Over the past few weeks, I’ve played some good twitchy indie shooters – Grid Space Shooter and Pester. I decided to check out the indie section to see what’s there. You never know what you’ll find. Wow. What’s this? Arcadecraft? The first thing that stuck in my mind….. not another Minecraft clone. XBL Indie Games has enough of them.
I check out the pics and the description makes Arcadecraft resemble a tycoon game of sorts – manage an arcade and make money. Sounds great. I’ll try it.
I messed with the trial and it seemed pretty good, so I’ll grab it. It costs 240 pts ($3).
- Excellent production values giving higher budget XBLA games a run for their money
- Gameplay is fun, but gets monotonous
- Numerous bugs
- Worth getting? Maybe
The goal of the game is to run an arcade from the ground up. Start with cash. Buy and place machines, set parameters (price and difficulty), spruce up your arcade with extra features (ie. spiffier signage, pop and jukebox machines). Make as much money as you can in the 7 year time limit. You start in 1980 and the game ends when you reach the end of 1986.
I finished the game with revenue of $619,432, can you beat me?
Many people already have as I’m currently ranked 33rd in the world as I type. The leaderboard shows around 500 people right now. You’ll see my name. Either there’s some glitching going on or the leaderboard dating is wrong as the dates mostly say 1980 (when the game starts). No way anyone can make that in the first year?!?!
So how does the game look, play and sound?
- Right off the bat and throughout the entire game, Arcadecraft has fantastic production values. Bright, colourful and crisp. This goes for both in-game visuals and menu screens. Your avatar is also standing behind the counter as the owner
- The game has nice touches too. Players come and go in the arcade, sit down, play, kick machines etc… The arcade cabinets have an 80s style to them and the screen has a retro image of a game. Many of them do resemble real games, but slightly altered. I swear the baseball game resembles Intellivison’s old baseball game! Or maybe I’m seeing things. Another game looked like a tweaked version of Dragon Spirit! LOL
- I’d say the game runs at 30 fps. Does not feel like a 60 fps game
- Sound is great too. You hear some tunes playing from the jukebox (when you buy it), all kinds of retro sound effects, coin drops etc… Some games have voice effects playing sporadically. Nicely done
- You start with some cash, a blank floor and it’s up to you to buy things and place them (think of the floor like a big grid). You can place them where you want and turn them whichever direction you want. You also get to name your arcade. Pretty cool to layout your own arcade!
- You can press start to pause the game. This also brings up menus to check stats, buy things, save game
- The game moves in real time when it comes to placing items, draining machines of coins and other things (I’ll get to that later) you can’t pause like SimCity, do your building and then unpause
- The game has lots of variables in determining how successful your sales are…. game, game mix, price, difficulty, breadth of genres, sprucing up your arcade with better aesthetics, repairing machines, if the game is new or old and many more I probably missed. Sometimes a game will be announced it is coming with home versions. The second that happens your machine’s revenue will drop. You can sell machines if you don’t want them
- You have a maximum of 30 machines. You can buy duplicate machines if you want, but only one pop and jukebox machine
- As you play the game, your machines fill with coins. In order to get the sales, you have to press and hold Y over a machine to drain it. This is where the game starts to break down
- When you have too many machines, it’s practically impossible to keep up. You can hire one employee “Rick” to help drain machines, but he is slow. As the game ramps up, you have other things to worry about…. machines needing repair, kicking out aggressive customers and so forth. Having anything over 20 machines gets too hectic. I found a sweet spot to be 15 machines. I could probably stretch it to 20, but I did max it out to 30 to see what it’s like. Half the machines start going nuts as they either need repairs or are full of coins. At the 15-20ish machine mark, don’t bother with Rick. Save the employee wages. As long as you have decent reflexes, you can handle it all yourself
- At the beginning, cash is tight. But then the cash starts rolling in and it’s doubtful you’ll go broke. I didn’t play the game that great (first timer), but still finished the game with around $120,000 cash on hand. To put that in perspective, most game machines and arcade improvements cost $2,500-4,000, so that’s tons of cash. You can usually sell a game for $500-1,500 if you are desperate for funds
- Numerous manufacturers come out with new games which is exciting. The drawback is that after a year or two, they don’t offer the game anymore. So by the end of the game there might be only 10-15 games available to buy. So if you sold it before, you can’t buy it back. Buying a machine and never selling it is an option, but there is a bug I found (unless I missed how to fix it). A machine can get “jammed with coins”. Unlike other repairs, which you pay money to fix I couldn’t figure out how to fix a jammed machine. So I ended up selling them to save on space and monthly electricity costs
- Other bugs include Error 4 pop-up boxes which boot you to the dashboard and a bug where if you are trying to plant a newly bought machine on a space and a random guy pops up saying he wants to buy a retro machine off you it locks the machine you are holding as your cursor
- By around year 4 (midway through the game), Arcadecraft gets pretty repetitive. You’ll have been pressing and holding Y to drain coins for a long time by now
- I did a rough estimate that one day = 5 seconds. So a month is about 2 minutes or so. A year is about half an hour. Sounds about right a game takes 3-4 hours. I bought the game this morning, played for a bit and then completed the 7 year program playing another 3 hours this afternoon
I say definitely give Arcadecraft a try, especially if you like tycoon-type games. Its got solid looks, sound and style. And what gamer wouldn’t want to run an arcade? LOL. Just note that tedium can set in later in the game.