By – Sophie Jones

Parcel Review He

In a world that doesn’t believe in express dispatch, Parcel the game, is born. As you take on the roles of the post people, in the treacherous Aldous Tower, you’ll soon realise that you could never moan about a late delivery again as they battle through lasers and brain teasing puzzles.  In this cyberpunk experience you will discover the story through data spheres which can be collected throughout the levels. However, these are not always easy to gather and it’s tempting to leave many of them behind. This can make the narrative a difficult one to follow as you are not compelled enough to learn more about the world you are in. Even when you successfully get a sphere they do not always make sense, on some occasions the text is cut off at the edge of the display box resulting in unfinished sentences.

Several of the entries were therefore strenuous to read and the ones that weren’t plagued by this strange default didn’t appear to make sense in relation to the game. For instance one describes someone having multiple limbs like an octopus whilst another one discus’s putting people in virtual holidays and how it is environmentally friendly. Neither of these topics seemed analogous to a postman delivering a package.  Despite the issues I had, I was slightly intrigued about the data texts wider meaning. I was constantly left wondering what was in the parcel. And how it was able to deflect lasers and, where were all the people? All these questions did make me hungry for more but disappointingly the lore was never fully discussed.

The storytelling component is therefore quite redundant in its current format. According to the developers, the plot was meant to explore an exciting concept and take us down the rabbit hole. Unfortunately, due to time and financial restraints the cut scenes and character dialogue have been cut from the recent release leaving only a ghost of a story behind. Thus, I would advise not concerning yourself with the data spheres until PolarBunny are able to introduce their intended tale as otherwise they only cause confusion. It is fair to say, that the overall atmosphere of the game was effected as pushing packages around seemed a little plain without the backdrop of a higher purpose.

Parcel Review Sum

Nevertheless, Parcel excels in its puzzle design. Each level is littered with obstacles and laser beams which are viewed from a bird’s eye perspective. By adding characters to this mix, each with unique abilities, the basic plan becomes frustratingly difficult! After completing the first floor, transporting the package became increasingly laborious and would take me several tries and sometimes I would have to revisit the game altogether, as I was completely stumped on the solution. Thankfully, it is not a punishing affair, with the ability to save current states, reload previous ones and fast forward time, you can reattempt each stumper numerously.

The game is spilt into 4 sections that correspond with tiers in the building. In each sector you are introduced to a new courier with a special ability. In the first sector you use Block, as the starting zone character he has the simplest power, he can drag the parcel around. As you move down the levels these individual talents become really interesting. Magna can magnetise packages and pull them towards her, this tool can also be used to pummel the laser spiders if timed right, then you have Hackman, he can hack certain nodes on the map causing lasers to be rerouted. Finally, you have Porter who can swap places with any character. All of the available skills are majorly different from one another which makes solving each problem exhilarating. Furthermore, Parcel never feels stale as each level you try varies dramatically, for example, on one level you might have to use Magna and Hackman to deliver the package and then in the next you might just be using Porter. These dalliances make it a fascinating experience and one that will keep you scratching your head in deep thought.

PolarBunny have included 120 levels of mind boggling puzzles and have also incorporated cooperative play. After you have cleared the initial training period the game adds a second character to the mix which can be controlled by a local player. This makes for a more enjoyable experience as you can try and work things out together, of course, this can also mean double the retries as you argue with one another of how to go around completing the objective. I would suggest picking a partner who you don’t mind squabbling with because it’s going to be a long journey!

Parcel Review 3

On the other hand, the introduction of multiplayer can be annoying if you prefer to go it alone. As soon as another post person becomes available an irritating pop up appears in the corner of the screen which proceeds to flash throughout the game until a second player joins. This was rather bothersome and it did begin to take away from the game as I was constantly being berated with, “SECOND PLAYER CAN JOIN NOW”. All the time I was thinking “I know but I have no friends to play with so go away!” Hopefully this will be resolved as single players may be deterred by it.

Alas, the multiplayer thrill does not end there. With a fully functioning level editor, players can build and customize their own puzzles. You can then add them to the Steam Workshop and challenge others to beat them. This means that the game can carry on past the campaign as the community has already populated the workshop with countless new sectors. The amazing thing about this added tool is that I could use it!  It is safe to say that I am a game lover who knows very little about how they are built and thus I struggle with most editors, however, the one in Parcel was so easy to use. To start with, you are presented with a level plan which you can then customize, this is child’s play as all you have to do is search the given categories to obtain all the set pieces. The hardest part of the level editor is being successful in creating a problem that others will struggle to fathom. So far I have yet to create something that rivals the current game but the beauty is I can keep trying thanks to the editor’s ease of use.

Technically, it does not break any new ground but it is still appeasing to look at and accessible for a variety of PC’s to play as it is not a graphically demanding game. Like most you are given a selection of graphical settings which you can choose from, I opted for the Ultra option. However, upon picking this, the game crashed and I had to reload, after doing so the game ran fine and I did not encounter another crash whilst playing on the Ultra setting.  The controls are simple as you mainly use the ‘W, A, S, D’ keys or the arrow keys to move your post person around the map, the only additions to these are the use of Space Bar to interact. This simplicity makes the gameplay accessible for all ages to appreciate. It is also compatible with the Xbox controller, although, in the Menu screen you can only use the arrow keys to maneuver, so the controller becomes inaccessible here. This was a strange oversight but it’s not a huge issue as I’m sure all PC players will have access to the arrow keys upon loading the game.

Parcel Review Sum

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

Parcel is not without its quirks, due to funding the story has been cut and only a skeleton remains.  However, I suggest these issues not deter you from making a purchase. With a development team that are still focused and passionate about the project, there are hopes of a complete narrative being implemented.  In addition, the community is very active at the minute and custom levels and mods are being created.  Parcel certainly engages and makes you want to do a victory dance every time a section is completed. A truly rewarding experience awaits fans of the puzzle genre.  Gamers will be very pleased with this quaint addition!

Parcel Technical Summary:

Parcel Review Sum

  • Time Played – 5 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – Crashed when I changed to Ultra settings.
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • System Specs – i7-4790K @4 GHz, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 770
  • Control Scheme – M/KB and Controller
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
468 ad