When it comes to driving, we’re taught that certain rules have to be obeyed. We don’t speed around as fast as we can. We don’t crash into other cars and buildings. We’re taught to drive as safely as possible. However, as Push-Cars on the Mac proves, it’s a lot more fun to be as reckless as possible.
This is a port of the popular iOS title. It’s a clever little puzzler that requires players to, essentially, direct traffic across convoluted city streets. Each level begins in a section of whatever city players currently situated within, where they have a certain number of cars that have to either escape the map unharmed or get into wrecks.
In order to accomplish these goals, players need to point each car on the map in a specific direction. Players can click on the vehicles to automatically rotate them, or they can also click and drag to manually set a direction. Once the cars are all facing where players want them to, they can “start the engine” (read: press a button) and set all the cars in motion. If the automobiles manage to do what they’re supposed to, players can progress to the next level and their performance receives a score, ranked via steering wheels.
The gameplay itself is both challenging and fun. The interface is certainly easy enough to get ahold of, but the puzzles never stay so easy that they’re boring. In fact, things become more difficult as more cars with different speed/acceleration types are thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, some of the levels are surprisingly tough, and there’s a hint system in place that will show players what to do if they’re stuck.
Now, visually, Push-Cars is a little bit of a mixed bag. During actual gameplay, the graphics are actually pretty cute. Each city looks like a cartoony version of their real-world counterparts, and the maps are all laid out in unique ways. The in-game car models look delightful, too, with designs that are more than a little reminiscent of the ones that appear in those Chevron television ads. However, when new cars are introduced via mini cut-scenes, the visuals look really rough.
The audio, in turn, is pretty decent, though it doesn’t have a lot of variety. That’s really a shame, especially after the game’s intro, which features a pretty great original song. However, the in-game music all blends together pretty quickly and isn’t all that memorable.
All in all, Push-Cars is an incredibly entertaining little puzzle title, thanks in large part to its challenge and sense of fun. In spite of its sometimes-middling production values, this is a game that starts out feeling like something casual but winds up becoming something addictive.