Arcade Paradise Review: Building an Empire One Quarter at a Time

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If you've ever dreamed of owning your very own video game cabinet colosseum, Arcade Paradise is a game that can help you (virtually) bring that dream to life.

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This oddly endearing management sim took me by surprise when I first booted it up and started playing. With 2022 offering up one of the rougher video game release calendars that I can remember, it offers games like Arcade Paradise the chance to really show up and impress. Here are my thoughts on the game!

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Cleaning Rags to Making Bank

Arcade Paradise starts off with quite an interesting premise. You take on the role of Ashley, someone who has been left to run their father's laundromat as a life lesson in how to world works.

arcade paradise signage

Your father, who just happens to be voiced by Doug Cockle (Geralt of Rivia), hasn't exactly kept up with the times and despite having stuffed a small arcade in the back of the laundromat, refuses to believe it's a worthwhile investment despite it bringing in strong revenue!

So, your goals are very clear from the start. You're out to prove your father wrong and create an incredible Arcade Paradise for your local gamers! How you do this exactly is very much down to personal strategy and preference.

Retro Renaissance

The early stages of Arcade Paradise include some of the most strangely addictive gameplay I've ever experienced. You'll clean up rubbish, wash and sry people's clothes and collect coins from your machines. That's it, yet it's such a satisfying cycle because of how each task has been gamified.

toilet cleaning minigame arcade paradise
Not all the tasks are fun, some are pretty crap.
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There are fun minigames for cleaning chewing gum, the toilet and even throwing the trash into the bin outside. This helps numb the pain of performing such menial tasks. Each task will reward you with income based on how well you perform so it's an added reward incentive to keep on top of the general cleanliness of your laundromat/arcade.

It won't take long for you to be introduced to the business side of the game and this is where things can get a little hectic early on. As you're shown how to purchase new machines and even expand your space, the prime income is still through the laundromat.

This means to need to balance completing the basic tasks in the laundromat on time to earn maximum income while also making sure your arcade business is thriving. This can be tricky and feel a little grindy early on but this feeling only lasted for one or two hours at most.

arcade paradise upgrades
Watching your empire grow is very satisfying

As the game progresses, you'll unlock more features within the game, the most helpful being the to-do list. This sets daily tasks with a monetary goal up for grabs. Some will be focused on the laundromat and others on the arcade but most of them are fun and can often be quite challenging.

The most important aspect of any management sim that Arcade Paradise gets right, is that it settles into a nice rhythm early on while still teaching you the more nuanced aspects of the game without teaching you like an idiot. There is a level of freedom in this game that is just so relaxing despite the goals at hand seeming quite overwhelming at times.

arcade paradise new cabinet arrical
When a new cabinet arrives the game makes it feel special!
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No Shortage of Charm

Once you're past the initial hump of how to earn steady money, you can start to really commit yourself to the arcade business. There are cool little ways you can increase the income for a single arcade machine. This may be changing the difficulty of the game, placing it near another cabinet that meshes well with its genre or even playing the game yourself to complete certain milestones and increase the popularity of the machine.

arcade paradise game screenshot
There is no shortage of fun arcade games to play!

Each arcade cabinet I purchased and played on contained a super fun experience and each machine is a callback to games of the past. Arcade Paradise has been developed with such loving attention to detail and passion for the '90s arcade scene.

Even the little PDA you use as an options menu and way of managing the arcade is such a nice little touch.

arcade paradise daily goals

On multiple occasions I found myself beaming when taking on a game of Stack Overflow or getting far too invested in a round of Racer Chaser. It's easy to just get lost in the sea of brilliant and engaging games that Arcade Paradise offers up and it adds to the excitement of purchasing a new machine because you can just straight into it once it arrives the next day.

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Verdict

I loved my time with Arcade Paradise. For a smaller title, its content is unreal with the quirky minigames and tons of arcade cabinets to play. The overall story is well structured and makes you want to succeed so bad!

Yes, it got a little grindy at times if business stalled but that doesn't detract too much from the overall experience. I can see myself still revisiting this game this time next year and still having just as much fun as I did reviewing it.

Arcade Paradise
Arcade Paradise is a charming and incredibly fun management sim that has clearly been made with nothing but love for a bygone era. While it has its grindy moments, the overall experience is one well worth the price of admission.
PC
Xbox Series X/S
PS5
Nintendo Switch

A code for Arcade Paradise was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.