I’m a sucker for a cute looking game, so Button City appealed to me immediately. Come on, you’ve only got to look at some of the screenshots to see how adorable the world and its inhabitants are. I didn’t even know anything about how the game played before I agreed to covering it… I was all in on looks alone.
Luckily, the game also just so happens to be fun to play, with protagonist Fennel’s adventure proving to be charming throughout. Don’t get me wrong, it has its fair share of technical flaws, but there’s still a good time to be had exploring the vibrant world.
Check out some screenshots for the game down below:
Button City’s tale revolves around Fennel, a young fox who has recently moved into town with his hard-working single mother. It’s never nice to be the new kid, but Fennel’s lucky enough to meet some like-minded video game-loving folk when he visits the town’s local arcade, the titular Button City. It turns out that it is the hot spot to hang out at and he’s lucky enough to make some friends, with the group forming their own video game team (which is named ‘Fluff Squad’… it’s perfect) to dominate their rivals within Button City. Unfortunately, Button City’s future is at risk when a villainous cat tries to bring the place down, but Fluff Squad won’t let that happen without a fight!
What follows is an adventure that sees you exploring the town, competing in a variety of mini-games, and helping others out as much as you can. It’s all very whimsical, with the cast of supporting characters having their own cute little quirks, the writing proving delightful throughout, and the quests you complete all revolving around tasks that feel befitting of the sweet little world. It’s got a very Animal Crossing-like vibe to it, so if you’ve spent any time in debt to Tom Nook, you’ll know what sort of world you’ll be exploring in Button City.
It is worth noting that Button City isn’t afraid to tackle some hard-hitting themes, though. Whilst it won’t leave you depressed when playing, some of the characters are clearly facing struggles in their life which might prove relatable to some players. It handles it all in a tasteful and sweet way, but it’s clear that it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows for the inhabitants of the town.
“It’s all very whimsical, with the cast of supporting characters having their own cute little quirks, the writing proving delightful throughout, and the quests you complete all revolving around tasks that feel befitting of the sweet little world.”
Whilst the world and visuals bear similarities to Animal Crossing, the gameplay of Button City is a lot different. Players will spend their time exploring the town, completing quests for its inhabitants, competing in the arcade’s mini-games, and unlocking new items to dress up with or decorate your room. A lot of time is simply spent moving around between different locations, so it’s nice that this is conveniently done with a button press that brings up a tiled diorama selection of the areas you can visit. It might sound like an odd point to bring up about a game (plenty of titles offer teleportation between areas after all) but it’s presented in such a neat fashion here that I couldn’t help but to admire it.
A lot of time will be spent playing the arcade’s mini-games, with three main ones on offer: rEVolution Racer, Prisma Beats, and Gobabots. Those first two are pretty straight forward, with rEVolution Racer offering basic boosting and drifting mechanics as you take on a rival driver, and Prisma Beats basing itself around the rhythm game genre by having the player mash buttons to a set beat. Neither is too fleshed out, but they offer enough to make for decent little side endeavours – they also tie into the story and side quests in fun little ways, so they always feel like more than just a mini-game.
“A lot of time will be spent playing the arcade’s mini-games, with three main ones on offer: rEVolution Racer, Prisma Beats, and Gobabots.”
Gobabots is the most significant mini-game of the three and ties in the most with the game’s main questline. It’s a four-versus-four arena battler where players collect fruit from around the map and place them in a blender at the centre of the arena in order to earn points, all whilst attacking rival players in order to stop them from scoring points of their own. There are multiple Gobabots to play as that bring with them different stats, with more unlocking as you progress further through the game. It’s a simple setup, but it’s really addictive; in fact, I’d actually be willing to put some hours into it if it was its own game, especially if it had multiplayer (which is sadly missing in Button City).
Everything comes together to make for an experience that’s really chilled out, but that offers room for excitement through the mini-games. Players can even customise each of the mini-games in different ways, with items unlocking all-new ways to play in order to add some extra variety. Admittedly, some of the side quests you complete can be a bit boring and repetitive, but they’re optional so it’s not as if they bring the whole experience down too much.
“Everything comes together to make for an experience that’s really chilled out, but that offers room for excitement through the mini-games.”
Unfortunately, whilst Button City is fun to play, it does have some issues that hold it back. Some of the most severe come with the game crashes, which regularly saw me have to quit out of the game and re-load my save. There wasn’t always consistency with these either, so I didn’t always know what actually caused the game to crash. Then there are the visual issues that see character models’ animations bug out, as well as audio issues that completely cut out music… it’s weird stuff that really could have done with ironing out before the game released. There are other stuff too, such as a side quests not loading, Gobabots’ character’s attacks not registering, and so forth. Hopefully, a lot of these problems can be fixed with a patch soon, because they’re hard to ignore in-game.
There were some other small things that bugged me when playing too, such as Fennel’s movement speed… why does it have to be so slow?! The locations you explore aren’t huge so it’s not a big deal, but given that a lot of quests revolve around collecting items, it could get a bit annoying. Also, the icons on Prisma Beats didn’t represent button inputs, but were instead weird symbols. The mini-game is challenging anyway, but this baffling design choice just makes it all the more awkward for the player.
“Unfortunately, whilst Button City is fun to play, it does have some issues that hold it back. Some of the most severe come with the game crashes, which regularly saw me have to quit out of the game and re-load my save.”
It’s clear then that Button City has its share of issues, but I have to emphasise that I did enjoy my time with the game. It’s fun, has plenty of neat ideas, and has a lot of heart, whilst the vibrant world looks great and is lovely to be a part of. It just has a few too many flaws right now to make it feel like a great game; some are only minor annoyances, whilst others are a lot more severe. Whilst they didn’t stop me from completing the game and having a good time doing so, they really do need to be fixed pretty sharpish.
I had a LOT of fun playing through Button City’s cute and charming adventure, but some technical issues really hold the game back. Crashes, audio and visual issues, random bugs… they’re all here, with the game certainly needing a little extra polish to get things ship-shape.
It’s a shame too because there really is a lot to love about the game. The world design and visuals are wonderful, the story is adorable but also not afraid to tackle tricky themes, whilst completing quests and competing in mini-games made for a really good time. Sure, there were some missteps along the way, but it didn’t stop Button City from being a whole lotta fun.
As it stands, I’d still recommend the game to players, but would advise them to be wary of the issues. Don’t think you can handle them? Keep the game in your wish list and wait for a patch – whilst it might need some fixing up right now, there’s no doubting that Button City’s adventure is one that’s worth experiencing.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC