You Suck at Parking
It’s always great when it’s finally time to write up a game we’ve been following for a while, and as Belgian developers Happy Volcano recently put the finishing touches to You Suck at Parking, we were as excited as anybody to give it a whirl! After 18-months of tracking, would this crazy arcade-racer get the checkered flag, or would it sputter off the line and burst into flames?
At A Glance
|Positives||+ Bonkers gameplay that’s highly addictive|
+ Charming and playful visuals
+ Madcap multiplayer mode
|Negatives||– Tricky gameplay might frustrate the impatient!|
– Multiplayer suffers some performance issues
– Limited soundtrack gets a little repetitive
|Price (When Reviewed)||£16.99|
|Our Playtime||5 hours 30 mins|
|Available On||PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S|
I got my first hands-on with You Suck at Parking via a demo at Gamescom 2022 and was more than enthused about what I played. This is no dad-simulator parking game though – no – You Suck at Parking is a racing game, where the aim is to come to an accurate stop as quickly as possible. Each of the wacky courses is littered with a number of parking spots, and it’s your objective to successfully steer your little car around the track and stop in each of the spaces before the level timer runs out. Sounds simple? Well, it’s anything but – but that’s what makes it so much fun!
What I failed to mention is that the courses are far from straight forward, and are filled with all manner of obstacles designed to derail your attempts at the perfect park. There’s enormous magnets that pull you off course, gigantic hammers that knock you to Kingdom-Come and energised barriers that cause your car to explode at the slightest touch – and more where those came from. And that’s not to mention the fuel gauge, requiring you to race through the course at breakneck speed, or the fact that you can’t come to a halt prior to the parking spot (because stopping counts as parking) or even put your car into reverse. The concept is frankly hilarious, and after just a few minutes of play you’ll find yourself absolutely hooked.
While You Suck at Parking has a lot of positives, the gameplay is undoubtedly the star of the show. Firing off the start line, barreling around corners and repeatedly blowing up your cars until you get your lines just right is highly addictive. The levels offer varying degrees of challenge, and it’s equally satisfying beating a simple level in a quick time as it is overcoming a really tough one after an inordinate number of attempts. The trial and error and the repetition of each tricky corner builds your muscle memory in the same way a precision-platformer would, and you soon get used to the nuisances of each level and the game as a whole, giving a great sense of achievement as you overcome each stage.
The controls are responsive and clean and allow you to zip around the courses reliably (though hills can cause some problems, as you’ll temporarily leave the ground and lose the ability to turn if you take them on at too much speed). The cars do use ‘tank controls’ though which might cause frowns from some players, but I happen to like the often-maligned steering method and enjoyed zooming around like it was 1991 and playing Micro Machines again. The game speed seems to be just right too – you always feel like you’re teetering on the edge of in command and out of control, and wrangling your little motor after hitting a speed boost is sure to get your adrenaline pumping!
It is worth noting that I consider myself a pretty skilled and patient player, but You Suck at Parking did manage to induce some road rage in me from time to time! The more difficult levels really are difficult, and the precision required could be rage-quit inducing for players struggling to master the finer points. Whilst great fun it’s also unforgiving, so I encourage players to get used to the idea of practising hard if you want to complete the game to a high percentage.
You Suck at Parking completely grabs your attention, with visuals that absolutely pop off the screen. The 3D models are put together in a fun and chunky style, and every inch of the game is splashed in colour to give an incredibly eye-catching look. The sound design does its best to keep up too, with fun motor and horn sounds, all backed by some lovely sedate music to help keep you from exploding with rage, but there isn’t really enough variety and the level themes can get a touch repetitive, especially if you’re tackling a tricky stage.
The game delivers 100 levels spanning two different biomes, and the game challenges you to unlock them all. In order to even play all of the levels, you’ll have to stack up what Happy Volcano calls ‘Perfect Parks’, meaning that you need to fill all of the parking spots in a level without losing a car, requiring a pristine run around the course. Collect enough Perfect Parks and you can unlock cannons to shoot you to a new area, opening up a new slate of levels and even more chaos. The completion of the 100 levels available doesn’t mean the end of the game though, as Happy Volcano will soon be releasing a further biome and even more levels to play, with the potential to keep adding free content as the months roll on.
Once you’ve start/stopped your way through all of the single-player levels, there’s a lot of mileage left in You Suck at Parking via the absolutely bonkers multiplayer mode. Essentially, the gameplay is the same – you’re still blasting around a course at full speed in an attempt to park in every spot, but now you’re competing for pace with up to another seven players who are all driving around at the same time! It is, in a word: bedlam. You’ll be smashing and crashing into one another, making the courses all the more difficult to navigate, but this only works to add to the fun. The objective is to be the fastest to park in every spot, or to be the player who parked in the most spaces when the time runs out if the level is proving too difficult to complete.
There’s a catalogue of 60 multiplayer levels that rotate to keep them fresh, and while the gameplay doesn’t change a whole lot, the entire package is amplified by the addition of more players and the competitive juices that this encourages. I didn’t play a huge amount of the multiplayer, but when I did, I had a whale of a time. The only downside I found with the chaotic multiplayer was that I sometimes experienced some noticeable lag which was more than a little annoying – in a game that needs absolute accuracy and timing, even a jitter of delay can derail your attempt and create some frustration.
Happy Volcano opted to release You Suck at Parking with a Season Pass model, allowing them the opportunity to use the funds from the games sales to continue developing content post release, and there’s plenty planned in the coming months. While there’s some fun aesthetic options available to for all players to unlock, those choosing to pick up the Season 1: Parking Pass (RRP £7.49) get tonnes more unlockables available, with more car types, colour schemes, patterns, exhausts and other silly add-ons for their vehicle that can only be collected once you’ve clambered over the pay wall. There’s an incredible number of themed bundles available to purchase too, should you be so inclined, and like all the best paid optional-DLC, it’s aesthetic only and doesn’t provide any other benefits in single- or multiplayer.
You Suck at Parking is a breakneck romp that manages to balance tricky gameplay with hilarity and good fun, resulting in a wonderful all around experience. It’s bright and vibrant, with an adorable visual style that fits the gameplay style to a tee, and while the limited audio tracks aren’t quite as engaging, that’s probably a nit-pick. With 100 levels ‘out of the box’ and many more to come for those willing to pay for the Season Pass, there’s a tonne of enjoyment to be had – especially with a manic, if a little laggy, multiplayer mode available too. Perfectionists and speedrunners will have a field day, but a word of warning to those players short on patience – this might not be the game for you!
In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.