Developer Illfonic has been gradually making a name for itself with licensed multiplayer games, like Friday the 13th: The Game and Predator: Hunting Grounds. However, the studio has yet to make something truly standout. Arcadegeddon is its latest effort, and while it lacks the appeal of a recognisable movie franchise, it's probably the team's best effort so far.
It's a third-person shooter you can play alone or in co-op, with both a rogue-lite adventure mode to follow and competitive multiplayer. Mega-corporation Fun Fun Co. is absorbing independent arcades in the game's futuristic city, and Gilly's is the last one standing. The owner creates the titular Arcadegeddon, a supercharged game to draw in business, but it attracts the attention of the FFC. Installing a virus in the game to take it over, it falls to you and up to three buddies to enter the game, fight back the baddies, and save the arcade.
It's a simple premise that gets out of the way pretty quickly, letting you crack on with the game proper. Essentially, the loop has you blasting your way through as many stages as you can before you lose all your health. Each attempt will reward you with some XP and Tickets; the former goes towards leveling up your character, while the latter is a currency used for purchasing cosmetics. Back in the hub, you can customise your avatar, buy outfits, and boost yourself with passive buffs and special abilities. Then you go again.
That's the gist, but there's a bit more to it. Through use, each individual weapon also earns XP, which is important. A weapon you've leveled up at least once can be selected as part of your starting loadout, meaning you can eventually begin a run with all your favourite boom sticks. Leveling weapons up further increases their base rarity, and each grade makes them more powerful, so you'll slowly be equipped with super strong gear to carry you through to the later levels.
Additionally, gang members hang out in Gilly's, and you can recruit them and their followers to the arcade-saving cause — provided you can complete their challenges. The dialogue gets a little obnoxious, but these additional tasks give you something else to think about while you're blasting robots, and you'll also earn Power Tokens and other rewards for completing them. Power Tokens are needed to unlock Plugins (perks) and Surge Abilities (special moves), so they're pretty valuable.
This all sounds like a lot of busywork, but it all comes together pretty naturally while you play. The good news is that the action itself is really strong. Guns feel great to use, and feedback from the presentation as well as the DualSense's haptics make dispatching baddies feel satisfying. Weapon variety is good too; most are based on typical gun types, but often mix things up with elemental effects. For example, electrical rounds are great for crowds as the electricity arcs between foes, while peppering enemies with fiery bullets builds up a burn effect. Exploring the arsenal and finding your favourites is fun, though we'd say some are definitely better than others. They're reasonably well balanced, but we'd often avoid icy guns; freezing foes solid never seems more useful than just killing them.
While the core shooting is fun, enemies continuously spawn and you have objectives to meet, so there's little reason to hang around. The game nudges you forwards with simple tasks, like capturing spots in a map, destroying glitches, or finding keys and their respective locks. Like the order of environments, loot drops, and other aspects, the objectives you receive are randomly generated. Half-way through a stage is a shop, where you can spend the coins you collect on new weapons or buffs, and if you're feeling dangerous, you can also manually increase the difficulty, which goes up automatically after each level. The objectives are fine and generally quick to complete, but repeat often. Having to fend off enemies as you go keeps you on your toes at least, but a bit more variety of tasks would be nice.
Optional boss battles crop up from time to time, unlocking after you've built up a meter. They can be extremely tough, but reward you handsomely if you pull through, and they help to mix up the pacing. You'll also advance to the next stage immediately if you beat them, acting as a sort-of shortcut. We've fought four bosses, and they're decent fights but nothing spectacular, and the difficulty varies quite a lot. The CEO is straightforward, but we couldn't get to grips with the FFC Mech.
Visually, Arcadegeddon is heavily stylised, with colourful, varied environments and characters who look like cousins of Osmosis Jones. It looks good but not great, and can actually get in its own way sometimes; it can be visually noisy with all its effects and flashing lights, and some text is far too small to read. The soundscape is similar — sounds from enemies alert you to their presence but they quite often blend into the thumping music. Combine all that with some occasional bugs and performance hitches, it can come across as a bit messy.
