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you suck at parking

Review: You Suck at Parking

Posted on September 14, 2022 by Michael Boccher

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It’s an entertaining, arcade “racer” at the top of its genre which allows the player to experience it however they wish. It’s a truly fun experience that pits you against your own ego, allowing for hours of both fun and rage

You Suck at Parking is the newest game that uses human emotion to prove its name accurate. It’s the newest timed, indie racer by Happy Volcano that uses a top down view to let you zip your way around  a track in order to park a car in teeny-tiny parking spaces.

The game uses a cartoonish animation with tracks filled with all kinds of obstacles, power-ups and modifiers. There are 100 individual levels in the single player campaign and every five levels are situated in their own section. The multiplayer was allows for up to 4 players at once compete in levels separate from the campaign. Don’t worry though, they aren’t slacking in content. A total of 60 online levels are included on a rotational basis, as Happy Volcano has confirmed they will be switched out for new levels every two weeks to ensure a fresh experience for all.

The single player campaign in You Suck at Parking was incredibly fun. It’s been a while since a game made me laugh and rage at the same time. Some levels saw me crashing all over on the easiest parts in disbelief, while other saw me zip through seemingly impossible parts flawlessly. Every level has multiple spots you need to park your car in with multiple caveats. You’ll run into jump pads, cliffs, gas cans, explosive walls, police cars, booster pads, fans, magnets and more. The goal is to park a car in each spot prior to the time running out. Each time you crash or respawn, of course, you lose a few seconds as a penalty. Oh, I forgot the biggest part – You can’t stop. That’s right, stopping is losing in You Suck at Parking. There is no reverse and if you stop the car, a little flag pops up and that’s where you end. If it’s not in a spot, oh well, respawn and try again. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’d over shoot a spot to see a flawless run go to hell. There is a trick though, which I’ll get to at the end.

Phew! Finally made it

The setup of You Suck at Parking makes it a good thing that the control scheme is so incredibly smooth and fluid. It’s extremely easy to get a handle on using its natural momentum, yet it pits you against yourself at the same time. Right from the jump, the title “You Suck at Parking” pisses you off. It generates a “Yeah, ok. Watch this. I suck? I’ll show you” reaction. The first couple levels suck you in (no pun intended) as they are pretty easy. You’re done after that. You’ll find yourself time and again starting a level, crashing, whispering “f*** you” and getting even more pissed off because somehow you’ve relegated your skills in this fun, arcade style game to your actual parking skills in real life. As crazy as that sounds, by all means I can see it as the developer’s intention, because it plays on your ego to increase the level of enjoyment. I see you Happy Volcano – it worked.

You’ll need to progress in a certain manner in order to advance through the campaign. A pink “P” fills the spot to let you know it’s completed. You’ll need to complete all the spots to beat the level. If you park in a spot without any flaws or respawns, you will earn a gold star in the spot. You will need to get a certain amounts of gold stars, not just completed spots, to unlock additional levels. There is an issue with the way in which this is set up, however. The gold stars are level based and not individual spot based. This means if you start a level and blow through the first three spots without any issue, you’ll earn three gold stars. The first three gold stars are changed to normal completed spots, however, if you crash on the 4th spot, and all of your progress is shot to hell. This was the only thing in the game that I saw as unfair. As fun as You Suck at Parking is, the overall vibe and progress of the game took a hit with this setup. The levels should be individual based, and hopefully it can be changed in an update in the future.

Fireballs and Magnets? No Problem

You Suck at Parking I found to be a tale of two games: A game against the clock and a game against yourself. You’ll need to properly balance the two in order to succeed, and that’s where the fun sets in. A leaderboard auto-generates after every level showing you your time and what place you are in the worldwide boards. A quick button press will swap out to the top of the leaderboard. This is where the balance comes in. You’ll have to fight your natural urge in response to yelling at your TV screen “Seriously! How did they get THAT fast a time! Bullshit! No Way!” and not go for gold right away. Starting a level, you should immediately try to simply complete the level and DO NOT go for the gold stars. There is too much variety and always something you don’t expect popping up. Who cares when you crash? Just fly through and try to get the best time. Once you beat the level and see the obstacles, the next step is easy: JUST…GO….SLOW. That’s it. As long as you keep moving, you are good. There’s no reason to hold the trigger button down. It’s only going to cause you to rage similar to that one obstacle in Fall Guys that keeps banging you off the course. The trick is to keep tapping the trigger. This will cause you to speed up and slow down, but not stop, and you’ll complete the level much easier.

You’ll be able to beat most of the levels without incident this way. “Most” being the key word here. The later levels see additions of police cars and other random cars inserted into the tracks. If a police car simply touches you, it’s over. Respawn. If a random car hits you, it’s over. Respawn. If you get knocked into a wall and can’t back up, it’s over. Respawn. The WORST is when you finally beat a level, land in a spot and some random car knocks you off and erases your progress. What annoyed me the most about You Suck at Parking is the game eliminates any logical ability one has to blame the game for one’s failures. Instead, anything you fail at is completely on you. Not only is it your own ego and urge to beat the clock, but also your ability to decipher from simply beating the level and HOW to beat the level in order to get the gold stars and not just a completed spot. Any possible way you screw up in You Suck at Parking is your fault and yours alone.

In all the levels I was able to play, nothing seemed repetitive. There was a great variety of ingenuity between track design and obstacle layout that on multiple instances made me say “Jesus, how’d they come up with this crap?” It was refreshing to see all new levels each time and not reskins of different obstacles as it showed the level of enjoyment put into the game’s development. The ability to add little cosmetic items to my car by using my earned parking tokens was also fun.

Better take the right angle off the jump

Overall, I put about eight hours into the campaign and was able to complete 84 of the campaign levels. I didn’t count how many gold stars. Although I was going for all gold stars for my own sense of accomplishment, I had to ramp up my time in order to complete the levels I did because of the messed up way the game allows you to earn them.

You should play You Suck at Parking, as it’s a truly fun experience that pits you against your own ego. It’s an entertaining, arcade “racer” at the top of its genre which allows the player to experience it however they wish. You will be pissed at yourself. It is not for everyone though. Fans of the racing and puzzle genres will enjoy it as it’s a blend of the two. Other genres, will most likely get tired of the preciseness needed in order to advance.

The online multiplayer was a refreshing treat compared to other online games. Up to eight players at once compete in order to try and park their cars. Of course, the other three players, along with all the obstacles, are solely focused on smashing you off the screen. There was a lot of fun as I crushed someone off the screen just as they were about to park. As a counterpoint, there was just as much fun when it happened to me. There are 60 levels in the online portion as noted, and Happy Volcano has stated that they will be swapping them out continuously every two weeks. It’s the only game I’ve played in a while online that my reaction to another player when I died was something like “DAMN! Ok good job!” or “Nice One! Just got me!” Surprisingly, not once did I get pissed off. It’s a great point to the developers as the fluid setup and overall tone of the game can let me say that You Suck at Parking was truly one of the most insanely fun experiences I’ve ever had online.

You Suck at Parking is available now on Steam and Xbox for both purchase and day one with Game Pass.

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