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Parking Star 3D Review

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On 05/23/2014 at 12:00 PM by Travis Hawks

The other great way to park.

It’s three bucks. Buy it.

Oh, the rush of zipping around another car, missing its bumper by a tiny smidge, and slamming on the brakes as you pull into the perfect parallel spot before oncoming traffic T-bones you into oblivion! This is the heart-revving, nerve-rattling, airbag-exploding life of a Parking Star: a fantastical existence we can all now get a taste of thanks to Parking Star 3D! Alright, I can’t hide the fact that parking cars is lame, but thanks to my low expectations, after playing Parking Star 3D I almost feel like parking is really exciting.

As you would expect, Parking Star 3D is a budget title and its perfectly serviceable graphics don’t hide this fact. It’s what you actually do during the game and the challenging level designs that make its low price a huge bargain. You’re doing exactly what you think you would do: parking cars in a variety of scenarios. Scenarios that ramp up in difficulty at a pleasing gradual rate, occasionally hitting a really tough one that only increases your self-satisfaction when you conquer it. You’ll feel like you really are conquering parking spaces too; it’s a surprisingly pleasing game system.

The beauty of Parking Star 3D can be largely attributed to its control scheme and level design. Most of the controls are fairly obvious, using one button for driving forward and another for reverse, but the key to the whole setup is the way you steer with the circle pad. You aren’t simply pressing left or right to turn left or right, but must rotate the circle pad as if it were a steering wheel. Even though it sounds like a gimmick, it makes steering feel almost realistic in a strange way as you rotate the circle pad around and around to really ace a parallel parking job. The only issue is that by the end of the game I was a little worried I was going to wear the circle pad out.

We went on quite the gauntlet of levels, my circle pad and I, so it’s no surprise the little fella was a little worse for wear. Parking Star 3D starts you off gently showing you which route to take on the top-down screens and leads you to a parking spot to squeak into facing one way or the other. Then it adds parallel parking, triple-parked cars, pedestrians, two-way traffic, automatic gates, and tons of other obstacles that are rarely recycled. Some of the levels where you have to weave betwixt moving cars are some of the toughest, luckily you can take a hit or two depending on how you’ve upgraded your vehicles.

Upgrades can be purchased with the stars you earn for completing levels in certain amounts of time and without hitting obstacles. I didn’t even try to unlock all of the vehicles, but just saved up for the ersatz Mini Cooper and beefed up its hit points to make my life a little easier. There is enough variety that you should be able to buy and improve a car that matches your play style in the first few levels. I got a huge boost from switching to a car with better control, but if you wanted to power through the levels, the Hummer-esque ride would probably be more to your style. The cars you can drive are the same ones that line the streets on the globe-spanning parking lots you are plopped into, which is another queue that this is a frugally made game.

None of the graphical cheapness bothered me, but it was a little off-putting to not get any fanfare at all when completing a location’s series of eight levels. Even worse, it was disappointing to be simply dumped back to the main menu when I completed the entire game. There were no credits, no tootling trumpets, and no “Thanks for Playing!” messages to read. Ah, well, it didn’t bother me that much. With all of this cost-conscience game design being so prominent, you also might expect that the music would be throwaway trash, but the gentle tunes that play during each level were reminiscent of the greatest hits of Nintendo background music, like the delightful Wii Shop track. Although there aren’t many tunes, the ones that are there are a delight.

It sort of pains me to recommend Parking Star 3D so highly, because it just might send you off to download it with the highest of hopes. Just remember that this is a game about parking and nothing more, so download it with a realistic attitude and you’ll hopefully have the same verdict I did: Parking Star 3D is a silly, almost asinine, idea for a game but it’s executed perfectly.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




05/29/2014 at 01:29 PM

When I saw the title I figured this game was from the same people who brought us (via a Simpsons) Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge. 

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