Button City Review
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The Button City Review
Sometimes a game wears its influences on its sleeve. When Button City opened with a backdrop that came straight from a 90s arcade carpet, but with a little more pastel and a little less ultraviolet, I definitely knew where I was standing. The joke was ultimately on me, as the game seems to have as much to do with 80s movie styles as it does 90s arcade culture. Either way, you know you’re in for a trip down memory lane the moment you turn on the game and check your calendar to make sure you didn’t fall into a wormhole at some point.
Button City is a cute adventure game that tells the story of a boy named Fennal who moves to a new city and spends his whole summer playing games instead of going out and making friends. On a trip outside, he comes across the local arcade and makes a new group of friends, only to discover that the arcade will be bought by a wealthy ’80s movie villain. up It’s up to you and the other kids in town to team up and do what you can to avoid closing the coolest place to hang out in town, tackling some of the childhood foibles along the way.
Gameplay-wise, Button City is mostly a 3D adventure game where all the characters are blocky little chibi animals and usually named after different herbs. You walk through small 3D environments in your new town, solving puzzles and talking to other characters to advance the plot. Since the story revolves around an arcade, you better believe that there are some arcade-style minigames involved as well. 3 to be exact. A 4 player affair that is a bit like a MOBA but with only 1 map, a racing game with basic controls and again a single map, and a rhythm game that is insanely difficult to play until you get used to it.
The story of Button City puts players in the role of Fennel, a video game-obsessed fox new to the city, adorably innocent and extremely excited to belong. One morning while he is picking up a sandwich for his mother, he discovers that this strange new town he’s been dropped into has an arcade known as ‘Button City’. Naturally, our protagonist is irresistibly drawn to this interactive wonderland and forgets about his mother’s lunch. Within its colorful, neon, electrically charged walls, he comes into contact with a group of kids calling themselves “The Fluff Squad,” and the real game begins. A game that is essentially a children’s-themed life story that harks back to classic films like The Sandlot and No More Baths, in which a group of seemingly unrelated neighborhood kids get together and accidentally set off on a wild adventure-filled summer.
The game is presented from a child innocence perspective where it seems like the biggest problem of the kids is that they might not win a tournament for their favorite arcade game. That perspective is betrayed – in a good way – by a sombre undertone that outlines both the overarching plot and the subplots very early on. As the game puts an end to this oft-overlooked side of childhood up ultimately handled superbly, the journey to that satisfying payout has been filled with a few occasions of rushed side stories and world-building. While not all versions of the game about the dark side of childhood fall flat, and in fact most of the offerings are pretty well done, there are a few that are presented so hastily that it almost seems like they’re out of a checklist and shoehorn in.
But overall, the story on offer here is about as heartwarming and enjoyable as a story about young anthropomorphic gamer kids going on summer adventures, but could be. That is, learn about Button City’s world and characters are definitely worth the shortcomings a few subplots of the title can have.
Button City also has a certain morality to it, and it does so without shoving it down your throat. During the main story, you’ll learn about the impact of litter and the benefits of upcycling, and it’s a nice touch for the younger gamers. For the older generation, there are moments of genuine poignancy and more mature stories. These elements are likely to be obscured by younger players, but will stand out to older people and provide moments of reflection. For example, the looks between Fennel and his mother point to something much deeper that younger players are unlikely to choose up On.
Without a doubt, the best character in the game is Chives. She’s a sarcastic bunny who loves to tinker with technology and constantly makes sardonic comments about everything that’s going on. While she definitely takes some getting used to, she’s usually the one who will make the player laugh. Another important character in the storyline is Mr. Buttons, the arcade owner who is honestly one of the most endearing parts of the game. He is always nice to the kids in his arcade and goes through an emotional upheaval throughout the story that makes you really empathize with them.
The reason these characters are worth talking about is that they are the emotional ones heart and soul of Button City. That’s not to say that other things in the game don’t strike a chord, for example the relationship between Fennel and his mother, but their characters have arcs that require resolution or character revelations that feel important. A lot of the other character moments feel a little rushed, or at the very least blown by as you approach the end of the game.
Speaking of the end, Button City is not an incredibly long game. You can finish the story in just a few hours, even if you decide to choose up the side missions. Not only is it a little short, but the ending feels like it’s a little abrupt for me. Just when everything feels like it’s coming to a dramatic end, the great evil is dealt with and all the issues resolved and the credits roll in minutes. On the plus side, the ending too features the funniest meta-joke in the entire game and the only one that made me laugh so hard my whole street wondered what was going on.
The main locale in the game is Button City itself. This arcade is the favorite hangout for the neighborhood kids and as such it becomes the starting point for some of the biggest mischief that preteens can muster without adult supervision. There are three playable mini-games in the arcade: a racing game, a rhythm game and an action-battle game called Gobabots. The latter is the most popular game in the arcade, and for good reason: this fruit-themed mecha game plays something like a slower-paced Custom Robo — albeit with a lot less customization. Although it is without a doubt the best and most elaborated minigame Button City has to offer I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is very complex. Despite its simplicity, its satisfying combat loop and myriad characters to collect, it jumps way above the rest of the arcade’s minigames, which are for the most part one-off affairs.
While it would have been nice to have more minigames to play, the ones here are pretty damn fun, and Gobabots in particular has quite a bit of replayability well into the postgame. Speaking of the postgame, I mentioned before how short the main story of the game is, and while it is indeed quite short, there is a fair amount of content to experience long after the main plot comes to an end. From collecting more Gobabots and cosmetics to helping Fennel’s new neighbors and friends with side quests and errands, there’s no reason to stop hitting buttons once Button The city’s credits have been rolled up.
A final important here are the images and music for the game. Each area you can visit is surrounded by a square or rectangle that floats in a pastel blue void. Most of the colors are pastel by the way, but that really suits the aesthetic design of everything. The characters’ edges are soft to the touch, and they’re usually made up of very few polygons. This game probably would have been fit for the PS1 or N64 era if it weren’t for the crisp HD resolution. The music is a perfect accompaniment for this too, usually with lots of laid-back music making the game quite relaxing. Unless heavy metal yoga is involved, then it all gets a bit crazier.
Giving the art style and aesthetic Button City an undeniable charm in combination with the writing. All characters are named after herbs and spices and designed as anthropomorphic animals in a world that is sickly sweet, saccharine, bright and colorful. It’s low poly but retains that cartoonish look and is a really unique looking game.
The main story of Button City only lasts about six hours, but the world lives on after completion, so you can complete the remaining side missions and continue exploring the world. These themselves can take about the same amount of time to find and complete and it’s a world you’ll want to explore long after conclusion. A lot of Button City’s achievements are also tied to completing these side activities and collecting the various rewards associated with them.
main narrative, Button City is first class. It’s a charming throwback to ’90s cartoons that kids and big kids will enjoy in equal measure. Both Gobabots and rEvolution Racer are decent minigames in their own right, but there’s too much reliance on fetch missions to move the story forward. It is after the linear first hour of Button City where the game starts up, with a lot to discover and fully immerse yourself in.
Wrap up Button City Review
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