For years petrolheads have been asked to do one thing, and one thing alone – drive fast. Do so and – for the most part – you would have found success.
You Suck at Parking asks you to do that too, but in a twist from the norm this one bases all forms of success and failure on the stopping at the other end; the parking of your car in the smallest of spaces. Thought your driving skills were on point? Think again.
You Suck at Parking from Happy Volcano Games is a clever little game with lots of tricks up its sleeve. But ultimately, it is only interested in how you go about parking your little car in a number of spots. How you get there is up to you – but you can be sure it won’t be an easy ride.
Playing out as a vehicular based puzzler, Happy Volcano have put together upwards of 100 levels of utter madness in You Suck at Parking – promising more further down the line too – dropping you behind the wheel of a little car as you are tasked with hunting down numerous parking spots, stopping on a dime. The thing is, once you’re stopped, that’s it – overshoot the mark, fall short, get blown off course, get smashed by a hammer, have the police bust you, or get zapped by electric fences and you’ll be seen as a failure, left to do it all over again.
Yep, this is a driving game like no other, but it’s a driving game that places huge emphasis on fun. In that, it delivers, and whilst there are some frustrations, for the most part Happy Volcano have stopped well inside the lines of safety.
Played out via a slightly top-down, slightly side-on view point, whizzing your little motor vehicle around the stages found in You Suck at Parking can be a joy; a real thrill as you speed along tight narrow roads, drifting around bends, taking in jumps and, yes, stopping where you see fit. It handles brilliantly, with just enough swerve and swazz in your car to ensure you are – mostly – in control at all times. Yes, hit a jump wrong, come at a boost pad incorrectly or stick a drift in as you fail to nail an apex, and You Suck at Parking can feel a tad frustrating. But that’s on you, and you alone.
Levels come with a multitude of parking spots, upwards of two in every single stage. You start in a holding pen and a swift hit of your right trigger will see you thrust forwards, left to swing this way and that as you navigate the bendy, twisty, maze-like stages. Find a parking spot, stop in it and part of your task will be complete. Time will be added to your stage total and you’ll find yourself back at the start again, in another car, in hunt of another parking spot. The goal is simple, find all the spots in the level, stop a car in each and every one, and do so before the time – or your gas gauge – runs out. But you’ll need to be aware, those cars you have parked can be knocked out of their safe spots as you go about navigating your way to others; you’ll need to occasionally consider which spots to park in first.
That in itself seems a simple premise and it’s that easy nature which ensures that You Suck at Parking will drag you along for the ride. But much like we’ve seen in skill-based games like the Trials series over the years, You Suck at Parking comes with more. See, you are rewarded for each successful park and if you can nail every stop in a stage without losing a car, shiny gold ticks will be yours as you become a parking perfectionist. Lose a car – either by falling off a stage or succumbing to any number of horrendous obstacles and traps – and you’ll only be able to go for the slightly lower, pink parking tickets. With online leaderboards showing your success rate, your time taken and those of your friends and strangers, you don’t need me to tell you where the real draw comes from. Thankfully an overview mode lets you take in the course you are looking to best, ensuring that you can spend time picking out the lines and strategies that you need.
Picking up gold and pink rewards unlocks further levels and islands, drops a ton of XP your way and levels up your career stats. With a ‘Parking Pass’ kicking around in the background, there’s even more reason to continue to show your parking skills here, with a ton of cosmetics on offer. Whether a Premium Pass and the rewards that gives will be of interest will be decided on a purely personal level, but the chance to make your You Suck at Parking vehicles unique to yourself is a nice touch – toppers, new paint schemes and trails are all present.
This is a game that brings a ton of eureka moments to the gaming landscape, as you try and try again to git gud at certain levels. There’s a seriously quick respawn action that takes place when you know you’ve gone wrong, and so getting back into the action as you bail is relatively easy. That said, the sheer fact that there is no reverse means that it’s very easy to get hung up on objects that refuse to let you pass. Once you go wrong, respawning is pretty much your best option.
That’s absolutely fine whilst frequenting the stages that are on offer, with multiple new ones opening up, taking you way beyond the grassy verges of the opening island fairly swiftly. The difficulty certainly ramps up too; I mean, icy levels in Antarcticar with a car that just does not want to stop?
But the real annoyance – and very nearly the only proper annoyance – that comes about in You Suck at Parking is the way the levels and stages are taken in. See, Happy Volcano have created some nice little islands which play out via a fancy level select hub – drive around, hunt down different arenas and the stages found within each and you can crack on with honing those parking skills. But it’s getting around those islands and actually finding the levels themselves which is the ballache. We’ve spent far too long trying to traverse the level hubs in hope of stumbling upon old stages that we’ve not yet completed, or as we’ve gone on the lookout for new levels. It’s all fine, but it’s just that. Fine. We’d have much preferred the opportunity to select stages from a list, picking and choosing those to drop into on a whim; especially those which we’ve previously attempted. You Suck at Parking doesn’t allow for that and there’s just too much lost time in and amongst the open world islands to cause frustration. And yes, there’s no reverse in these menu islands either – and that means they get doubly annoying.
Really though, when you’re finding problems with systems that are outside of the actual gameplay, you know you’re on to a winner and that’s the case with You Suck at Parking. And whilst this is very much set up for a single player to prove themselves against the world, the opportunity to drop into some online multiplayer parking just adds to the enjoyment.
You Suck at Parking takes the age old racer and switches things up nicely. The premise is pretty unique, the levels are well designed and the obstacles that Happy Volcano have chucked into their game are fun to work around. You Suck at Parking is a good-looking, cute little racer like no other; one that will have you trying to hone your skills over and over again. But just remember, no matter how good you may get, really you may just suck at parking.
You Suck at Parking is on the Xbox Store