Mar 27, 2013
I love parking games.
Park Mania was an interesting challenge. I liked how the developer strung together the sequences, and how there was a hint of realism in how they played out. They started out gently enough; at first, all I had to do was figure out how to use the accelerometer and movement slider in conjunction (more on controls later) to park a small sedan into an empty space. The aisles were wide, and spacing was liberal.
As the game progressed, the challenge became tougher. The driveways become thinner and maneuverability became more difficult. The parking areas started getting much tougher to get into. I liked the realistic challenges that I started facing: multiple cars, multiple stops, hidden rewards that upped the difficulty level, merging into traffic, sharp turns, bigger vehicles and more. The hidden rewards usually added to my cash haul at the end (I got cash for successfully completing challenges) and some seemed dependent on time. For every level, I had a set number of collisions before I “failed” the parking mission and had to redo the level.
The controls were simple. There was an on-screen forward/reverse pedal that was controlled by dragging. The survival controls were what really stood out.
I liked that there was a myriad of ways to control the vehicles: tilt controls, swipe/drag, virtual steering wheel or via flip controls. Part of the fun was trying out the different controls in difference scenarios. Giving folks options in this regard was a very good design decision in my opinion. In-app purchasing was available to buy attributes, but playing to earn cash was definitely not undo-able.
The graphics were nice and deliberate; the little things gave proof of the developer’s attention to detail. When I looked close enough, I could actually see the tires angle out when I turned, and when driving topless vehicles, the driver sat behind the wheel. The roadways, the barrier cones… even the flash of the headlights: they all tied in very well together.
And that, in a nutshell, is what made this game so much fun: all the pieces tied in well together. Chillingo seems to have a knack for doing this.