Parcel Panic is the Crazy Taxi of the postal kind. Instead of picking up passengers, you’re delivering parcels around an island town. Given the popularity of Crazy Taxi, I was actually surprised that a bunch of similar themed imitations haven’t popped up all over the App Store yet. But just as well, because Mad Processor Games had a great thing going with the release of Parcel Panic. I was immediately impressed with the attention to detail, from the sharp design of the initial loading screen to the controls to the icons on the pause menu. Everything looks very put together. The 3D graphics are very impressive as well, with a realistic environment and dynamic building architecture. Parcel Panic makes use of the accelerometer for its steering controls. You turn the iPhone just like you would a steering wheel. I was also pleasantly surprised at how responsive the steering was and making sharp turns easily was especially satisfying. I got a little carried away with the swerving and discovered the game has the auto-flip function, which is always a nice perk. There are on-screen pedal icons you use for the braking/reversing and accelerating. The pickup trucks are slow to pick up speed from a stopped position, so bumping into walls and stopping will burn a lot of your precious seconds but once you get the hang of the controls, it’s not that hard to keep your truck constantly on the move.
The premise of the game is simple, making it ideal for all ages. Because there are no limits on “lives,” this game may also appeal to the younger children, who might enjoy repeatedly running their truck into the water and what have you. There is only one map, Tapiti Island, and while it is expansive enough for adequate exploring, it would be nice to see more maps or objectives in future updates. You start the game with the slowest car, aptly named Snail, and there are three faster cars that are unlocked after hitting the required point marks. Points are earned based on how long you played a run, how much air time you have on jumps, and how many parcels you deliver. Jumps will also earn you more time on the clock. The game also has a “Free Ride” mode, which is good for getting acquainted with the island and discovering shortcuts. I’ll also have to admit that I spent a good amount of time just aimlessly driving around backwards in Free Ride mode.
The sound effects add a nice dimension to the game, as you can hear church bells in the town and seagulls near the beach, or your truck’s engine groans as it trudges up an incline. I found the music to be repetitive and a little grating on the ears after a period of time but you do have the option of turning it off. It’d be nice to have the option of playing your own music while in-game as well.
All in all, I found Parcel Panic to be a very well-done game. Its fantastic physics and game engine combined with the smooth animations, realistic textures and attention to detail make this is one app definitely worth its $2.99 price tag.
Here is a video demo of the Parcel Panic app on the iPhone
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