Fortunately, playing with others will make you forget some of the game's shortcomings. It feels like it's built primarily for co-op, with some support weapons only useful while playing with a group. Interestingly, the mid-stage shop area also has a booth at which you can activate a sort-of mini-game, if you're not playing solo. These are quite simple — a little team deathmatch, one where the floor falls away, and other quick-fire activities. They break up the main attraction nicely and reward you for winning with yet more loot. The dedicated PvP mode folds these short rounds into more traditional action. It's about what you'd expect, and the solid gunplay means it's enjoyable enough, but it's clear the main attraction is the adventure mode.
Arcadegeddon is Illfonic's most well-rounded multiplayer title yet, with a fun, engaging core and fast-paced gameplay keeping you going. Its rogue-lite elements don't get in the way, and it's a great game to let loose in with a friend or two. We can take or leave some of the surrounding fluff, like the largely forgettable characters and cosmetics, and there are definitely one or two rough edges. Even so, it's worth jacking into this solid third-person shooter for some scrappy fun.
N.i.c.e. arcadegeddon looks cool.definetly downloading it.word up son
Splatoon comes to mind after watching the game trailer.
About what I expected, but I'm looking forward to trying it. This is exactly the kind of game I like to get on PS Plus.
A wise man once said; nothing cheaper than something free.
I enjoyed my time with it when it first came out. Sounds like they added a few things since I last played (like the meta upgrades of the weapons). I'll need to jump back in and give it some reps.
@Enuo It's only free if you got your subscription for free.
@Hundred_Hand_Slap it's free if you already have a subscription for a million other things. Then it comes at "no additional cost", i.e. for free.
Folks you should hold off from playing it atm; servers aren't up and running yet and offline play doesn't seem to keep any progress! Should be up and running in a few hours the devs say.
@naruball If you didn't have a subscription (paid for) then you wouldn't have access to this game for free.
Didn't know it until now that this is a rogue-lite. Instant pass then.
@Hundred_Hand_Slap Everyone loves a pedant. Oh wait, its the other way around isn’t it.
@Amnesiac All I'm doing is speaking the truth.
I am willing to give it a try, the art style doesn't sell it for me.
@Hundred_Hand_Slap yes, that's exactly what I said. Thanks for repeating it.
Removed - flaming/arguing
@naruball it's not, but okay.
Removed - flaming/arguing
@Hundred_Hand_Slap can't argue against such a strong point.
@naruball I just don't want to argue anymore man. To each their own. If you feel like the games are free then so be it. As a PS+ subscriber I know I had to pay money to play this, no free rides for me. My brain won't allow me think otherwise.
Gave it a fair go... Was awful, deleted after 30 minutes. These sort of games are like when every developer jumped on the MMO bandwagon after WoW hit big. It's awful.
Been enjoying this with friends
I’ve been enjoying this, but I disagree with the comment about the freezing/ice guns not being any good. I find them useful. If you shoot any enemies with their jet packs going, they freeze mid air and fall to the ground and shatter. The other advantage is by freezing enemies is they stop shooting at you and thirdly, all frozen enemies can be smashed to pieces with one melee hit when frozen.
@Dogmanstar yeah its a shame as I love roguelite/like games. Had a play and its not for me. Is just ok and is clearly designed for a younger crowd. Didnt find the gunplay to be that great really either and all the characters are really annoying. Like most youtubers and tikitok "stars".. None of our discord gaming group liked it. The fact we are all aged 30+ may have something to do with it.
Arcadegeddon is the best feeling game I've played In so long. Soundtrack is dope, weapons are all great and have their own uses, controls are intuitive, premium items are limited to 4-5 outfits that don't offer much compared to what you can unlock playing so you never feel like your missing out, they could've even made purchase continues but didn't which says so much about the team behind it, pvp seems well balanced, I love the aesthetic it's reminds me of the cartoon reboot, and the story reminds me of ready player one which works since it doesn't feel like the games trying to milk me for money like every other free game. I honestly don't know why this game hasn't seen a massive wave of hype I'm super in love with it even though the gameplay loop is simple. The only negative I can think of is the fact I've already seen PC players using cheat engine which is just ***** dirty when endgame is a leaderboard. I mean come on guys it's a skill based challenge there no real benefit to cheating it just makes you look like a d-bag. All in all I give this 5 out of 5. I can already tell once I burn myself out it'll become my casual go to game for killing time or in between games which is exactly what I need
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