The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Pako – Car Chase Simulator ($1.99) from Tree Men Games has to be right up near the top of my all-time favorite mobile games list. The concept is simple: You’re in a car with no brakes, the cops are chasing after you, and it’s your job to do whatever it takes to avoid crashing into anything so you can outrun the cops for as long as possible. Pako nailed that satisfying gameplay loop and pulled it off with incredible style. Last year the Tree Men launched a sequel on Steam that took that simple concept and ran with it in some fun directions, resulting in a game that retained the essence of the original but felt like its own distinct experience. This week that sequel, Pako 2 ($1.99), has arrived in the App Store.
In Pako 2 you’ll still be driving an auto-accelerating vehicle, but this time you have the ability to brake and even drive in reverse. Your vehicle can also take quite a beating this time around, rather than the way you’d explode into a ball of flames if you so much as nicked an object in the original Pako. You’ll need that extra toughness too as the carnage is cranked up to 11 in Pako 2, and in fact the large selection of playable vehicles have varying levels of speed and HP putting a bit of a strategic twist into which one you choose to use. The different vehicles in the game also offer a variety of weapons to use… Wait, weapons? Yes! Another change in Pako 2 is that you can fight back against the police pursuit by having your passenger fire at them while you’re being chased. It all happens automatically so you can focus on the driving part, but it’s a nice feature that can give you some much-needed space when the fuzz is right on your tail.
Probably the biggest change in Pako 2 is that you have active goals to achieve in addition to just surviving. You’ll be directed to a point on the map to pick up your criminal cohorts and once you do you’ll be directed to a spot to drop them off. It’s a bit like Grand Theft Auto meets Crazy Taxi and it injects some welcome depth into the pretty simplistic high-scoring formula of the original Pako. The faster you are at your drop offs, the more money you can earn to put towards unlocking new vehicles and levels. Another neat twist is after each successful drop off you’ll get a random bonus like increased firepower or a health replenish, and these little bonuses can be the difference between a good run and a great run.
Finally, whereas the original Pako had nearly 20 levels to drive in after its numerous content updates, Pako 2 features just 5 levels at launch, but wow are those 5 levels HUGE. I wouldn’t be surprised if the total area of all the Pako 1 levels combined fit into just one of the levels in Pako 2. Again, this gives the game a heavy GTA feel and it’s fun learning the terrain of each map which leads to you making more efficient deliveries as you figure out the best routes. The hooks are strong in Pako 2, and while games CAN last quite a while depending on how well you do they’re generally pretty quick and the prospect of unlocking new vehicles and levels is a great carrot on a stick. Plus it’s just darn fun, ya know? I can’t keep count of how many times I’ve thought “Ok, last game" just to find myself tapping the retry button again.
Best of all is that Pako 2 is similar enough to the original that it feels like it belongs in the same family, but it’s a different enough experience that it doesn’t make the original obsolete. There’s a certain simplicity to Pako 1 that will never get old to me, and in fact I’d LOVE if Tree Men were able to update it with iPhone X support as there’s no way that’s ever getting deleted from my device. And now Pako 2, with its more over-the-top chaos and slight spin on the car chase simulator formula, will find itself its own permanent spot right next to its older sibling.
Link to Forum Discussion: PAKO 2 (by Tree Men Games)