Traffic Mania Review

Developer: PDAmill Publisher: PDAmill
Release Date: May 6, 2005 Also On: None

Yes, it is another puzzle game but at least it’s not about falling blocks or matching colors. The concept Traffic Mania is based on has been used before, many times, but it is not totally overused, yet. In fact, the presentation and style Traffic Mania has got transform what was a nice puzzle game concept into an actual game worth playing.

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The basic idea in this game is to drag cars around until your own car is free to drive to the exit. It is amazing that despite the small playfield and limited possibilities (a car can only drag along one axis) this game can get quite complicated. In the beginning you start with simple puzzles, of course. While the first and second mission should be easy to complete for everyone, the third mission already requires you to think.

There are five missions in total, each mission divided into 20 puzzles for each of the three characters, meaning 300 puzzles in total. These three characters are what set the game apart from other puzzle games of this type. There is Gwendy, the woman with the huge lips, Juan, the cool guy with the sunglasses and Butch, the big bulky guy. The gameplay for the three characters is different, too. Gwendy has all the time in the world to complete her puzzles. Juan and Butch have to fight against the time. Butch has the added bonus to be able to destroy one car in each puzzle with a bomb.

Cars, characters and the city map in which the puzzles are placed are beautifully drawn by hand. Together with the great music and fitting sound effects this creates a level of style few other puzzle games can match. With 300 puzzles of increasing difficulty, the gameplay side of things can keep up too. To advance in the game you have to complete a certain number of the puzzles on one mission with the smallest possible number of moves. This opens the next mission.

Touchscreen control works quite well, though it can sometimes mess up a game if you move a car one field too far by accident and thus waste a move. This is especially a problem if you run low on time. A bigger problem is that the game does not save automatically. Most Palm games and applications save the current state when you exit them. You rely on the fact that you can just press the home button to do something else and then come back. In Traffic Mania, this does not work. If you make the mistake and exit the game with the home button, all your progress is lost. You have to go to the menu to save. This can be very annoying at times.

Traffic Mania shows the difference between a freeware puzzle game and one you would buy. It’s all about the presentation. The basic concept of dragging cars around is nothing worth spending much money on. The gameplay enhancements, the sheer number of puzzles and the great presentation are what make Traffic Mania worth spending money on. Try the demo to see if you are willing to do so, but remember that the puzzles in the full game get much harder.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Ortwin Review Guide

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