Pako Review (IOS)
Pako is a car chase simulator which takes just several seconds to play and at times is absolutely infuriating. If you have a little patience, however, this might be a ride worth taking.
Sans any tutorial or cut scene preamble, Pako places you in the driver’s set right from the get go, and your job is to stay alive for as long as possible. Since the only way to control your vehicle is to touch the left and right side of your screen, quickly crashing and burning is inevitable. Each car on every level is speeds up like a getaway car, and your vehicles will blow up by merely touching most objects in your path.
This dynamic results in an entirely difficult game to play, as surviving a mere 30 seconds is considered a minor victory (as well as a well earned GameCenter achievement). Whether you’re smashing into a house or getting rear-ended by police cars, there are a ton of ways to die In Pako.
Pako’s major strength rests on its attention to detail. Although the visual style is intentionally squared off and boxy, the game’s color palette is an eye popper, and each maze is intricately constructed. The audio work, which is blessed with addictive, electronic music from Finnish producer DKSTR as well as realistic sound effects, is absolutely sublime. Headphones are highly recommended while playing the game, as Pako brings a hypnotic auditory element to the proceedings. If Ryan Gosling’s character from ‘Drive’ was an app enthusiast, Pako would probably be in his mobile gaming rotation.
To date there are five different levels (cemetery, mall, suburbia, square, highway) to explore, and all of these sections are available to play from the jump. While racing through the cemetery in what appears to be a green hearse, you can run over zombies to increase your overall time (each zombie killed adds one second to your score). If you’re in the mood to dodge a few tanks, drive through the square with a high powered rickshaw and evade the green monster’s tremendous firepower. Under suburbia mode, you’re tearing through the streets with an orange muscle car and attempting not to smash into those well manicured lawns.
The gameplay may be simple in concept, but by offering us creatively inspired environments (the running over zombies element is my favorite element), Pako is almost firing on all cylinders. It’s an app that’s worth the $0.99 download, especially since the game doesn’t come with any in-app purchases. What you see is what you get with Pako, and sometimes simplicity can absolutely rule the day.
My only concern for Pako rests on its longevity. It’s a wonderful pick-up-and-play experience for now, but will I return to this app six months from now? I wouldn’t be surprised if Tree Men Games adds a few levels with further updates just to keep things fresh. One never knows where the road will take us, but for now I’m really enjoying the ride Pako has to offer.
This review is based on a downloaded copy of Pako for iOS.