App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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First, a word of warning. If anyone reading this has final exams coming up, a big presentation around the corner or an otherwise full docket that they can't afford to deviate from, then do not check out Traffic Panic 3D. This, my friends, is the kind of game that eats a person's time faster than a day spent at the Awesome Things Expo. Now that that's out of the way, allow me to explain why.
Traffic Panic 3D doesn't look like much at first. I mean, it's a game about moving cars through one intersection. Using a single tap to turn a traffic light on and off. However, there is an unexpected amount of complexity to it. For example, while it may be safer to click small groups through when there's a gap, keeping the traffic flowing (i.e. leaving the light green) earns far more points. Another consideration is using special vehicles (when they appear) in order to get the best results. I can't stress just how useful the police car can be when it stops cross-traffic with its sirens.
The best thing about Traffic Panic 3D, which is something I can't honestly say about most other games, is that I don't mind losing. In fact, oftentimes it can be downright fun to misjudge the timing for a group of cars and cause a massive wreck. Sometimes I'll do it on purpose. This is because the score, as well as the dollar amount of damage from a crash, both determine the payout. So while it's intense to keep the traffic flowing for upwards of 7,000 points, accidentally causing a huge pileup only adds to the amount of cash I earn. Cash that can be used to purchase new vehicles, as well as buildings to line the intersection that can enhance collateral damage.
The graphics are certainly passable, but they are a bit muddy and the textures seem blurring when viewed from the up-close crash cam. But this isn't a huge deal. The only real problem I have with Traffic Panic 3D, aside from the constant "Unlock Everything" and "Like us on Facebook" pop-ups is the ability to unlock all content with a $0.99 in-app purchase. It's by no means necessary, and it's a reasonable price, but I feel as though it would completely ruin the purpose of the game. Unlocking new stuff is a major driving force here, and simply buying access to it all would suck the fun out of it. Granted it's a choice, not a requirement, but it's a shame to think that some people might take the easy and much less fun route.
Traffic Panic 3D is an excellent combination of simplicity and addictiveness. Each session feels rewarding, win or lose, and there's always something new to unlock just around the corner. Provided no one takes the easy way out, anyway.