Reviewed: October 8, 2009
Released: October 1, 2009
App Store Price: $.99
Clickgamer strikes again, twice in two weeks. They seem bound and determined to make me the most unproductive member of the GCM staff with their latest game, Pile Up!. Last week they had me driving and parking cars in Parking Mania and now they have me directing an endless flood of traffic like some white-gloved NYPD traffic officer at any of three very busy intersections.
Pile Up! is insanely fun to play, challenging, and addictive. You merely tap on color-coded cars as they enter the screen and stop at an intersection, telling them when itís safe to proceed into cross traffic and exit the map at their matching colored exit.
Much like Parking Mania, the concept is brilliantly simple, easy to play, and impossible to master. The game starts off with a map and three possible locations (levels) to play - you'll need to unlock two levels before you can play them. Each level is an intersection of varied design and unique traffic patterns.
The first level is an offset four-way intersection with cars streaming in from four directions. Youíll have to direct the cars coming in from the north and south, telling them when itís safe to pull into the primary road so they can integrate with existing computer controlled traffic and exit either east or west as noted by the color of the car and the color-coded exit arrow. Watch the turn signals to see where computer cars are headed.
Level two is slightly more complex, also a four-way intersection, but this time you have four streams of cars to manage and every car needs to be told when to enter the intersection. The final level is a roundabout (popular in the UK and becoming increasingly more popular in the USA). Here, cars enter a circular counterclockwise drive pattern and will exit out to their right at their color-coded exit.
Of course things get crazy the further you get into any of these levels. The incoming traffic really picks up and if more than two cars are waiting at an intersection the third car will honk sending the lead car into the intersection toward some random exit. Timing is crucial and it's quite possible with a bit of skill to slip incoming cars into small gaps in cross traffic. You can also tap on cars still in motion to have them enter the intersection without stopping or even tap and drag a car in motion to a new exit point.
It almost seems too easy at times but eventually you are going to tap on one car too many and the inevitable CRASH! will appear and itís game over. The great thing is that by design, you will want to jump right back in and try immediately to beat your previous score.
Visually, the game is clean, colorful, and pleasing to look at. Itís very similar to the presentation of Parking Mania as far as street graphics and surrounding greenery. It reminded me of those diagram boards they used in Drivers Ed. I would have loved more variation in vehicles, long slow-moving trucks, or speedy motorcycles, etc. Having the same predictable sedans, all the same size and moving at the same speed offered limited challenge.
Music is extremely sparse and non-existent during the game leaving you to the sounds of birds, car engines, and the occasional honking. You can always play your own MP3ís if itís too quiet for you.
The game tracks several stats for all three intersections and the entire game. You can also sync to your Twitter account and post milestones or even the fact you are playing the game at all.
Itís a solid and enjoyable game and a great start for what could easily become a much bigger and much more polished title. There definitely needs to be more intersections Ė three just isnít enough. How about a highway interchange with exit ramps? And we definitely need more vehicle designs with varied speeds. How about a multiplayer mode where players take turns sending in the traffic from the various directions trying to stump the other player? My mind was buzzing with the potential this game presents.
Bottom line Ė the game is only a buck and you will get your value back the first time you play it Ė not to mention the 100th time you come back to it. Itís so simple and so fun I was passing it around at the bar the other night and people were taking turns directing traffic and having a great time.
I might not end up playing this game as long as I do some other titles, but itís not coming off my iPhone anytime soon. Like Pac-Man and Frogger, the quest for high scores is not without its appeal, and Iím a sucker for the leaderboards.
Now move alongÖyouíre holding up trafficÖ