Roundabout: Review

On the surface this is a charming little puzzler with a bonkers conceit and a lovable 1977 B-movie aesthetic. But follow the action through for the main story's running time and you'll come out the other side appreciating a game that does what so few bother to do in this age of cinematic cutscenes and QTEs. Roundabout, you see, has a message to deliver. And it does so, wonderfully, in a way only a game can.

Let's shift into reverse gear for a second. Roundabout is ostensibly about the rise and fall (and possible rise?) of silent protagonist and revolving lady limo driver Georgio Manos. That's right, revolving. From a top down perspective you must guide her ever-rotating vehicle through tight car parks, busy thoroughfares and crowded shopping malls.

At first it's just chaos. You'll bound off road junctions, splatter pedestrians into jam and constantly, constantly explode with failure. A funny kind of failure, though. You'll never lose more than a few seconds of progress and the onus, when first ploughing through the story, is purely on forward momentum.

The story progresses as Georgio picks up more and more passengers, and with each punter there comes a quick-fire live-action movie. These madcap characters are delivered with just the right balance of terrible acting and comedic enthusiasm. You'll sigh at the corniness of it all, but also grin as you spot one of the cast failing to suppress a smirk out of character.Essentially you feel like you're in on a joke and that Roundabout is asking you to tag along for the ride regardless. And you will, because Georgio's limo takes you to some strange places.

There's substance abuse, revenge and, brilliantly, a love story which is refreshingly inclusive. Really, though, you'll take away one moment in particular. Towards the end of the main story, when you've finally got to grips with Georgio's driving, you're suddenly asked to drive 'normally'. Of course it's nigh impossible. Roundabout is all about accepting difference in others, and it uses the fact that it is a game to drive home that message. You'll come for the chaotic, though occasionally frustrating puzzles, but Georgio Manos is why you'll spin away satisfied.

Pleasingly chaotic, though often frustrating puzzles laced into an oddly moving narrative which only a game can weave. Also, it has a guy in it called Disco Sylvan. Pretend you're not intrigued.

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