Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
When a game gives you an achievement for reaching a measly five points you know it’s not going to be easy. P.A.C.O. is exceptionally difficult, but unfortunately that doesn’t translate to being a great game.
You control a prisoner with one arm who is attempting to make their way out of jail. They attempt to do this by climbing ladders over the prison gate - trying to outclimb the prison guard behind them, while also not falling off due to their disability. Controls are one-touch and quite simple to remember: tap on the screen when you want to jump and hope.
Timing is everything. Absolutely everything. Jump too early and you don’t make it, plummeting to your death. Jump too late and the prison guard grabs you before you manage to make it. The window for success is incredibly narrow. Even when you figure out that the key is to tap when your feet are on a yellow rung on the ladder, that’s far from a guarantee for you success.
That’s as complex as P.A.C.O. gets. While the look of your prisoner changes occasionally, there’s no real evolution to what it has to offer. If you do manage to last any length of time your sole reward is in the form of achievements and a sense of satisfaction, rather than discovering anything new. It lacks real impetus in terms of encouraging you to pursue what comes next.
Difficulty is all and well good, and can often make a game. P.A.C.O. isn’t that kind of game, though. Instead, it feels like a matter of perseverance and stubbornness rather than providing a sense of enjoyment. It might look quite charming but that charm soon fades. Masochists might appreciate what P.A.C.O. has to offer, but even they’ll soon become a little too infuriated for comfort.