Sometimes, you just want to get behind the wheel of a car, put your foot down, and never look back. You want to play something that is stripped back to its fundamental components, focusing on enjoyable mechanics, and free from the shackles of checkpoints, structure, and those damn skill trees. You Suck at Parking is a perfect example of simple yet satisfying. Not only in the way it has been designed, but in the controls. Happy Volcano takes the essentials of racing and turns it into a straightforward and challenging game that pushes the limits of players of all skill levels.
You Suck at Parking features tons of bitesize challenges across various islands, each with a particular theme, either in the specific challenges each one includes, or in how it looks. The controls are simple, too. Accelerate, turn, and break. That’s it, but mastering the handling of your car takes a while until you achieve pinpoint accuracy when it comes to parking in those small spots. The aim of the game is to park in allocated spots in each event, however, there are tons of obstacles to overcome.
At first, you’ll have to master the actual parking, which in itself is tricky to get used to. The controls remind me of Micro Machines and how that used to play in the good old days of the Mega Drive. As you progress through the various events and islands, these challenges become almost impossible; or so it seems when you begin to play them. Like any good twitch-based game, you’re precision and skill needs to be at its peak if you’re going to succeed. Think Super Meat Boy with wheels, and the frustrations of failing creep in all the time.
Despite certain events being incredibly tough, the quick reloading time means you’re straight back into the action. Events are timed, but after a successful park, you’ll gain an additional time bonus. You can also press down on the D-pad to go back to the start without affecting your progress, but when the time runs out, you can either replay or move on. The more you park successfully, the more opportunities you get to move on to the next area. Each canon that fires your car off to the next stage is blocked behind how many spots you park in, but if you’re good enough, you’ll be able to move on and try the next stress-inducing series of events.
So these obstacles, then. Throughout the various levels in You Suck at Parking, courses are littered with challenges that will either make you want to punch the wall, or turn to alcohol. As tough as it can be, there is always hope because you’ll quickly get used to how they work. For example, some levels have huge magnets that pull you into them and blow up your car. Barriers along the track will explode your vehicle if you drive into them, magic portals teleport you across the course, huge hammers swing and platforms move. There are pressure pads that send you speeding or bounce you into the air, and even other cars will get in your way or police chase you across the track.
The inventive nature of all these levels are what keeps you playing and pushing you to succeed. Yes, it can be tough, but you do get that feeling of satisfaction from all the risk and reward of precise driving. Other than the multiplayer which sees you race against a variety of other players to park first, there’s little else other than the main campaign that features all the tracks. You can customise your vehicle with unlockables, and when the game releases, there’s even a pass in the same vein as Fortnite‘s Battle Pass that provides new skins etc, but it’s not going to mean much unless you plan on playing it over and over again.
Replayability is rife in You Suck at Parking. I replayed various tracks just to try and move up the leaderboards, and for those that enjoy chasing high scores and bragging to their mates about how good you are compared to others around the world, then it’s well worth giving a go. You will get frustrated, and the further you get; the harder tracks are to complete, but the learning curve is a pleasant one, with little in the form of difficulty spikes to stop you from enjoying yourself. Happy Volcano intend to add more when the game is out, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be on your list when it drops on Game Pass.
Excellent level design
Tons of challenges
Some really tough challenges
Lacking in modes