Arcade Paradise VR plays great on the Quest 3 but the lack of fully immersive controls may turn people off


Arcade Paradise was a charming management/simulation game set in an old laundrette. In it, the player had to complete menial tasks in order to earn enough cash to build an awesome 90s video game arcade at the back of the building in an attempt to prove themselves to their cranky dad.

The wonderful Chris Donlan, who reviewed the game for us in 2022 called Arcade Paradise a «quirky slice-of-life that will transport you back into the past», which is totally spot on, but, thanks to the magic of VR, that feeling of transportation will get even stronger this Spring when Arcade Paradise VR releases for the Quest 2 & 3!

While there’s no set release date for it yet, eager arcade owners can watch me take a preview build of Arcade Paradise VR for a spin (geddit?) on the Quest 3 in this week’s episode of VR Corner. And it all kicks off with a close up of a massive poo smear in the bowl of a toilet. You’re welcome!

Cover image for YouTube video

The idea of Arcade Paradise in VR is a pretty awesome one — you get to build your own arcade and then wander around it, playing on the games you’ve earned through your own hard work, at your leisure. Unfortunately, in practice, the way Nosebleed Interactive has chosen to do this will almost definitely be a turn off for VR enthusiasts who value immersion over everything else.

What do I mean by that? Well, in terms of motion controls, you can do most of the things you’d expect in the laundrette section of the game. Pick up baskets of clothes, physically load those clothes into machines and then turn dials and press buttons to switch them on. You can pick up litter with ‘Force-grab’ powers and you can even clean a toilet with a bog brush. When it comes to the Arcade section of the game, arguably the most interesting section however, that’s when the immersive controls take a bit of a nose dive.

You see, while you might expect to be able to grab the joyticks and press the buttons on your hard earned arcade cabs in order to play the games, in actuality the lion’s share of Arcade’s wonderful little machines can only be played using the thumbsticks and buttons on your motion controllers. No inserting coins manually, no joystick wiggling, no button mashing, just standard gamepad style controls.

The lack of fully immersive controls for all cabinets is definitely disappointing but at least the game looks great on the Quest 3. I love playing them and seeing the CRT scan lines and the reflections of the lights above me on the screen. These things really add that important feeling of ‘being there’.

Now, I come from the camp of people who just appreciate being able to experience games from a VR viewpoint — it’s why I love Luke Ross’ VR mods so much. Some people hate the fact that you can only play his mods with a gamepad but I don’t mind in the slightest. I like to sit back, relax and play a VR game like a console game. You know, just chill and enjoy the visual immersion without having to work up a sweat, tire my legs out or accidentally leave the skin of one of my knuckles on a wall.

Arcade Paradise VR sits in the middle of these two types of experiences. I definitely lost a bit of knuckle skin to my computer desk loading the washing machines, but at the same time all the base arcade games you own are ‘gamepad’ style controls only. This lack of fully immersive arcade cabinets is evident from the start of the game and it took me a good two of hours of play time to be able to afford a couple of the machines that were motion control compatible.

Thankfully, the speed in which you unlock these ‘fully immersive’ VR games should be different in the full release, so you won’t need to grind as hard as I did (or brush as many toilets as I needed to) to reach the good stuff.

According to Sam Clay, a Producer at Wired, who I spoke to about my concerns, «the preview build isn’t the final experience and the order in which the player unlocks items, including cabinets, will change for launch. Also we are tweaking and balancing the games economy as we are well aware that in VR the average playtime will be different from a non VR experience.

I love the mixed reality mode in Arcade Paradise. Being able to place arcade cabinets in your real-world space and then wander around and play on them is a fantastic use of the tech.

Hopefully these changes will come as a little bit of good news to those players who were hoping that the entire contents of their virtual arcade would have been fully immersive. Even then though, the machines which do offer fully immersive controls do seem to be rather rudimentary. The only one I had time to unlock was called UFO Assault and the controls for that boiled down to just one big red button that you hit in order to drop bombs.

Other fully immersive machines shown off in Arcade Paradise VR’s gameplay trailer include things like light gun shooters, a basketball hoop game, a punching game and a Whack-a-Mole machine. Hardly the interactive video game arcade machines I think people were hoping for, but at least they’ll allow motion control lovers the chance to get physical and these types of machines are accurate to the time period that the game is set in.

I had a lot of fun with Arcade Paradise VR, I really like it and I would have played lots more if time wasn’t against me when it came to producing this coverage. It does transport you back into the past in a magical way and it feels great to wander around the laundrette and arcade areas in VR — especially once you unlock your first extension and get to walk on one of those classic 90s arcade carpets.

But will others enjoy it as much as me? Casual VR users should be fine with it but in all honesty, I think VR purists are going to be really disappointed by Arcade Paradise VR. Even when there are fully immersive controls they look to be basic at best and the fact that you can’t even do something simple like waggle a virtual joystick in your virtual video game arcade seems like a massive missed opportunity.


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