Monday, Feb 26, 2024

Parking Review: You're a Suck at It - All Gas, no Reverse

Parking is a big problem for Xbox Series X

You Suck at Parking's title is blunt, and so is the game. The gameplay and structure of You Suck at Parking reflect that simplicity. The goal is to park the car in the designated parking spot. There is no plot, cutscenes or characters. Although it is simple in its focus, the goal can be complicated depending on how many obstacles you face in your path to parking a car.

The game's basic concept is that you are driving a small sedan car and must drive through self-contained levels in order to park at designated parking spots marked with a letter "P." Sounds easy enough. But the car can't reverse. The brake can be used to slow down or stop the car, but overshooting the target could result in awkward drifting to the other side.

It is very easy to lose control of your car's physics. You can quickly gain speed and drift is often unintentional. You quickly learn to love your brakes and feel in control. It is very easy to use the controls. Acceleration and brake are on the triggers. Repawning and restarting the level can be done using the Y button and the d-pad.

Image Source: Happy Volcano

These short levels are complicated because of other requirements. Each level has two to five parking spots. A car parked on all spots will complete the level. Players cannot park on any spot without completing the level. The game doesn't require that players align perfectly within the white rectangle. All they have to do is place a wheel on the spot. Later levels will allow you to park as either a giant ice cube or a flaming wreck.

There are many obstacles along the way, including mines, giant fans and fiery barriers as well as traffic, portals, police chases and traffic. A single hit on a dangerous obstacle will return the car to its starting point. However, the respawn button can be useful if the car is thrown off a cliff or you want to save some time.

These levels are quite challenging, but very rewarding to defeat. Except for the towers that shoot fireballs at a spiraling motion, making it a bullet hell your car is not designed to handle.

Image Source: Happy Volcano

Each level is grouped as a stage in an overworld setting. You can also skip levels if they are too difficult. To unlock new sections, you need to complete a certain amount of parking spots. It isn't a problem if you don't get all the spots in a level. Parking in all spots within the level will earn you a perfect rating. These are needed to unlock the more difficult mastery levels.

At launch, there were over 100 levels. Most of them were enjoyable and challenging. The difficulty of the game will depend on how many times you play them. If you're interested in them, there are global and friend leaderboards that can be used to push yourself.

Online multiplayer is available where up to eight people can compete to park simultaneously. Although I was not able to test the multiplayer functionality, it sounds like a great, chaotic way to have fun with your friends.

Image Source: Happy Volcano

Because of its laser-like focus, There Are No Flaws in You Suck at Parking. Xbox Series X was extremely responsive and the game had only one glitch. The graphics are vibrant and clear enough that I was not blindsided by the isometric view. Although there seems to only be one song, it is pleasant enough that it can become background noise.

It can be a little cumbersome to return to previous levels in the overworld. I wish there was an easy way to select a level without having to drive around everywhere. While reckless driving can be fun for short distances, it is not fun for longer distances.

It was also surprising to me that You Suck at Parking advertised itself as a live-service game. I had seen very little of the game before this review. You can buy cosmetics with real money. There is also a "Parking Pass" that can be purchased. A roadmap can be accessed from your main menu, which has more content in the works. Microtransactions are expected and there will be a clear roadmap.

You Suck at Parking is a unique take on arcade and platformer games like Super Meat Boy. It's based on frustration but it's still fun enough to play for another time. Although the controls are satisfying and the challenge is fun, your level of skill and dedication will determine how far you can go. It is enjoyable for an occasional session or a few hours.

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