Business management meets arcade gaming in Arcade Paradise, an indie game that puts you to the back room of a seedy laundromat to build an arcade business. Of course, the place won’t stay shabby for long once guests stop by and see the nostalgic neon wonderland you’ve set about creating.
Game cabinets aren’t just business assets in Arcade Paradise – you can play the games you buy, too. With over 30 games to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to spend your hard-earned cash.
10 Communists from Mars
While the cabinets in Arcade Paradise pay homage to multiple eras of arcade gaming, the overall aesthetic of the game is unmistakably ’80s. While it’s not really a problem that many of the cabinets you can buy in Arcade Paradise don’t match the ’80s vibe, any cabinet that fits that vibe will automatically make it a more appealing purchase.
There’s no more ’80s-worthy cabinet in Arcade Paradise than Communists From Mars, a simple shooter that substitutes communists for aliens to make a brilliant little joke about ’80s communism-centric paranoia.
Barkanoid is a simple breakout clone with a major change to the brick breaking formula – the paddle is a dachshund. Barkanoid not only brings a sausage dog to Breakout, but also adds some small gameplay tweaks like lasers and changing the dog’s size to keep you interested when you’re losing lives because you’re too busy staring at the dog.
Just adding an animal and a few extra mechanics to an existing game isn’t going to set the world on fire. However, it’s worth buying Barkanoid for those times when you need some cute pet therapy after unlocking the laundromat toilets.
8th zombies 2
Zombat 2 is a twin-stick shooter with a surprisingly tough learning curve. It’s also another example of Arcade Paradise’s commitment to making its cabinets timeless by fusing multiple gaming eras together.
In the case of Zombat 2, simple 80’s style graphics and gameplay are combined with upgrade and shop systems that you can expect in a modern title. While Zombat 2’s gameplay is a bit superficial for the genre, there is no comparable game in Arcade Paradise’s lineup, making it a must-buy for your arcade.
7 racer chaser
Arcade Paradise is full of genre mashups. Perhaps the most bizarre of these is Racer Chaser, a game that ties Pac-Man to Grand Theft Auto’s top-down games. Yes, it’s as strange as it sounds. The gameplay borrows more from Pac-Man than GTA, with you primarily controlling a car driving through a city from a top-down perspective and running away from cops replacing Pac-Man’s ghosts.
Mashup absurdity aside, Racer Chaser is actually a fairly faithful homage to Pac-Man, almost feeling like one of those obscure Pac-Man spin-off games that were ubiquitous in the 2000s.
6 Woodgal’s Adventures
One of the most polished games in Arcade Paradise, Woodgal’s Adventure features a looping gameplay that could easily have hailed from the mobile app stores of the early 2010s. Most of Woodgal’s Adventure sees you traversing a Toejam & Earl-style overworld, fighting in battles with mechanics reminiscent of Candy Crush and his legion of mimics.
While Woodgal’s Adventure certainly doesn’t have the prettiest aesthetics of the games in Arcade Paradise, it ranks among the arcade’s best cabinets for its gameplay and overall polish.
5 cyber dance
Cyber Dance is perhaps the game most at odds with the arcade’s predominantly ’80s aesthetic, thanks to its resemblance to the late ’90s arcade phenomenon Dance Dance Revolution. However, any potential timeline issues Cyber Dance might cause are quickly forgiven. Finally, how to make an arcade tycoon game and not add a Dance Dance Revolution clone?
While it’s certainly a very cool game to have in your arcade (and a great moneymaker), the lack of Cyber Dance’s iconic dance pad peripherals puts a serious damper on the gameplay. It settles for a typical WASD/arrow key rhythm game with a DDR skin. Luckily, the nostalgia this skin inspires is still cool enough to make it on this list.
4 Vostok 2093
Vostok 2093 is Arcade Paradise’s only shoot ’em up, a safe yet satisfying homage to the classic arcade genre. It’s also a pretty good attitude towards it. The Galaga influence is everywhere and evident and not necessarily a bad thing. Waves of enemy aliens, special weapons, and bosses all appear in Vostok 2093, and all work to a great extent.
Vostok 2093’s biggest flaw is its genre. Shoot ’em ups have seen a huge boom in recent years. Anyone who’s played one of the excellent new additions to the genre will probably spend their time playing Vostok and wondering why they aren’t playing one of these better, standalone shoot ’em ups instead.
3 Space Race Simulator
Space Race Simulator is one of Arcade Paradise’s most insane homages, a racing game inspired by Sega’s Outrun. While Arcade Paradise’s take on ’80s arcade racing doesn’t have the non-linear progression and depth of the game it’s based on, it still delivers in the gameplay department.
The visual and audible presentation are incredibly tight, and the controls are faithful enough to plunge you into such deep nostalgia that you’ll google how much it would cost to bring an Outrun closet into your living room.
2 ankles & knees
Knuckles & Knees is a surprisingly fleshed out beat ’em up inspired by the Final Fight series. The relative depth and length of Arcade Paradise’s take on this classic arcade genre makes it the best traditional cabinet in the game.
Thanks to the incredible longevity of the Simpsons and TMNT beat ’em up cabinets that swept the world in the ’90s and 2000s, Knuckles & Knees is also in a unique position to instill nostalgia in some of Arcade Paradise’s younger players.
1 video air hockey
Video Air Hockey accompanies you from the very beginning of Arcade Paradise and is the perfect game to come back to from time to time even in the later hours of the game. Its remarkably simple graphics let it lean heavily into the realm of CRT screen nostalgia that Arcade Paradise creates when it’s at its best.
The choice to have Video Air Hockey available right at the start of the game is awesome. The ubiquitous presence of air hockey machines in arcades almost guarantees that playing video air hockey will remind you of your favorite arcade days and urge you to build your own arcade empire in their honor.
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