Trash Panic (PSN Title)
So i decided after watching all of the E3 videos and so on to get Trash Panic, it looked like a great addition to the PSN and something that you could really get your teeth into.
The premise is simple, you are charged with filling a giant dustbin, trash falls from above and it's your job to stack, smash, burn and rot all the trash you can, without causing too much (if any) to fall out onto the office floor/street/generic setting.
While the premise is simple, playing the game itself isn't.
The control system is simple enough, left to go left right to go right etc. Pressing up causes the current trash to drop hard and fast, if it's big enough, it will smash some of the trash already in the bin, if not it will just sit on top, worse still if it's a rubber item it may bounce out of the bin landing on the floor, three items drop and your game is over.
If the bin gets too full you have to
option to burn it with flammable trash,
rot it with biological trash
and in some cases blow it up with
dynamite or gas cannisters.
Keep filling the bin until you have met the required amount of waste disposal as per the weight counter in the corner of the screen, any junk that comes out of the bin if damaged doesn't count against you as such but can have a negative effect on those going for a high score.
There are a couple of other gameplay mechanics to consider as well, firstly there is the mottanai, these are items that are not meant to be destroyed dropped or damaged in any way, instead get them safely to the bottom of the bin and they are taken out by the on screen characters (The Gomi), as a reward you are given a piece of helpful trash; this could be anything from a heavy piece to smash other trash down, or an explosive of flaming trash to help clear more junk out of the way. Destroying the mottanai comes with a penalty, more trash gets thrown at you and scattered around the bin making it harder to clean out, it also has a negative effect on your score at the end of the round.
The second mechanic is the "boss" trash, this is a large item that takes many hits to destroy, the problem is you have 10 seconds to do it in or else more trash gets dropped on your bin. like this
Overall as already stated it's a very simple idea, following the tetris format but with a slight twist, so. . . what's wrong with it?
Honestly? There is a severe lack of information on how to play the game, while there is an instruction area, those instructions are 18 pages long on screen and don't make a great deal of sense, the controls feel sluggish and in some cases while slamming down one piece of trash a second one will pop up and cause the 2 to drop at the same time, while this isn't a problem at the start of a level, towards the end it can mean the difference between level complete and game over.
Secondly, the game itself is very short, there are only 5 areas which increase in both size and junk (from computers in level 1 to skyscrapers and spaceships in level 5), while there are 3 levels of difficulty and a few challenges thrown in, these feel tacked on and don't really give you the impression that this game was made to last.
The biggest let down though is the multiplayer mode, both players have a bin on the screen and must fill and clear as well as they can, one dropped piece of trash means a loss to that player, as your bin fills up it also raises itself off of the floor, when it reaches a certain height, it tips and drops a large portion of its contents into the opposing players bin, again the controls feel off and with a lack of any decent tutorial the multiplayer mode also feels tacked on; almost as if it were added as an afterthought, there could have been so much more to the 2 player option, but the fact that 1 item dropped means game over any multiplayer games feel short and frankly, confusing.
All in all trash panic is a great idea, it has good HD graphics interactive backgrounds that react to explosions in the bin and so on and a half decent soundtrack that doesn't get annoying very quickly but the game itself has been let down by its implementation and a lack of any clear instruction, even an interactive demo would have been better than the 18 pages of nonsense provided.
There is a demo available on the PSN now, so if you get a chance to play it, give it a go, but I wouldn't recommend paying out for it, save your pennies for something like fat princess instead.
A simple idea let down by poor implementation and poor multiplayer experience.