Developer: Tree Men Games
Size: 435.9 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
As driving games go, Pako 3 couldn’t be much simpler. Steer left, steer right. That’s literally all you have to do.
Where the interest and variety comes is in the sheer amount of stuff you have to steer around, and the many vehicles and environments in which you can do so.
At its heart, Pako 3 is the same game of cops and robbers that this series has always been. Starting out in the first isometric arena with your wheezing station wagon, you must avoid a steadily increasing number of kamikaze cops.
Each hit you take, whether from those aggressive law enforcement agents or the obstacles around you, will deplete your health bar. Hit zero, and it’s run over.
The goal is to last as long as you can, with a series of milestones (30 seconds, 40 seconds etc.) granting you cash rewards to add to the coins that are liberally sprinkled among the twisted metal and explosions of each run.
That cash is there to be spent on new vehicles, which might be faster, tougher, or more nimble than your current ride.
Picking the right car for the right level is important, as not all of the stages you steadily unlock are built the same. Some are wide open arenas and reward straight line speed, while others hem you in and required deft wheel work. Others throw deadly hazards at you, like careening trains or destructive tanks.
Some levels aren’t arena face-offs at all, but rather track-based or point-to-point races. In these instances, the idea is to complete a lap or course as quickly as possible – something that’s made infinitely tougher by a pack of AI rivals who don’t respect your right to the racing line. There are also boss levels to overcome.
The isometric graphics are simple but incredibly effective, with an exaggerated comic-book art style suiting the world to perfection. The game’s electronic soundtrack and crunching sound effects are similarly spot on.
If we were to issue any criticism, it might be towards the relentlessly grinding nature of the game. It’s free to play, and the game has been built to make you work for your level and car unlocks after the introductory spell. If you don’t have the right tool for the job, it can take an awful lot of repetition to progress.
You can pay a pretty reasonable one-off $3.99/£3.49 fee to unlock everything, but many may simply lose interest before they splash any cash to progress. There are frequent (if short) ads sprinkled throughout the free version, too.
Pako 3 nonetheless presents is a slick brand of arcadey automotive chaos, from a developer that has become a dab hand at such things through its own obsessive repetition.