Sometimes a title says it all. Sometimes the name of an iOS game gives you all the information you need to know to make an assumption about the quality of the game. It can give you an almost exact idea of how interesting, engaging, and exciting a game will be. All of that said, let’s have a look at Trucker: Parking Simulator. Will this title transcend the shackles of its name and provide a truly engaging and unique experience, or will it turn out to be as bland and boring as its moniker suggests?
Trucker: Parking Simulator sounds like something you have to play in a big arcade cabinet at the DMV to get a commercial driver’s license. It doesn’t sound like something that you’d tap up on your iPad to play as relaxation after a hard day’s work, especially if you’re a truck driver.
If you haven’t gathered from the riveting title, Trucker: Parking Simulator is just that. A parking simulator. You have a series of levels of increasing difficulty based around one industrial estate with adjusting obstacles. That is about it. You have a choice of control schemes. You can use the gyroscope or use arrows or a wheel that appear on screen. You also get a gear shifter with forward and backward and a set of pedals. It is all pretty standard fare for a game that involves motorized vehicles. The intriguing addition to the controls comes in the form of camera controls. You can get a full 360 degree view of your truck whenever you need by selecting the appropriate camera icon. This comes in handy when you consider the gameplay.
The main point of the game is to drive your truck quickly and accurately around a selection of obstacles. Then, as the title suggests, you need to park your truck within the green lines at the end of the run. The camera system allows you to get a decent view around your truck so you can avoid hitting anything and losing points. For many of the first few levels, you’ll do well with just laying on the gas, steering where you need, then stand on the brakes when you need to make it into the parking spot. The difficulty does increase where you need to manage your speed and try not to jacknife your truck around a serpentine course. But even then, it never becomes too difficult.
For all of that riveting gameplay, there are a number of serious issues. First of all, this game is littered with advertisements. Yes, it is a free game, but when upgraded trucks are behind paywalls and you’re bombarded with pop up ads and banners, it becomes so much of an annoyance that you want to snap your iPhone. Before I even opened up the first level, I was hit with one pop up ad, a paywall for an upgraded truck, and two banner ads. I know it is a free title, but there is a tasteful way to include revenue generating advertisements. It would be much better without a liberal slathering in ads.
The second, and final, major issue with the game is that is simply boring. The visuals are uninspired and look humdrum. The soundtrack is unremarkable and the level layout is just an open parking lot with different road cones in scattered arrangements. The sum of all of this game’s parts are dull and mediocre at best. It doesn’t capture your attention or suck you in like other games.
What would make the game much more fun would be if they went completely over-the-top with the surroundings. You have to make a delivery at a theme park and have to steer your way around cotton candy stands and clowns on your way to the parking lot. The addition of an in-the-cab view with the option to use mirrors would add a whole new level of authenticity and difficulty that would actually capture how hard it is to actually park one of these behemoths.
All in all, Trucker: Parking Simulator is as dull and uninspired as its name suggests. If it had taken some time to stand out from the crowd and go above and beyond its moniker, it could have been something interesting, silly, and fun. But as it stands, it is a truck parking simulator. And who wants to tell their friends that they’ve been playing that?