Your name is Giorgio Manos. Sporting red hair, a light blue suit and white gloves, your profession: limousine driver. You pick up passengers and deliver them to their respective destinations for cash, but there’s a twist… literally. You don’t just drive the way your wheels are pointing (what would be the point in that?), your limousine is constantly spinning while you attempt to navigate around the town ‘Roundabout’.
There are plenty of both static and dynamic obstacles to negotiate whenever you’re behind the wheel. These include: trees, roundabouts, buildings, other cars, people… yes, it is one of those games where not only is running over people not discouraged, there is a financial incentive – earning cents at a time and building a multiplier up for chains of hit and runs.
So what makes this game different to classic games like Carmageddon or Driver? Surprisingly, it is the story and the way it is portrayed. Set in 1977 America, and deliberately in the style of a cheesy B-movie, Roundabout is not for those looking for a serious gaming experience (if that wasn’t clear enough already). Cutscenes are shot in real-life and deliberately poorly acted, contributing to the humorous plot developments that unravel as you complete more missions.
Your customers include school kids looking for a rampaging joyride, a shady mechanic trying to help you become the best rotating limo driver in Roundabout, a corrupt businessman and my favourite, a skeleton named Jeffrey – who of course takes part in triathlons – “because it’s the taking part that counts” (one of your tasks is to run over the entire competition because he is losing).
If the main story missions become too repetitive, you can participate in optional challenges such as Baseball – a time-trial around town, running over as many people as possible and avoiding weaponised cars falling out the sky for as long as possible. Along with the main missions, your score is posted to an online leaderboard – giving you some incentive to repeat and become the world’s best at “rotating limousine keepie-uppies”.
However, this game is not without its negatives. The main issue is the respawning element. The limousine you drive is fragile, and while the game gives you a changeable upgrade to improve your driving ability in certain situations, it can only endure a handful of hits before exploding. When not on a mission, this takes you back to the nearest garage which can make travelling to the next mission quite frustrating.
To summarise, this game is good fun. It definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously and the main mechanic is very unique and quite challenging. The story is definitely entertaining but some of the subplots are difficult to follow considering the similarities between tasks – taking person X from A to B. But my advice? Give it a whirl.