Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The real wonder of TrafficWonder HD is how it makes its theoretically mundane set-up, traffic management, as fun as it is. While the game never escapes its inherently pedestrian concept, it is still quite the satisfying brain teaser.
TrafficWonder HD is reminiscent of Flight Control in that it's all about guiding automatically moving vehicles to their designated spots by drawing paths and avoiding collisions. Seeing as cars do not have the luxury of being able to travel through unrestricted airspace, players' paths are constrained by the layout of each level’s roads. However, instead of being an endless affair, TrafficWonder HD has 60 levels that each end once all of the cars reach their garages.
To keep everything fun and empowering, the game smartly adds new layers at a fairly fast rate. Outside of collisions, players can also fail if their cars run out of fuel. Managing fuel is easy enough in the beginning but soon players will be dealing with multiple cars of different sizes and gas consumption rates all at once. There are power ups as well like boxes that must be collected by cars of the same color and green energy that makes cars more fuel efficient. The most helpful item by far though is the stop hand. Players place them on the road and once a car hits it they pause for a moment. The player only gets 15 and they lower one's score but being to better control the timing of the cars makes levels a lot easier. Unfortunately, this also highlights how sometimes each stage only feels like it has one true, non-cheat solution that one must simply stumble upon. The game is at its best when it feels like many solutions are possible if one is tricky and creative enough. For example, if one is willing to sacrifice some fuel, they can put a car through a loop cycle instead of using a stop hand to slow it down.
Usually levels involve a lot of trial and error. Luckily, replaying levels is a joy for the senses. While the pleasant, countryside aesthetic might have benefited from some more variety it is still plenty nice to look at. The music however, perfectly captures the sounds of a bustling town and makes them delightful to listen to. The same goes for how multiple tracks are added once multiple cars start driving. Overall, outside of trying to use less fuel and earn more medals or a higher leaderboard spot, the music is the most compelling reason to stick with the game. It's great ambient music on its own.
Again, TrafficWonder HD's biggest accomplishment is turning traffic management into a satisfying puzzle experience instead of just a boring job. It's not the most exciting game but give it time and it can still become an engrossing little diversion.