Review: Button City
By: Laura Collins
Publisher: WINGS Interactive
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Steam, Itch.io), Mac
Should you find yourself looking for a cute, wholesome, and slightly whimsical game, Button City is most assuredly the game you want to check into. Admittedly, I was skeptical as my typical taste in games tends to opt for "pretty graphics" as opposed to those of the cute or the poly-style ones. Even the music, I found to be cute and happy. That being said, I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong, and I'm glad I gave Button City a few more minutes to redeem itself and fully catch my attention and interest. This was mostly due to it very loosely pulling on the Animal Crossing and Garden Paws parts of my brain.
The more I played, the more stunned I was to see how much work went into Button City. It was clearly a work of love and emphasized more of the simple things that I've learned not to expect. Toys moved or fell over if I walked over them. There was a Gameboy on a bookshelf and an older console in a corner. I could only eat a sandwich or food items once, even if they still appeared available. I found it cute that the game itself referenced these occurrences' oddity and mentioned that some outside force could be controlling their world. (Guilty as charged)
In Button City, you play as Fennel, a young fox, and who can resist baby or even young adolescent foxes? Immediately, you are thrown into a group of new friends, the Fluff Squad, and your bonds are being formed through the latest obsession of your vertical town; Gobabots. I thought I'd find the Gobabots to be boring and more fluff than actually contributing to the game, but there was something satisfying about working with the adorable-animal teammates to pull fruit from trees or from the opposing (also super cute) team to throw them into a giant blender to make a smoothie. The goal? Win the coveted Gobapot and beat your opposing team, the Tuff Fluffs.
Alas, the beloved arcade of Button City needs protection, and it's up to you and your friends to save it and keep Mr. Button from selling it to Peppermint Pepperbottom, the slightly evil businessman. Throughout the adventure to save the beloved arcade before the new friendships can evaporate before their eyes, much will stand in your way, such as collecting trash and other items that have been scattered or hidden away or relaying messages or items between characters.
Though some of the side-quests seemed a bit tedious, it wasn't quite enough to ruin the game experience for me. However, it was slightly annoying at times. No one I can think of wants to walk from door to door half a dozen times for what I felt to be a minimal reward. At times, the controls or viewpoints were a little clunky.
However, the mini-games saved it for me. These games were not only playable but were integrated into the story behind the game, and the love and care put into them were apparent. The first of the mini-games, Gobapots, had multiple types, each with its own stats, strengths, and weaknesses. You also have rEVolution Racer, a simplistic racing game involving being the first to reach Watermelon Mountain. Then Prisma Beats, a simple rhythmic Dance Dance Revolution kind of game, which was less interesting to me as I'm horrible at such games. My favorite may have been the visual novel that one of your friends has been working on. Don't get me wrong, none of these were over-the-top or sent me into a crazed wow moment, but for a game like this, I was impressed.
While Button City may not be your go-to if you're looking for some more serious gaming time, it might be something to play when you're looking to wind down or destress after a long and hard game.