App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
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PAKO 2 puts you behind the wheel of a getaway vehicle. Your job is simple: pick up a crew and take them to their safe house before the heat comes down on you too hard and takes you down. As a game, PAKO 2 has an extremely cool look and feel, but its underlying gameplay feels a little thin.
On any given play session with PAKO 2, you start out by innocently driving your vehicle of choice around a map. As you drive around (which is a simple process of tapping on the sides of the screen to determine which way you want to steer), there are arrows that appear directing you toward people in need of a pickup. Once you make the first of these pickups, the action really kicks off.
After picking up a crew of criminals, police vehicles start chasing you down, an AI-controlled partner in your vehicle leans out the window to shoot at them, and the game's synthwave soundtrack starts thumping to the action. Once you've dropped one crew off, you go and pick up another, and you try to do this for as long as possible before your car receives enough damage to end your run.
Up your arsenal
Whenever you successfully deliver your passengers to their destination, PAKO 2 rates your performance in dollars, the total of which combines to give you your high score at the end of a run. These dollars aren't just for scorekeeping purposes though, PAKO 2 features a wide variety of levels and vehicles that you can unlock by spending the money you've earned in the game, and both help add replayability to it.
Another way that PAKO 2 mixes up the action is through rewarding players with random powerups each time they successfully complete a ride. These powerups can range anywhere from granting additional health to having another vehicle appear to help you gun down law enforcement as you continue your crime streak.
PAKO 2 does a great job of tone-setting through its grimy visual style and soundtrack, both of which give off a great first impression. After a few rounds of play though, this magic wears off a bit and what you're left with is a pretty simple arcade game.
Since the game only really puts you in control of driving around to pick up and drop off people, PAKO 2 can wear thin pretty quickly. It would have been nice if players could choose their upgrades or have some other sense of agency in the experience since the driving–while hectic-looking–isn't terribly satisfying on its own.
The bottom line
PAKO 2's style carries it a long way, particularly when you first start playing it. As you get further into the experience though, the more you feel like there should be some amount of additional depth. The stuff that is in PAKO 2 currently is good and–more importantly–very cool. It would just be a more satisfying game if there were more to it.