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LordGek
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iPhone Game Review: Valet Hero
      #36144 - 02/25/10 02:14 PM

iPhone Game Review: Valet Hero

Admit it. Ever since you were a young child you longed to park other people's cars at the local nightclub. Getting paid minimum wage and hoping for the rare tip as you park random cars hour after hour. Well now, thanks to advanced iPhone technology, you can finally become a Valet Hero!

Gameplay

While a few other Valet themed games out there may have tried to actually capture the extreme hassle of parking and retrieving the cars as the annoyed patrons are ready to leave, Valet Hero just focuses on the art of parking. A car of a random color and make (some are much faster than others and none appear to have any means to slowdown but their parking brakes) will pull into the lot and you need to try to quickly direct it with a carefully drawn line (much like Flight Control) to a same color coded space as neatly as possible (it?s all about trying to achieve that ?Perfect? parking job and avoiding the ?Sloppy? ones). Do so with many vehicles in rapid succession and you?ll rack up some impressive combo scores. If REALLY trying to prove you?re all about the ART of parking, try backing a car into its spot or driving through a space to get to your desired spot on the other side. If you manage to park the level?s required amount of vehicles without a crash (crashes are not tolerated and will result in your shift ending prematurely with no score) you?ll have your performance evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (based entirely on the cash you were able to pull in for that shift).



Getting a good rating is key to unlocking the higher difficulties and other maps. All maps start you off at the Bronze difficulty with a 3 star rating at the end of a shift giving you access to the next map, and if you managed to get a 4 star rating or higher you can even try the same map at a higher difficulty rating (while each successive difficulty on a map is using the same map layout, the game manages to turn up the heat with many creative twists besides simply requiring the player to park more cars coming into the parking lot at a faster rate). If you?re such a Valet Hero with a given map to prove yourself a 4+ star stud on Bronze, Silver, and Gold, you?ll be granted access to the map?s Ultimate Challenge, the Marathon Mode. In this mode the shift lasts as long as you can keep things going! In this mode the game plays out slightly differently. While normally all spaces in the lot are nicely color coded, in this mode the spaces don?t receive their color coding until a car comes onto the lot. So say a purple car drives up, you?ll then notice a random space on the lot turning purple. While normally you?re allowed to park in any space (just at a big scoring penalty if the wrong color), in this mode one wrongly parked car will end the game or a crash. If you manage to fill up the lot the game will instantly empty out the lot and let you keep going. All the while the cars are coming in faster and faster. How long can you keep things going?

Valet Hero, as you may have already noticed, comes in two flavors in the AppStore. The basic free version of Valet Hero contains 20 levels (5 maps at 4 difficulty levels)! All of this goodness for free and without a catch? Not exactly, the catch in this free version is two fold; you?ll need to contend with banner ads in the Main Menu and to get any of the game?s upcoming additional level packs will be minimally priced in-app purchases (don?t worry, fixes to the game itself will remain free, you just need to pay for the new level packs). If you?d rather skip all of that in-app nonsense, the developers also have the Valet Hero Pro which means for one low price ($0.99 at this point, the same price as any of the individual in-app purchasable level packs) you?ll get access to all new levels as soon as they?re released for the life of the game.



Graphics & Sound

The game uses nice sharp 2D cartoon like graphics that are incredibly smoothly animated.

The sounds are pretty minimal but functional. You?ll hear the game?s default music or can play your own while the actual game?s minimal sound effects will kick in when you park a car, crash, or if a couple of cars come to close to one another.

Pros:

-Very intuitive and smooth controls like the line drawing greats Flight Control and Harbor Master.
-The game is a proud member of the Open Feint Community tracking individual highscores for each level as well as some 36 achievements!
-A clever scoring system allowing the player to utilize many different tactics to maximize their scores on a level (like do you focus on making perfect parks or just try to park all vehicles as quickly as possible to keep the combo meter climbing?).
-Even the free version gives you 20 levels to play with that will surely take you dozens of hours to completely unlock and master.

Cons:

-This game will make you work hard to unlock its content. My favorite part of this game is playing each map?s Marathon Mode but it requires some concentrated effort to work your way through the nearly perfect scores required in all of the map?s three easier difficulties.
-The game will only record your score on any given level once you complete it. Parking 15 cars perfectly and then crashing the last one is no better, in the end, than simply crashing the first card on the given level (the only exception to this being the Marathon levels which will record any score you manage to squeeze out as these levels have no minimum requirements to complete once unlocked).

Conclusion

I can say without hesitation this is one of my favorite line drawers out there with a lot of content to unlock as well as a lot of replayability in trying to squeeze out just a slightly higher score on any given level (especially the Marathon levels that have no end).



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: -4.5- Sharp 2D cartoon graphics smoothly animated.
Sound: -3.5- The sound effects are pretty minimal, the music okay, but it does let you play your own tunes easily in game.
Controls: -4.5- Very easy and intuitive.
Gameplay: -5- I?m clearly biased here but I feel the game is a blast. While not much of a TRUE Valet simulation, it manages to make parking cars really fun.

Playing Hints and Tips:

-Avoid sloppy parking (parking a car at too much of an angle in its space), better yet try to achieve as many perfects as possible (when parked perfectly straight and centered in the space).

-Try to string parking combos as long as possible (after each car is parked a timer will start counting down and if you manage to park another car before the time runs out, your multiplier will tick up one point (two points if the same color as the last parked car) and the time will start over again. Working this combo system is the key to getting a 5 star rating for a level.

-Try to park cars in the appropriate colored space (in all but the Marathon levels you can park a car in the wrong colored spot but you?ll take a big penalty in potential points). There might be a case where in trying to maintain a combo you?ll need to park in a wrong colored spot but it really should be avoided as much as possible.

-Whenever possible try to drive through spaces to reach your parking spot on the other side or back into a spot for a higher base pay for the individual parking job.

-If you find that you like the game you might as well upgrade to Valet Hero Pro as, for the price of a single level pack, you?ll get all future level packs for free as soon as they come out! The game even has a built in system to let you carry over all of your unlocked levels and local highscores from the free version via Open Feint into the Pro version.

Game Facts:
Developer: Game Gatos LLC
Release Date: January 21st, 2010
Version: 1.0.3.1 (OS 3.0 Tested)
Genre: Line Drawing
File Size: 9.0 MB
Price: $0.99
Buy Game:
Valet Hero (Free Version with DLC): iTunes App Store
Valet Hero Pro (Deluxe Version): iTunes App Store

--------------------
Staff Reviewer at Mobile Tech Review

Edited by LordGek (02/28/10 03:57 PM)


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Valet Hero [Re: LordGek]
      #36145 - 02/25/10 03:05 PM

Some of the line drawing games turn me off because the levels are too short, or some developers make the games intentionally hard, and each game ends too soon, so you don't feel like you can bite into something meaty.

The Marathon levels you described here sounds very intriguing. I shall like to try it!


Thank you for the great review, LG!


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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Valet Hero [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #36181 - 02/28/10 03:59 PM

I just updated the above review by taking out the previous warning about a score syncing error in v1.0.3 since it has now been resolved in the current v1.0.3.1.

--------------------
Staff Reviewer at Mobile Tech Review


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Valet Hero [Re: LordGek]
      #36188 - 02/28/10 09:50 PM

Thanks for the update, LG!

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