Reviewed: September 28, 2009
Released: September 16, 2009
App Store Price: $.99
Videogames have always allowed us to virtually take on an assortment of odd jobs from being a Paperboy, or a chef, or even a prison warden. There was even a game out awhile back that let you mow lawns to earn money. Basically, anything you can do in real-life can be simulated in a video game and now Parking Mania lets you take a spin behind the wheel of a professional valet.
Parking Mania is the latest game to drain my iPhone battery on a daily basis. I canít believe how something so simple is so insanely addictive and fun. The premise is quite simple really Ė you drive your car from location A and park it in location B while trying not to hit the curb, obstacles, or random traffic. You accelerate and brake (or go into reverse) by sliding your thumb up and down the accelerator bar on the right edge of the screen while you tilt your iPhone (or iPod Touch) to steer.
Sure it sounds easy and it is easy at first, but with the pressure of the clock that is ticking down along with increasingly difficult paths, heavy traffic, and multiple park jobs per level, things get crazy fast. There are 15 different vehicles ranging from the standard sedan to a school bus or tractor, to the larger big rigs, with and without trailers. You might even be asked to back your truck up and attach a trailer to deliver it to another destination.
In later levels you will need to park multiple cars, often delivering one car to the target green zone only to park the next car in the now-open space of the first. While the timer will grant you bonus points you can still win the level even after the clock hits zero, which was the case for most of my levels. I am getting faster now on my second pass through the game.
Additionally, you must avoid hitting curbs or parked cars or at least hit them no more than five times in a mission Ė this includes parking multiple cars. If you hit five curbs you must start over, but any unused strikes will give you bonus points at the end of the level. Hitting a moving vehicle results in a crash and an immediate restart.
The levels are massive but they can scroll across multiple screens so handy arrows are used to indicate your path. Visually, the game is awesome with distinct models of cars and trucks and colorful imagery for the background graphics. The roads, parking lots, and sidewalks all have great textures and there is plenty of green foliage, traffic markings, and the occasional gold coin to pick up for extra cash.
There is a modest soundtrack or you can listen to your own music. I loved the sounds for all the cars and trucks but a few were off like the school bus that sounded more like a diesel truck or a farm tractor. There is a great (and annoying) sound when you hit a curb and an even better crash noise when you hit a car complete with vibration effects.
The game is perfect for mobile gaming with each level taking no longer than 2-3 minutes, many taking less than a minute. The game auto-saves so you can resume where you left off and it keeps track of your scores for posting on the online leaderboards.
I just love Parking Mania. Itís colorful and fun and totally addicting and I look forward to many more passes through the game to better my previous scores. As with anything, the more you play the better you get, and this is one game I wonít stop playing anytime soon.