Goodbye To The Friends I Had 

HIGH Colorful, low-poly visuals.

LOW It’s a bit slow to start. 

WTF Gogbots would never catch on in real life! 

The summer is winding down now and kids everywhere are returning to school. Seeing crowds of people go crazy at Target and Wal-Mart as they pick up supplies is funny since I haven’t been to public school in over five years. While that end-of-summer rush is something I don’t look back on fondly, I do miss the carefree days of sitting around and playing video games during the break. Button City let me relive those carefree summer moments and took me back to a time where I wasn’t bogged down by things like crippling depression and loads of work to get through.

Players control Fennel, a young fox who loves video games and has just moved to a new town with his mom. Worried that her child will be cooped up inside throughout the summer, she encourages him to go out and make some friends. 

Button City’s story oozes a wholesome charm that is complemented by its visual style. Characters are rendered in a bright, colorful, low-poly way, reminding me of the Nintendo 64’s visuals. The fixed isometric camera angle feels appropriate and each of the main areas is displayed in a way similar to a diorama.

The gameplay is divided into two sections. One half is a light social sim in which Fennel travels to different parts of the map to talk to other characters and help them complete tasks. These range from things like delivering a sandwich to his mom to handing out flyers for a rock show. It starts a bit slow thanks to loads of text the player has to read, but I fell in love with the characters I was talking to, like a young woman working a food stand. Every character has a distinct personality and I loved learning about everyone.

The other half is where the titular Button City comes in. There’s an arcade of the same name where the local children hang out to play videogames. Here, tplayers can jump into one of three minigames and earn rewards for doing so.

The main game, Gobabots, is a bizarre, isometric actioner. In it, players use physical figures called Gobabots, each with different abilities and attributes. The goal is to collect fruit in an arena and make a large smoothie in the center of the battlefield while the other team is trying to hinder their progress. 

It’s a bit silly and simplistic, though I found myself trying to collect all the figures I could, which was either done through story missions or simply buying them at the arcade gift counter. The other two minigames offer racing and rhythm, respectively.

Gobabots is definitely the most fleshed out thanks to its prominence in the story as well as having a bit more variety in its gameplay. The racing game, rEVolution Racer, was pretty solid despite its short length, thanks to challenging gameplay and solid drifting mechanics. It felt like a wonderful love letter to arcade racers of the past.

Overall, Button City‘s slow start and lack of overall variety in the minigames might not be for everybody. Those who have been longing to relive their youthful summer days, however, can do worse than this one. Its charming story, adorable characters and entertaining minigames do a solid job of reminding us all to take a minute and remember the good times.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published by Wings Interactive and developed by Subliminal. It is currently available on PS4, PS5, XBX/S, XBO, Switch, iOS, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 8  hours were spent in the single-player and multiplayer modes and the game was completed.

Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated E for Mild Fantasy Violence. There is nothing objectionable here, though one of the arcade games does involve fighting robots. 

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles and on-screen instructions can be adjusted and audio is not needed to enjoy this game, thanks to the abundance of visual cues. This game is perfectly accessible. 

Remappable Controls: Yes, the controls are remappable and there is a control diagram. 

Cj Salcedo
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