The death of arcades has led to the death of SEGA’s classic Crazy Taxi series, but Hernes Hunters Productions is looking to give the genre a second chance with their title Parcel Panic. The core gameplay loop might be the same, but that is the only thing this title got right.
Parcel Panic Review
Taking the role of the only deliveryman in a city, it is up to you to make sure the packages of the area get to their final destination. Riding around in a van that says “Parcel Panic,” players will run over packages and deliver them to the ice cream parlor, the city hospital, the bowling alley, and what is simply known as “off license.” Every package delivered nets additional funds, with the ultimate goal being to make off like a bandit when all is said and done.
Though players are delivering packages instead of passengers, the idea is similar to Crazy Taxi – there’s even a green arrow pointing players to where they need to go. However, the control scheme powering this crazy adventure makes the title borderline unplayable. The loose steering makes the most simple navigation a nearly impossible endeavor – it can be absolutely maddening to navigate an area, simply because turning does not work as it should. Nevermind the fact that there are no drifting or other mechanics to take advantage of – what you see is what you get.
When these dreadful controls are paired with its lousy physics engine, what becomes frustrating quickly turns infuriating. Players can run over select objects like light posts, but traffic will not budge if the player touches it with their car. As a result, the tiniest mistake puts players at a standstill, which ruins the pacing. Select areas have dead-ends, meaning that players must come to a standstill, change gears, and reverse out of there with the poor controls. Those hoping for the fast action of its inspiration will not find it here.
To add insult to injury, players will have to contend with damage. Every time the player bumps into something, the health of the car goes into the red. If players bump into enough hazards, the game is over. This proves to be a Sisyphean task, as the densely packed streets and plain grid format of the city means that there is no clear way to avoid this. This is somewhat alleviated with the slow health regeneration that occurs while delivering a package, but this just isn’t enough.
After each playthrough, players will be able to add their name to a scoreboard. Though players can choose the difficulty and adjust other variables, the single city, single song, and repeat objectives give Parcel Panic limited replayability.
Outside of Parcel Panic is the minigame Parcel Runner. This mode also has players collecting packages, but locks things into a top-down perspective and three lanes of traffic. One could say this mode is better than the core mode, but even then it serves as a brief distraction and nothing more.
Parcel Panic wears its inspiration on its sleeve, but the poor controls, bland aesthetics, and wonky physics prevent it from reaching the heights of the Crazy Taxi series.
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