Fluff Squad, assemble!
Without a doubt, Button City is the cutest game I have played in a long time, and it was incredibly hard not to smile throughout. It’s bursting with adorable animal characters, heavy 90s nostalgia, and most importantly of all, heartfelt friendships.
Release Date: August 10th, 2021
Developer: Wings Interactive, Subliminal
Publisher: Wings Interactive, Subliminal
Availability: PSN (Digital)
The story is about a shy fox called Fennel who has stayed indoors since moving into a new town during the summer holidays. After a lecture from your mother about staying in on a nice day to play video games, she sends you out on an errand to the Mart. SHOP.
During your trip, you end up overhearing a conversation about an arcade called Button City and you decide to check it out. I don’t think this is what mother intended when she wanted you to leave the house more often, but it’s a start, right?
When you arrive at the arcade, you meet other like-minded animals and begin to build friendships through playing the arcade games together. You’re even invited to join a crew called the Fluff Squad. This is until a greedy cat named Pepperbottom tries to shut down the arcade permanently. It’s up to Fennel and his new friends to stop the closure of their sanctuary before it’s too late.
Before all else, it’s hard not to notice Button City’s colourful low ploy graphics, which gets massive style points. This is complemented by the cheerful soundtrack that adds audio cues to create some charming and hilarious moments.
Together, the presentation and music create a great atmosphere where it’s hard not to be caught up in the whirlwind of this adventure. Simply put, Button City is a prime example that you don’t necessarily need the biggest budget to evoke a unique identity.
You’ll frequently be thrown into outlandish situations and sent on quests in different locations. Sadly, walking across the map can take a while, as our foxy companion doesn’t move the fastest, which can be bothersome.
The missions vary from gathering items, solving simple puzzles, or battling other kids. The gameplay is a bit more simplistic, and that’s perfectly fine, as this is an experience that is aimed at younger players. However, there is plenty of adult humour to be found with lots of 90’s references which I appreciated, such as boomboxes, Game Boys, and customisable clothing, including a bum bag, or as they call it in America, a fanny-pack.
One of Button City’s defining features is its narrative dialogue exchanges between characters. This can especially be seen through Fennel’s friendship with Sorrel, the leader of the Fluff Squad.
Sorrel will often come out with witty one-liners such as “fluff squad, assemble!”, and she practices metal yoga every morning with stances like the “screaming leaf”. Although, all the morning moshing hasn’t helped her short temper, as she will fly off the handle when faced with any confrontation. It was easy to laugh at these silly moments.
At the arcade, there are three mini-games to play and the main one is a dungeon-crawler called Gobabots. In this mini-game, two teams of four robots duke it out to collect the most fruit around a space-inspired map to make the most smoothies before the time limit runs out.
Every robot has different weapons and special attacks to help them become the ultimate fruit devouring team. Although the first few games are enjoyable, Gobabots is not that elaborate, even with multiple robots to pick from, and for some, it could become repetitive fast.
The next mini-game is called rEVolution Racer, and it’s essentially your classic arcade racing game. You soar down a mountain track with your futuristic car whilst exploiting drifts and boosts to give you the virtual edge and beat the best time on the scoreboard. Again, this one is straightforward and isn’t too hard to complete after learning a trick or two.
However, I can’t say the same for the last mini-game, and I must admit, I found it challenging. It’s a rhythm-based inspired game called Prisma Beats where you show your epic dance moves by hitting the notes on the screen. I’m not the best nor the worst at rhythm games, but I found normal mode tricky at times.
What chance does a less familiar gamer have to complete this segment? Thankfully, you don’t have to complete Prisma Beats to conquer the main story, but it feels a bit of an oversight when everything else in the game is on the easier side.
It’s worth mentioning that the game is considerably short, as the average gamer could very much complete the main storyline within four hours, although this would take kids far longer to complete. But, of course, there are a load of side-quests that will substantially add to your gameplay time, including joining a gentleman moustache club and getting to the bottom of a conspiracy theory.
The long and the short of it, Button City is an excellent adventure that’s lighthearted at its core with dashes of arcade silliness mixed in for good measure. Minus a few false notes within the gameplay, this one is definitely worth throwing in the direction of younger gamers.
Button City PS5, PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Button City is a child-friendly adventure that pushes the right buttons with its combo of a sweet narrative and fun gameplay.
- A lovely, heart warming story
- Charming characters to meet and greet
- The writing is really good with lots of humour
- Low-poly graphics fit really well with the tone of the game
- A bit on the short side
- Fennel walks far too slowly
- Why is the Prisma Beats mini-game so hard!?
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS5. Reviewed using PS5.