Arcade Paradise Review (Xbox Series X)

How about we meet halfway, half laundromat half arcade?

Released: August 11, 2022
Available on: Xbox/Steam/Consoles
Genre: Business Sim
Developer: Nosebleed Interactive
Publisher: Wired Productions

Not going to lie, I was kind of drawn to this game because I was lucky enough to be a kid when arcades were still around and my mom would go to a laundromat to do laundry and of course will take me with her considering how long it takes. I don’t miss going to laundromats, but I do miss going to arcades and playing my favorite cabinets. Growing up my family wasn’t well off, but there was a nickel arcade that I loved going to since you get way more plays for one dollar than other arcades where a play cost 25 cents minimum. One of my favorite cabinets was a spider one called Spider Stompin’ (I don’t remember if it was the regular or deluxe version though). Back on topic, though, I recently played Arcade Paradise and I’d like to talk about it.

Set during the 90s, Arcade Paradise has you playing as a young woman named Ashley who recently dropped out of business school. Ashley’s dad, upset and disappointed that Ashley only got half a degree, pushes her to manage one of his businesses called King Wash. Which is a laundromat if you didn’t already guess. He actually forgot about King Wash and calls it a dump, but he uses this to teach you a lesson on the real world and responsibility. And if you manage to turn King Wash around, it’s a double win for him. After getting a little tutorial through the phone, as your dad doesn’t even come back from his vacation to guide you, Ashley finds a key. This opens the back room, which holds a couple arcade cabinets as well as your office. This is also where you first talk to Ashley’s sister Lesley through a chat window and learn that their dad put Lesley as the manager years ago and she was the one to put in the arcades. Their dad hated the idea, which is strange considering you usually see pinball machines at laundromats, but she got them anyway so customers will have something to do. Luckily, they all still work and emptying the hoppers (or the part that holds the coins people put in the cabinets) reveal they haven’t been emptied for a while and collectively include a small fortune.

This small arcade room gives Ashley the idea to not only buy more cabinets, but a hint of a future where the arcade cabinets make more money than the laundromat side. The dad predictably shuts it down, but Ashley and Lesley decide to stick it to their dad. Ashley aims to not just increase the space of the arcade back room, but to eventually convert the entirety of King Wash into an arcade. Ashely will work to keep the place clean and profitable so she can buy new cabinets and upgrades and Lesley will handle permits, paperwork, and giving us a discount on contractors. There’s a long road ahead of Ashley, but at least their dad won’t do surprise visits since he’s on vacation and eventually all she’ll have to do is sit back and let the money roll in rather than do other people’s laundry.

While the story here is mainly to frame why you’re here and the reason why you start at a laundromat place with a small arcade backroom, you do get some more small story segments every time you hit a milestone. You have some twists to look forward to, but you mainly do get more insight about the dad and his relationship with his daughters. I’m sure you’re meant to hate him, considering what he does, did, and this game does seem like a cathartic project for the developers, but in some aspects, I find myself siding with him. Like communities will always need laundromats (plus I can’t help but remember how there’s hardly any arcades still open). I also did get a feeling he does care about his daughters and want them to be successful adults, but he doesn’t pick the best actions to do and forces them into professions they don’t want to do.

Still, he really should have ended his vacation early to help Ashley, even though it would have made the conversion harder to do it would have showed that he does care, and not instantly shoot down the idea.

Arcade Paradise

Arcade Paradise’s gameplay is as you’d probably expect, having you spend time in the sim aspect and playing the arcade games of cabinets you have. Every day starts with Ashley arriving at work bright (doubtful) and early at 8am. Starting out, you’ll be in the laundromat side. While there is a small passive income with people doing their own laundry, there are some that pays for you to do their laundry. I don’t think the game gives it a name, but I know a local laundromat by me does this and calls it drop-offs. All you basically need to do is put it in the washer, wait until it’s done (3 minutes), put it in the dryer, wait until it dries (3 minutes), and deliver it on the folding table. You do get graded by how fast you transfer wet clothes to the dryer and dry clothes to the folding tables. How much you’re paid depends on the grading you get. A little tip here is to wait until you have three baskets waiting and then put them all in so you don’t have different times on all of the loads (giving you more time to play the games early on or when you have a task).

Once the arcade gets up and running, you can just ignore the laundromat side other than to empty the hopper. At this point, you’ll basically just be playing the games. On your PDA you can see a how-to-play section, the leaderboards (if it has any), goals for you to aim for, and the machine’s settings where you determine how hard it is and how much it costs. I don’t think it changes difficulty for us the player, but it does affect how much it makes in an hour and you have to find which setting gives you the most earnings. You can raise the popularity of the cabinet by playing it and completing its goals as well as putting it by more popular cabinets (though I never did the latter as you can’t see popularity on the blueprint). So if you want to make more money, this is your extrinsic motivation.

As you progress through the game, you’ll use the money you get to buy more arcade cabinets and to expand the space so you have more room for even more cabinets for you and your customers to play. The arcade cabinets reference real world cabinets and whether or not you’ll enjoy them will depend from person to person. There’s Cyber Dance, basically DDR; Stack Overflow, where you stack boxes against the clock and was one of my favorites; Baraonoid, another favorite of mine and is a block breaker game; classics like air hockey and pool; and many more. There are 35 cabinets and there are more available as DLC.

