After the excellent Chicory: A Colorful Tale and its anthropomorphic animals, it’s Button City’s turn to launch on PS5, Xbox Series, Switch and PC. A cute little game, purely feel-good, warm, adorable and heartwarming whose only gameplay is based on three arcade mini-games… and that’s it.
You play as Fenouil, a little fox who arrived in town during the summer and who hasn’t left his home for all this time. Tired of seeing her son hiding inside and not socializing, his mother sends him out for an errand. It won’t take long for him to stumble upon Button City, the local arcade where all the young people of the city meet. Neither one nor two, the new kid is recruited into a local team of Gobabots, the most popular game of the moment. As friendships are born and rivalries between teams grow, these moments of joy and recklessness are quickly threatened by Piperacea, a big crooked cat who wants to get his hands on the arcade to turn it into a chain of stores. Your team, the Fortipluches, is determined to save their favorite place, and since they are children, the ideas are a bit crazy.
Button City’s writing is light, childish
Small wholesome game requires, the writing of Button City is light, childish and tends to bring positive messages more than anything else. The dialogues are rather funny, sometimes touching but there are many deeper and poignant themes brought in with gentleness and kindness if one takes the time to do a more in-depth reading. The story does not break a duck’s three legs, but remains fun to follow despite everything, thanks to a cast as colorful as it is endearing, for the most part at least. Same story for all the narrative coating, overall quality, but it lacks that little something that allows it to fully stand out from other productions. The problem is that every aspect of the story has already been seen elsewhere, and Button City never brings its own flair or personal twist. We will therefore remember above all its atmosphere and its graphic touch in low poly pleasant to look at, but when you immerse yourself in the hard-core gameplay, Button City disappoints.
When we immerse ourselves in the pure and hard gameplay, Button City disappoints
The heart of Button City lies in three arcade mini-games. The most prominent is the Gobabots, linked to the story and which you will be forced to play unlike the others. It consists of a 4vs4 confrontation where you have to collect fruit on a small playground – either by going to look for them directly in the trees, or by stealing them from the adversaries after having pulverized them – then send them in a big mixer in the center to count the points. Obviously, whoever collects the most at the end of the allotted time wins. We are clearly in the vein of an arcade game, but Gobabots suffers from the heavy travel of Button City, who leaves us here with an activity that lacks dynamism and intensity, in addition to AI bugs, ally as an enemy, annoying hitbox issues and an overall lack of difficulty. A perfectible mini-game, far from exciting, which is appreciated during the first parts, but which tires very quickly.
The other two proposals are no more glorious. rEVolution RACER, is a rudimentary racing game where all the gameplay is based on a boost obtained when you drift. A boring mini-game, without technique and unmanageable. The second, Prisma Beats, is a rhythm game where you have to hammer the buttons of the controller that appear on the screen. Finally, it seems, since the mini-game does not work at all on PS5 and Switch, despite a patch deployed since the launch of the game. There is also a little surprise: a visual novel game quite surprising in fact but that we quickly forget despite everything.
Button City is full of bugs of all kinds
Those who hang on will have fun challenging other characters and earning the necessary rewards to collect the set of robots that can be unlocked for the Gobabots, new songs for Prisma Beats, or outfits for their character. But overall, apart from the obligatory parts in the story and two-three alongside to pass the time, we find too little interest in the mini-games of Button City. The rest of the gameplay is then based on simple narrative interactions and the exploration of small dioramas to collect collectibles and unearth side quests. Don’t expect much from that side either, these are only Fedex quests that only serve to introduce certain aspects of the story of the secondary characters. To give you an idea, one of them is literally going back and forth between two characters who are right across from each other. It’s intended for the comedic situation, but as a player it’s boring as it can be. And when the character moves with distressing slowness, although the speed has been accelerated a bit since a patch, we do not necessarily want to struggle with endless back and forth.
As if that weren’t enough Button City is also full of bugs of all kinds. Between black screens that force you to relaunch the application, a mini-game that does not work, the character who gets stuck in the background, the music that suddenly stops, there is something to be discouraged. Despite everything, we let ourselves be taken by the adventures of this small group of friends and the childish charm of the game during the 4 hours needed to see the end of the story and do a few on the side, but at times you really have to hang on.