Parking Dash PC review

A decent enough way to spend a lunch hour. But it is still a game about parking cars...

Just when you think Playfirst can’t possibly pull any more ideas out of the hat, they go and surprise you! All the same, I thought Parking Dash was a bit of a strange one. Perhaps it’s just a British thing, but don’t women generally (and more often, wrongly) get the mickey taken out of them for their often non-existent parking skills? Therefore I was expecting some kind of test on my reverse parking….

Luckily, Parking Dash is no such thing. Yes, you’re parking cars, but there’s no steering, reversing or gear changing involved. As with all of the other Dash games, you simply point and click. On inheriting a small piece of land in Dinertown, you plan to sell to Mr Big and be on your way, but no, it’s Flo to the rescue (cor, that girl gets around!). She explains that Mr Big is in fact a meanie and the people of Dinertown don’t want him owning any businesses in the area. By a mere coincidence, there’s a parking crisis in the town.

I know – let’s use the piece of land as a parking lot! Genius. And there is the plot. You basically have a parking lot, and people will come and queue up for you to park their cars, then they’ll go off shopping, or for a spot of lunch. Where’s the challenge in that? I hear you ask! Well, regardless of what time they pitch up and want a space, they’ll all have different amounts of time they wish to park their cars for.

Therefore, you’ll have to make sure that you park the cars in such a way that you can get the ones out easily when the customers who are gone for the shortest period come back. Sometimes you’ll have enough empty spaces to shuffle things around – but if you don’t plan right and there’s nowhere to shuffle to, and your customer is getting irate… well, you may just lose some money.

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It’s basically a matter of common sense. Always park the cars whose owners want to stay the longest in the back spaces, and the quicker ones in front. After a few levels you’ll soon get the hang of it.

However, in true casual game style, things aren’t always that simple. You will start to see different types of cars and trucks, for example a limousine which takes up the length of two spaces, and a huge truck which takes up the width of two spaces. Park one of those wrongly and you could end up with lots of angry little customers. Make them wait too long, and you’ll return their car and they’ll race off at the speed of light, and, not only will they not pay you, you’ll actually have points deducted off your total! So it’s important to keep your eye on the ball, or the car, as it were.

There are power ups too – for example, you can earn a power up which will make you run faster, or you can upgrade the tarmac so the cars drive faster, and you wash dirty cars faster. Yep, you have to wash the damn vehicles too! Not all of them, of course, but sometimes you’ll get several dirty vehicles you need to wash before the owner comes back, all the while parking the new cars which turn up!

As you can see, you end up with quite a lot on your plate as the levels progress. However, I’m confident that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be whizzing around that car park like a pro. It’s not as challenging as some of the other games, I only had to replay levels a couple of times, but it’s still a pleasant enough game to while away a few hours. But it will only be a few.

The sound is quite good; you can cycle through different radio stations to keep you occupied, and the graphics are reasonable, though not quite as slick as some of the other Dash titles. Overall, if you’re a fan of Flo and her friends, you’ll be hard pushed not to gain some enjoyment from this, but it’s nothing outstanding.

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3 out of 5