Once you get your first backroom expansion, the game does open up in terms of giving you more goals and upgrades. You get three To Do tasks to do each day and doing them will give you £10-20. The game is frames this as your dad giving you these tasks, but considering most of them have you playing the various games it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You can then use this currency to buy upgrades which can range from having chores not pop up as much, getting new shoes so you can run, and even hiring another teenager to empty out all the arcade cabinet hoppers for you. Some upgrades are more helpful than others.

Aside from letting the money rake in and playing arcade minigames, there are a couple chores you’ll do throughout the whole game. Sometimes you need to unclog the toilet, trash spawns everyday (or almost if you have the upgrade) for you to pick up and when your garbage bag fills up you throw it into the dumpster like a basketball, three globs of gum will spawn for you to pick off (gross, but at least you get money), and sometimes arcade cabinets can break down and you’ll need to fix them by *gag* flicking cockroaches off of its motherboard. You do also need to empty hoppers before they get full, but I’m not sure whether or not this counts as a chore. Doing these chores will grant you money once you complete them, which is a small plus. Some supposedly have punishments for not doing them, like trash lowering your reputation and broken cabinets not being able to bring passive income. I didn’t leave trash long enough to see if it did affect it, but sometimes I did end up missing the notification for a cabinet was broken. I didn’t notice the day’s income being lower when this happened though.

King Wash closes at 11pm (15 hours and it’s just Ashley, wow), but you can stay until 2am to complete whatever you need to do. Of course, you won’t get any passive income after closing hours and you can end the day by interacting with the bus stop. However, once it hits 2am you can’t interact with anything and at 3am you pass out if you don’t make it to the bus stop. It’s pretty annoying not being able to do things after 2am. I get not letting you start an arcade minigame, but I feel the game should at least let you empty hoppers and take out clothes from the dryer (especially since drop offs end at 9pm and if you do it, it finishes drying at 2am-ish). If you are playing an arcade cabinet before 2am hits, you do get to stay on it until you exit out, which is nice when you’re trying to do a task. Surprisingly you don’t get any penalties for passing out, as I was at least expecting Ashley to sleep in and arrive later causing you to get less passive income.

I did wish that there was some more customization other than deciding what pre-determined place the arcades go in, like what carpeting you have. I also did wish the laundromat part was fleshed out more to where you can choose to invest in it so we have a choice to go full in on an arcade or doing a half arcade half laundromat. You know how much I wanted to buy an upgrade to at least make the laundry part not look all dingy? A lot! Even getting shiny washer and dryers by doing the Konami code secret made a difference.

I understand why the laundry part was made to be boring forever, as the game really wants you to be all about doing an arcade, but I more wanted to meet the dad halfway. Plus I guess I’m the type of player that stuck with it rather than immediately toss it aside like you’re supposed to. If you stick to doing laundry longer than you should, it becomes too boring (even if you’re listening to podcasts) and might lead you to dropping the game. In fact, I almost dropped it (going so far as to uninstall the game) until I saw that the developers’ responses on how you’re supposed to ignore doing laundry and gave it another chance. And considering I completed the game and writing this review…you can guess that it worked at making it too boring anymore.

Arcade Paradise

I did run into a couple bugs as well. I had one instance where the screen froze (I believe I pressed pause/PDA too soon after fixing a cabinet), two separate instances where a piece of trash couldn’t be picked up until the save was reloaded, and there were some To Do tasks that wouldn’t track my progress. Or didn’t fully track it as I did get a task to have 6 loads trying at the same time, but it didn’t count the last one because it wasn’t in one of the dryers on the wall like the others were. After I fully converted King Wash into an arcade, I did also get a task to do laundry. Other than that, I did encounter some other issues. I did find it hard to find trash in the dark arcade section, some arcade minigame controls are poor (cough air hockey), some how-to-play poorly explain how to play or leave out something important (like how to win at darts), and the jukebox completely overpowers the audio when you turn it on. I did also think some To Do tasks weren’t worth doing, like the Zombat tasks that has you kill a certain amount of enemies with a weapon other than the pistol, SMG, or shotgun as it’s hard to stay alive let alone work up to getting the required weapon for a measly £10.

I do hope this game is still receiving patches to fix bugs or any other issues. I did end up getting to the credits, but when I was thinking about dropping Arcade Paradise, it was mainly because of the bugs I encountered with the To Do tasks.

Also, can I add that I was slightly disappointed that this game didn’t have one of those laundry carts with that bar that doubled as a handle and a place for you to hang your coat hangers on.

To end this on a good note, I did like the ambiance, how Ashley decorated the arcade, some of the arcade minigames are pretty cool (especially a particular one), and it’s pretty cool that they made posters for all the arcade cabinets.


Arcade Paradise has me conflicted. On one hand, early game is quite boring, I wished the laundromat section was more fleshed out, I didn’t like the arcade minigames enough, and I do side with the dad somewhat; but at the same time I do side with Ashley and Lesley on some things, the game does get better when you start to ignore the laundromat, and I did end up finishing the game to the credits (even though I could have easily dropped the game instead). So, I guess I’d put this as a maybe recommendation wise. You’ll get the most out of this game if you end up liking at least half of the arcade games to the point where you want to do all of the goals. Otherwise, it really depends if you’re willing to toss away the laundromat half in favor of the arcade half.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *