Parking. It drove me up the wall when I tried to learn to drive 20 years ago. I did indeed suck at it, especially the reverse bay park. You Suck At Parking is easily the best fun you’ll have parking a car by turning it into a time trial and precision based eSport of sorts. Whether single player time trials or multiplayer battles, you’ll be absolutely hooked on its tricky and chaotic level design.
Kicking off, I strongly recommend you spend time in single player campaign mode before taking You Suck At Parking online. This gets you used to the games arcade handling. It reminds me of Micro Machine games where grip is at a premium. This means your car swaps ends happily, can be blown around at will by fans and be punted merrily into the air by punching gloves and hammers. They are glorious tiny little machines that feel nippy but grounded. They lack one thing though – reverse! You can’t overshoot something without trying to U turn back round and try it again and this is where all the fun comes in.
Courses are made up of a number of parking spaces that you’ll need to stop in. You don’t have to be perfectly lined up thankfully, just get a bit of your car in the space and you are good to go. Complete them all without crashing, exploding, running out of fuel or respawning and you’ll ace the level regardless of your time. Every level has an online leaderboard though (complete with friends filter) and the pull of constant improvement to improve your time is mighty. Level layouts are ingenious too. So far there are two biomes. The first is a quaint country setting with city roads, car parks, bends, fans, magnets, hammers, mines and barriers that make you explode. They get increasingly more complex but never so crazy that they feel overly stupid. Some of the larger levels require a bit of parking space finding first and require multiple goes to get it right. This is especially true when other cars and cop cars are introduced to smash you off the road. I was less keen on these specific levels but they are still well built and structured. The second biome is a winter island where everything is now extra slippy and ice poles can turn you into an icecube if you stay too close to them for a few seconds. Watch with a grin as your icecube car slides down a slope and perfectly stops on a parking space. There are some real chefs kiss moments.
The single player campaign is superb as you first unlock levels, then complete them, then ace them whilst going up the leaderboards. All this gives you XP for some customisation of your car and online does this too. This is one of two areas where I feel You Suck At Parking has got it a bit wrong. The game has a season pass but only some of the cosmetics are unlockable after you’ve bought the game. I then saw there was a season pass where you can unlock items from season 1’s pass but on closer inspection – this isn’t unlocking everything. Instead, despite paying £17 for a game and £7.49 for a season pass, there’s actually £45 worth of cosmetics if you actually want to buy them all. This feels really over the top and its certainly something I won’t be engaging with on principle. The way its implemented means you unlock these things in a menu only for the game to just deny your rewards. It feels scummy.
The second, much more minor misstep initially is that online has taken a live service view. When playing online there are about 15 levels that are designed for multiplayer only. They work like complex mazes with 8 – 12 parking spaces on and each round is a race to see who gets to park in them all first. The mode is an absolute blast and great fun to play. Servers have been rock solid after the first 2 days and I love the mode. The issue is that levels will be rotated every few weeks, so the breadth of content is being managed, meaning you won’t likely see or get to play with anything tailored to your own liking. You can’t yet play with friends, its all random, but friends is apparently landing next month. It will need careful management to ensure the game stays fresh and fun and hopefully online custom modes and set ups can feature in the future.
You Suck At Parking is utterly fantastic to play though. You can choose to ignore the cosmetic microtransactions until a more balanced approach is found. I will. This game is a riot to play. Ingenious tricky level design, cohesive and predictable enough handling and physics and an overall look and feel of something you just want to spend hours on. This is probably one of my favourite time trial based racing games alongside the Trackmania and Trials series. With more things coming such as a third biome, more online levels and friend invites, I can’t see any reason for this game to veer off course post launch. It deserves your full attention.
You Suck At Parking
Utterly playable single player campaign and chaotic online multiplayer sets You Suck At Parking apart from the rest. With more promised incoming to complete the current gaps at launch, this looks to be one of the best titles released in 2022.
Perfect arcade handling and physics.
Clever track design where skill, patience and doggedness is rewarded.
Nails that just-one-more-go gameplay.
Online leaderboards for everything keep you returning.
Online multiplayer is a blast to play.
Those cosmetic microtransactions feel underhanded.
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