Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
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Parking Mania HD attempts to take a mundane activity and turn it into something fun. I don't know about you, but I've never associated parking my car with a rollicking good time, but then again, I never thought matching three like-colored jewels could hold me enraptured either, and it did.
At its core, Chillingo's Parking Mania HD has several key elements in common with maze-style games such as Ozone and Labyrinth 2. Using a top-down view, the goal in all of these games is to move an object from point a to point b. Outside of this basic mechanic, the theme and the controls available to players are what really make a maze game shine. In both cases, Parking Mania HD is only about average.
There are several control schemes available to players, but most will probably steer (pun intended) toward using the accelerometer for parking cars, as it feels most like actual driving. Each car you park only has two directions, forward and reverse, and these are
controlled with a pedal on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. You can adjust sensitivity in the controls menu, but it's a reasonable guess that you'll be spending a fair amount of time getting the hang of driving your car. I'd like the control to feel a bit more intuitive, even though I realize that the navigation has to be somewhat challenging in any maze game. Still, it would be better if players didn't feel as though they were fighting against the controls.
The theme is about average. There is just nothing very thrilling about parking cars, though the developers do try to vary things by making some of the assignments take place at night with very limited light and by including moving traffic. But for anyone who spends a large portion of his/her day in traffic, this isn't exactly a go-to game for relaxation. I'm also not sure what purpose the clearly sexist imagery on the main screen serves. I suppose it's an attempt to make parking cars seem "sexy," but that just doesn't work. At best, it comes across crass and insensitive.
For $2.99 you could probably do worse, but there are many, many maze-style games on the app store that are far superior to Parking Mania HD. Give them a shot first.