The game is sound tracked by seventies style funk and disco tunes that don't really stick in the head. Meanwhile, the citizens of Roundabout scream and shout at you plough into them, and do have some amusing phrases.
There are several properties and businesses that are for sale at very reasonable prices around the city. Once purchased, these provide regular cash injections, which you must return to the location to collect. This money is then used to buy further properties or aesthetic upgrades for your limo such as a huge burger to sit on the roof, because... Well, why the hell not? Car horns are also customisable and can be collected around the city from hidden locations, with a flushing toilet one of the many honks up for grabs.
Roundabout would probably work better as a PlayStation Vita game, which you could jump into for five minutes while you're riding the tube, bus, or a perpetually rotating limousine. Fortunately, the game was announced for the handheld last year, so hopefully that version still comes to fruition. On the PlayStation 4, there's definitely still fun to be found in this highly stylised game, but the novelty soon wears off if you play it in long bursts.