Time for a choose your own adventure in the futuristic world of retro arcade gaming with Arcade Spirits, available now on Steam!
What's it about?
Set in an alternate future in the year 20XX (it's up to you to decide the actual date), Arcade Spirits is a visual novel that follows the story of you, a person down on their luck and in need of a job.
A visual novel is typically a text-based story video game. You follow a story, interact with characters and the environment, and then make decisions on how you want to proceed. Your decisions will help shape what happens next in the game. Do you like reading? Great! Here's a story you can read and control at the same time.
As the main character of the story, you work through a string of bad luck and bad family history after ending up at what initially appears to be a quick paycheck as a floor attendant at an old family-owned arcade. After making friends with the employees, regular gamers and a few others along the way, you realize a dream to help turn the arcade into a thriving business. A second aspect of the game involves working on your relationships with the people you meet, allowing you the chance to try and romance someone.
How's the gameplay?
Ahh, finally a game where I don't have stress about actions per minute! Since this game is a visual novel you have to read, you can go at your own pace. Arcade Spirits is divided into 8 chapters, appropriately titled "levels," which focus on a particular aspect of the story at the time. The game doesn't take place entirely in an arcade. I traveled to the beach, an old mansion, a convention and a few other locations, which would be spoilers so you'll have to find out on your own.
The actual mechanics of the game involve lots of left-clicking with your mouse to progress dialogue and choose options.
Three favorite things?
1) You can save your progress at any point in the game. Look, we're all busy and it's hard to find good chunks of time to play multiple games. That's why I'm much more likely to chop away at a game when I can save at any point. The fact that I didn't have to wait to hit a save point is a big bonus for me.
2) This is the first game in modern gaming I've encountered that's inclusive right off the bat. When you create your character, you can choose to be referred to as he, she, or they. Since this game does involve romance, you're also able to work on romantic relationships with any character, regardless of gender. I appreciated that Arcade Spirits has a general feel of acceptance and friendship.
3) Your decisions can shape the future of the rest of the game. I had an opportunity to take over the social media presence for the arcade, but since I do online marketing in real life, I wanted nothing to do with handling social media in a video game. Digital marketing was only brought up briefly one other time during my game play. I don't know if it would have been more prevalent had I chosen to run the social media accounts. At the end of the game, some of the characters I didn't spend as much time on probably had different outcomes than if I had become better friends with them.
Arcade Spirits was a relaxing way to spend my weekend. It took about 7 hours to complete the main story, although according to my Steam account I only finished 48% of achievements on the first run through, so there's a replay factor if you like to work on achievements.
This visual novel was a light-hearted game with fun background music and a nice dose of arcade nostalgia that made me want to hunt down the nearest pinball machine for a night of fun. And, as a bonus, if you play through the entire game, you'll learn why it's called Arcade Spirits!
Arcade Spirits is out now on Steam! Pick it up today!
Disclaimer: Thank you to the folks at PQube for providing me a review copy! All opinions about Arcade Spirits are my own. I played through all 8 levels of this game for my review.
Arcade Spirits was developed by Fiction Factory Games and published by PQube.