The VideoKid reimagines the 1985 arcade classic Paperboy, placing you in the role of the titular VideoKid, as you hop on your skateboard and deliver VHS tapes through a 1980s neighbourhood bustling with pop culture references. With two buttons and one goal; to reach your girlfriend Jessica at the end of the level, VideoKid’s concept and controls are simple, yet traversing its hectic, obstacle strewn street is immensely challenging.
Delivering VHS tapes and picking up coins earns you cash, while chaining together tricks and triggering environmental events score you points. However, the main appeal of progressing, beyond accumulating money and a highscore, are seeing the huge variety of 1980s references the game world has to offer. Whether dodging Arnie’s Terminator as he strides along the sidewalk, kickflipping over any number of iconic vehicles, from Kit to the Ghostbuster’s ECTO, as they speed down the street, or skating through TMNT’s sewer, every meter of street is crammed full of nostalgic nods to the 80s.
Progress can be hard, and with so much happening on-screen at once, any lapse in concentration or delay in reflexes will often spell death. Instant restarts make the one-more-go nature of the game incredibly compulsive, and your increasing knowledge of the level’s layout urges you to urk out a bit more progress with each attempt. This game formula is addictive and fun but can easily lead to frustration. During my few dozen runs the furthest I managed was 62% completion, and while I am tentative to persist, a determination for success and a desire to see every single 80s reference spurs me forth.
A bright, bold 3D pixel art style brings this world to life, with each minimalist rendition of an 80s character being instantly recognisable. Savant’s suitably 80s synth soundtrack enhances the arcade feel and adds an invigorating rhythm to gameplay. An in-game store allows you to buy new outfits, many of which themselves are references to 80s characters, including Teen Wolf and Karate Kid, as well as new tricks which increase you score significantly when pulled off. Paired with trophies for various milestones, these unlockables add a decent sense of progression and value to runs even when you do fall flat on your face and have to restart.
The VideoKid is a fun and addictive take on an arcade classic. Simple gameplay makes chaining together tricks and deliveries satisfying but its considerable challenge ensures only those who learn to master the level will reach its end. While its charming aesthetic and soundtrack draw you in to this retro world, it’s the endearing nostalgia of its 80s references which make this game worth playing.
The VideoKid PS4 Review
The VideoKid is a fun and addictive take on an arcade classic. Filled with challenging gameplay and a barrage of nostalgic references to pop culture, this 80s themed homage to Paperboy is worth a go.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.