Everybody’s Arcade Review—Everybody, Be Very Afraid
One of Sony’s in-house game development studios, Japan Studio, released a unique proposition for its launch PlayStation Mobile game. Everybody’s Arcade is a game package available for “free,” but of course, in life, nothing is free. There is a catch here, definitely.
Out of the five games included in the bundle, only one is free (but it isn’t, actually—more on that later), and that is Klondike, popularly known as solitaire. The one that was always included in your pre-smartphone cellular phones. Purchasing all of the five games will cost you $9.99. Individually, they are priced at $2.99 each. And for three games of your choosing, you shell out $6.99.
Here I will deviate from our normal game review format. I will review each and every game included in the package individually, since they are sold separately. Still, an overall review for the entire package is included at the bottom of this article.
Klondike is the only game in this bundle you can play right away. However, this is just the trial version that’s free. You can only play free Klondike up to five times or for 10 minutes, whichever comes first. If you buy this thing alone, it’s $2.99, and absolutely not worth that asking price at all. Klondike is nothing spectacular; it’s just solitaire, with nonexistent options. This gave me nightmares of 2010.
I like this one, and JeremyR might like this one. It’s poker, not Texas Hold ‘Em but the Draw poker variant. The reason I like this game is not because there is a bevy of options or because the graphics are orgasmic to the eyes. I just like this brand of poker. Still, at $2.99, I like you, but I don’t love you, so please go away.
I’m at a loss for words. I have nothing else to say. I can’t review a blackjack video game if it’s only a basic blackjack with nothing going on but a race to a hand value of 21. And on top of this, you can’t split your hand in two! Insurance side-betting is also omitted. Apparently, whoever made this game has no idea how blackjack is played.
Note: The three card games randomly hand out “missions” during sessions. With missions, you have to complete certain objectives like winning an x amount of chips within y time. If the criterion is met, you win a large amount of chips, and if not, a quarter of your chips is taken away from you. Is this gameplay addition worth the premium? Of course not.
This is a Japanese game at its very core with all its quirkiness. Refreshing! Pie-Throwing is Whac-A-Mole turned into a pie-throwing chaos. At first, you’ll be traumatized by the main menu, where the graphics are murky and stretched and it looks like a Mini being played on the Vita. But don’t worry; the game proper has apt graphics for the hardware.
There are three stages, Office, Train and School, with a crazy amount of targets, like the overzealous PE Teacher, the Office Bureaucrat and the Weirdo in the Train. They appear as soon as windows open (in the case of the School level, square openings in the blackboard) or from behind a platform (teacher’s table at the School, desk at the Office and something metal in the Train), in the Easy difficulty. In Normal, the windows may open but reveal nothing.
There is a fever meter that, if filled (it fills up as you hit more targets), will make the targets dance and pose in funny stances, all appearing at the same time so you can hit all the targets all at once. You can fill up the screen with four of your fingers (sometimes five) simultaneously, and the game will register your multi-touch inputs.
There are two other modes, one being Watch Out for the Bombs, where you cannot just throw pies frenetically because it may be bombs you’re throwing at. And then there is the specific target mode, where you are only meant to hit specified targets. Both of these modes are unlockables that can only be opened up with gold coins (explained later).
Refreshing! Book Arranging
Yes, you arrange books in this game. Yet this is a wonderful game, the best of the package. This is even one of the best PlayStation Mobile launch games. Too bad it is embedded into this awful package. Nevertheless, you arrange books in a bookshelf.
In Time Attack Mode, you try to arrange books in the shortest amount of time possible. There are four levels, based on number of books: 20, 30, 40, and 50 books to arrange, each set further divided into different subsets of books. You just have to arrange the volumes in numerical order, obviously, within the right subset.
The controls are wonderful; you have the option of “drag and drop” style or “touch style.” The latter allows you to touch a book (or a group of books) and drop it by touching the desired position. The former is exactly what it sounds like, dragging and dropping. And if you feel like, you can always use the hardware buttons!
There is also Endless Mode, where unlike Time Attack mode, it is not just organizing the books in numerical order but also arranging the messed-up pictures into…proper pictures. Endless Mode is somewhat like a puzzle mode, and the game itself actually calls this mode “quiz mode.” Only the Easy difficulty is available by default, as you need to unlock the further levels with the aforementioned gold coins.
There are other things, too, aside from assembling pictures. I once came across a puzzle where I had to arrange books on the Chinese zodiac according to their proper zodiac order. I was like, “WTF is this shizz!”, so I randomly swapped the books until I got the right combination. I forgot to mention, once at least two books of the correct order are adjacent, they lump together, forever, for easier swapping.
And also, there was one session where I had to arrange a color spectrum from red to green (being the color of the books laid on the shelf). Indeed, a sublime experience.
Everybody’s Arcade as a whole
At $9.99, Everybody’s Arcade is highway robbery, even with Refreshing! Book Arranging in the package. It’s just too expensive when the three card games are worth nothing but zero dollars. Meanwhile, buying only the Refreshing! games is disadvantageous. As mentioned earlier, there are gold coins handed out every now and then in order for you to unlock the other modes and levels. It is far too difficult to get these coins if you are playing solely one game. Also, I find it way easier to collect the gold coins with the card games.
This is the reason it took me so long to finish this review, because unlocking modes in the games I wanted to play pushed me to play the sh*t out of the games I didn’t want to play. Why? The gold coins are handed out randomly in every session. The Refreshing! games take too much time to trigger a random event. The card games are played within short sessions, so the percentage per unit of time was in my favor.
Naturally, the card games are much easier to repeatedly play. The Refreshing! games are too much of a chore if you are playing the same mode again and again and again with the purpose of unlocking content instead of enjoying the actual game!
However, the biggest issue of this package is (forgive me): F*CK*NG SH*T, SONY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? You can’t play anything in Everybody’s Arcade if you are not connected to the Internet. Yes, you’re already nickel-and-diming people with this sort of packaging, Sony, but with this sh*tty design of locking me out of games I own (technically, these are Chris’ games, but nonetheless I had a hard time reviewing them, because for the past few months, my ISP went nuts on me), this is just unforgivable.
So if you are thinking of purchasing this title, first ignore my ratings for each and every game and decide if you want to play a game that you can’t play if you are not connected to the Internet. You can’t play these games while commuting or in areas where there are no Wi-Fi connections. If you have a 3G Vita or PlayStation Certified smartphone, this won’t matter, maybe. But for those with regular Vitas, don’t fall for this embezzlement.
Again, I rated the individual games on their gameplay alone. But with the “no Internet = no play” architecture of Everybody’s Arcade, all of these games are a worthless scam.