Some games just feel better when they transition from mobile to the Switch. We recently reviewed #Drive for example, and it just didn’t work on Nintendo’s console – the gameplay loop felt too repetitive, with little to keep you coming back.
PAKO Caravan in comparison just adds in enough variants on its main theme to never feel like it ever overstays its welcome.
Effectively a car based version of Snake, you drive a constantly moving vehicle around small stages adding trailers to your caravan – so as you become longer and longer it gets harder to avoid hitting into the various obstacles in your path. And your own tail of course.
You have to complete various objectives in each level – such as collecting letters (spelling ‘caravan,’ naturally) and hitting all the cones – in order to unlock new ones.
There are a few reasons PAKO Caravan never gets too repetitive or frustrating. One is that the controls are perfectly judged. There’s a satisfying drift mechanic that means you can never take any corner for granted – it’s never possible to completely switch off when playing, and this helps to keep you on your toes.
Second, and possibly most importantly, is that there’s a great variation between stages. You control a different vehicle in each one, and they all have different abilities. One can jump, another one goes uncomfortably fast, and so on.
The objectives always change a little to fit each stage too. One where you’re a tractor asks you to mow all the grass for instance, whereas another tasks you with jumping over all the fences scattered around.
There’s not a huge amount of content to get your teeth into, but the game is priced accordingly. We would have still loved to see a two player mode added to help differentiate it from the mobile iteration regardless.
Another minor issue is that some objectives are a little too confusing. It’s never clear when the letters you have to pick up appear for example, or if you have to collect them in a certain order.
PAKO Caravan isn’t high art, but it doesn’t try to be. It offers up a simple concept, does all it can with it – and looks great while doing it. You can’t ask for much more.