You can often judge the success of a game by how many imitations it inspires. By that measure, Crazy Taxi is clearly a success, with Simpsons Road Rage, the taxi minigame in Grand Theft Auto 3, and now Parcel Panic using it as inspiration. In this game, the only twist is that instead of people, you transport boxes, and instead of cities, you drive around one quiet town.
The premise of the game is simple and familiar: Drive through town, follow the arrows to destinations where you pick up and drop off boxes, and race against a timer. You do this in an old-fashioned pickup truck that you control with the accelerometer and two touch pedals on the screen. Points are awarded for fast delivery, but are deducted if you lose any boxes from the back of your truck. The accelerometer is utilized well, and the controls are quite easy to pick up.
Looks like the mailman’s gone postal again.
As in Crazy Taxi, jumping madly into the air off of cliffs and bridges is rewarded, despite the danger (don’t take driving lessons from these games). This can be a great deal of fun, except that your boxes must be as light as balloons, because almost any jump jostles them out of your truck, penalizing you immediately after rewarding you. Not only that, but if you do so much as bump into a tree, they may all tumble out as well, which can be quite frustrating.
There are four classes of trucks in Parcel Panic, three of which must be unlocked. Besides having a different paint job, however, these trucks are mostly identical, and don’t offer any customization. To add to this, there is only one rather small town that you can drive around in. Only having one town has one advantage, which is that you get to know the town so well that you find multiple shortcuts, but never seeing any people or new sights made us feel a little lonely.
Parcel Panic has quality graphics and controls, but both of these are marred by the limited scope and faulty physics. If you really enjoy Crazy Taxi, this is not a bad knockoff, but otherwise we’d advise caution.