Update

Parcel Panic has received the update treatment which provides OpenFeint. Online high scores are included for each of the four car types plus overall score, and there are 30 achievements. OpenFeint definitely helps with replayability, but the gameplay still has the same problem.

The game seems to play at just too slow of a pace no matter which car you use which loses the main Crazy Taxi appeal. Replaybality was the biggest problem though, and there’s now attainable achievements and high score tables. Also the routes are randomized automatically rather than manually.

The price has also dropped, and it’s definitely worth it at $0.99, and the only crazy taxi type game on the iPhone.

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Overview

Parcel Panic – Post Car Racer 3D has a similar premise to Crazy Taxi, but rather than picking up people you’re picking up crates. You race from location to location picking up crates at one, and dropping them off at another. This genre is relatively unrepresented on the iPhone, and Mad Processor attempts to change that.
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Features

One map is included, that being of Tapiti Island which is full of steep cliffs, and an upper grouping of buildings as well as a lower grouping. Four cars are unlockable, and each one unlocks a new route on Tapiti Island though the map doesn’t change.

You collect parcels at one location that flashes green, and deliver them at the next flashing green location. There is an arrow pointing you in the right direction, and a dotted green line suggesting the path to take. Controls are straightforward with tilt to steer, gas in the bottom left, and brake in the bottom right.

Each level has 60 seconds, and you earn a little time with each collection and delivery of packages. Each of the four cars are unlocked at certain point plateaus. Free ride mode is also included to just cruise the island without any deliveries or time constraints.
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The Good

The gameplay is just like the hectic Crazy Taxi fun, but simply replaced with packages. With only 60 seconds you need to fly around the island to reach the scores to unlock the next cars. The racing objective gameplay of crazy taxi is always great, and especially on the go.

A really great aspect is you can drive wherever you want, flying off cliffs, offroad, and even up the side of rock walls. You will need to find the shortcuts to achieve the top scores, and it’s great to find them, and then make a jump to get to them. Also nothing holds the packages down so you have to be careful when jumping as they may just fly out. It’s really fun the first few times leaping off the hills to get to the locations faster.
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The game looks outstanding with everything rendered in 3D with a great cartoonish style just like Crazy Taxi. Every aspect of the island is finely detailed, from the harbor and lighthouse to the cobble stoned streets of the suburbs. At high speeds the game flows without a hitch. Small note, it does look even better on a 3GS.

The included physics engine is well done with the car tipping and tilting accurately when in the air, landing, and driving up the side of the hill. There is a nice action packed upbeat soundtrack, like something from the Matrix. There is one line, “yeehaahh” when you deliver packages. The controls make for a smooth driving mechanic, but the tilting isn’t as nice as other iPhone driving games.

The Bad

There is only one map, and it’s small. After playing one game you’ve pretty much seen the entire landscape of the island. There are four unlockables, but each one just increases skills of the car, and the route of the building, but doesn’t change the map itself.
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The gameplay mechanic never changes, and you will end up seeing the same locations over and over. After a couple races you’ve played the entire game, and there is no reason to ever play it again. The few unlockables provide some kind of change, but the only noticeable difference is a paint job, and a little speed.

The game also seems just a gear slow no matter what car you’re in. It would have that true arcade taxi feel if all cars were a gear faster, and with more open roads. There are numerous tight squeezes that cost you quite a bit of time. Now they add to the challenge which is welcome, but they take away from the arcade feel which is a must for the genre.
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Though there are four routes, one for each car, the route never changes for a particular car (unless you change it manually). You always hit the same places once you select a car which limits the variability and replayabiltiy further. For some reason the score is nowhere to be seen in the gameplay screen, so you never know how close you are to unlocking the next car. You’re given the score at the end, but there are no online capabilities in the game.

The Verdict

Parcel Panic- Post Car Racer 3D brings the true Crazy Taxi like fun to the iPhone in a beautiful package. There is only one map though, and you’ve played the whole game after only a couple races. Production values can’t make up for that.

Parcel Panic is only worth considering because there is too little included to recommend. If you like Crazy Taxi type games though, this is the best choice on the iPhone.