As we talked about on a recent podcast a couple of weeks ago, I've been mildly obsessed with Blinkbat Games' latest iOS release No Brakes Valet [$1.99]. And by mildly obsessed, I mean that it's the game I'm playing while ignoring all the much more important things in my life like friends and family. Sorry, guys. Anyway, No Brakes Valet is a wacky take on the "parking game" genre, of which there are hundreds or even thousands of on the App Store. What is it about trying to perfectly park a lot full of vehicles that's so engaging? I don't know exactly, but whatever it is No Brakes Valet takes it and cranks it up to eleven.

I also mentioned on our podcast that for a brief period I held the number one spot in the world on the No Brakes Valet Game Center leaderboard. I've since been overtaken, but seeing as this is one of the rare times I'm actually halfway decent at a video game, I thought I'd share some of my pointers to help No Brakes newbies get a handle on the world of extreme car parking.

No Brakes Valet comes with three modes, but I'm just focusing on the original mode here, mostly because it's the one I've dedicated the most time to. Here you're tasked with parking twenty cars in a lot which has a total of twenty-four available spaces. Vehicles will zoom in from either of two different entry points at the bottom of the screen, and you'll need to park them in spaces as accurately as possible. You're then scored on your performance in the form of monetary "tips" which will vary depending on how well you parked each vehicle within the lines of the spot.

nbvKnow The Lot

The first tip is to know the lot. All the spaces in your lot are fair game for any vehicle except for two. The first is a clearly marked handicap spot, and you'll want to make sure to not park any vehicle here or else you'll get slapped with a hefty $20 fine which will hugely impact your final score. Whatever you do, keep the handicap spot clear.

The second special type of space is a spot marked "VIP." This spot is meant for the Prime Minister's vehicle, which the game will alert you of when it enters the screen. This spot is CRUCIAL as a perfectly parked VIP vehicle will net you a $50 tip.

Pay attention to both of these special circumstance spots, and if you either mis-park the VIP vehicle or accidentally park in the handicap spot, you might as well just restart your round.

The next thing to know about the lot are the additional upper parking spaces at the top of the screen. These spots are important because they practically guarantee a perfectly parked vehicle as they contain hard barriers around the top and sides which will guide you right in. The two outermost spots even line up perfectly with the two entry points at the bottom of the screen, so at the very least you can nail two perfectly parked vehicles without even needing to steer simply by braking right into those spots.

In addition, being that where the VIP or handicap spot are placed is random with each game, sometimes you'll end up with a game that has the VIP spot located in one of the upper spots. Use that to your advantage, as that makes it even easier to ensure you'll score the $50 tip for parking the VIP perfectly. On the flip side, if I start a game with the handicap spot in one of those upper spots, I instantly restart as it's wasteful to have an unusable parking space in one of those "gimme" parking spaces.

Know Your Vehicles

Another important thing to learn are the different vehicles in No Brakes Valet. There are a variety of different vehicles, and it's random which ones will be in any given game. But the different vehicles each have different attributes which can be helpful to know about when trying to make split second decisions on where and how to park them.

For example, the tiny orange-colored compact car brakes incredibly efficiently, making it the easiest to maneuver into a tight spot and stop on a dime. The yellow school bus, on the other hand, is big and heavy, and doesn't slow down as quickly, so you'll probably want to give yourself additional room to let it coast into a spot you've lined up with, and brake a bit earlier with it too. Then there are some abstract vehicles, like a truck towing a boat behind it where the added boat can really throw off the weight of the vehicle. With a few rounds you should be able to familiarize yourself with the different car types which should help out while going for that elusive high score.

nbv1General Strategy

As for a general strategy to playing No Brakes Valet, I typically try to fill up the four upper spots right off the bat (unless one is marked VIP of course) and then try to fill up the columns of painted spots from the top to the bottom. If a car enters from the right hand side, I aim for parking it in the lefthand columns, as that gives you more time to properly slow down and line up your car. Then I'll simply let it coast into a spot, feathering the brake as I go until it's right where I want it and then firmly planting down on the brake.

I try to fill in every spot in order from top to bottom based on what side the vehicle enters, but since some vehicles rush in going incredibly fast this isn't always possible. In those cases I brake and then let the car do a lap around the whole lot to slow it down some more before aiming for one of the open spots. You can get a maximum of $10 for each perfectly parked car, and $50 for the VIP, so the optimal score you're shooting for is $240. There will also be money that randomly pops up somewhere in the lot at various points, and although you'll need to deviate a bit from the strategy I talked about above, it's in your best interest to try and collect those whenever you see them for even more cash to put towards your score.

No Brakes!

But wait, why is there all this talk about braking in a game called No Brakes Valet? Good question. The normal mode does feature braking in all vehicles except for one. The game will warn you when that "no brakes" vehicle enters the screen, and there are a couple of ways to deal with not being able to manually slow down.

One is to simply drive in circles and let your momentum naturally dwindle, hopefully timing it well enough to where you come to a complete stop right in one of the parking spaces. It's tricky, but it can be done. Another tactic I've used is to slightly bump into a wall to slow yourself down, though this can be even trickier as if you hit the wall too hard or at a severe angle it can cause you to spin out. There's not guaranteed good way to deal with vehicles that have no brakes, and more often than not it will simply come down to good luck.

The "no brakes" of No Brakes Valet really comes into play in the bonus round of the game, which you'll get to play if you score at least $100 in the normal mode. Here, NONE of the vehicles have brakes, and you'll have ten of them that you need to park. To add to the difficulty, each of the "gimme" spots at the top of the screen contains an explosive barrel.

My strategy in this round is to actually drive right into the explosive barrels, and then after the blowback try to circle my car while it's reversing until the momentum slows down naturally. Hopefully, I'll be able to stop it parked nicely in an available spot, but more importantly I've now cleared out one of the "gimme" spots. If you can manage to clear out all four, that should be a fairly easy $40 in the bonus round right off the bat. If you're able to park even more cars well in the painted spots, then your final score can really jump up.

Conclusion

No Brakes Valet is one of those games that's sort of hard to "get" in just the first few minutes, but it's actually a surprisingly complex little game. Hopefully some of these strategies prove useful in helping you achieve a better score, or just plain understand the game at all.

As mentioned, there's two other modes available in the game as well. 2 Brakes 2 Valet gives you a new parking lot layout, some new vehicles, and the addition of pedestrians which you must not run over (or if you do, you better revive them with an ambulance). Then there's No Brakes Valet: Ontario Drift, which is more or less like the other modes but with junk strewn all over the lot and much more volatile vehicles to park. Plus, both these additional modes have awesome bonus rounds.

Really, there's plenty here to master for the aspiring valet. If you have your own tips for any of the modes feel free to share in the comments below.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Trust me, I'm a professional.

    • Joe Welke

      Professional what?

  • mattreeder

    I love how the ipad has really interesting games with local multiplayer on one screen (badland, king of opera, neon shadow). This game really takes advantage of the ipad size to make an amazing competitive game. Definitely worth the $2.99!

    • mattreeder

      *$1.99

  • bones boy

    This game wasn't even on my radar and now it is. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • jonnyborders

    Wow, this game is crazily addictive. Just spent over an hour getting to number 4 on the leaderboards (oh yeah...) and it felt like minutes. Thanks for destroying my evening Jared!

  • Tim Jordan

    Until I read this review I had no idea there were alternative mode/maps! I love how Ontario Drift adds in literal bumper cars to the mix!