Parcel (Hands-On) (PC) Preview

By Chris Leebody 19.04.2015

Review for Parcel (Hands-On) on PC

Parcel is a Steam Early Access title from Finland based developers Polar Bunny. Reading the history and structure of Polar Bunny and their first official game release is immensely interesting in itself. They are very much the new kids on the block, having only been formed as a company in 2013, and they epitomise the essence and ideals of indie development; a vibrant connection with local educational facilities and the enthusiasm of local gaming students. Indeed, Parcel itself originally began as a school project by two students at North Karelia College who were brought in as interns, developed a great idea and are subsequently employed by Polar Bunny. With founding members who previously worked for an educational games company, as well as students, it is no surprise the result is a puzzle-based adventure game that requires a good deal of logical observational puzzle solving on the part of the player. Cubed3 sat down with a hands-on look at just how Parcel is shaping up in Early Access.

As the title suggests, Parcel is all about transporting a box through each set of levels, which take place at gradually decreasing levels of a giant tower, with the goal of making it to the bottom to finally deliver this mysterious package within this strange cyberpunk universe. Sounds simple, but each level is stacked full of protective laser beams that block the path and provide an obstacle in which brains must be used to overcome it. Additionally, the further down the tower, the more gameplay mechanics are introduced and difficulty increased as levels get larger.

These gameplay mechanics come in the guise of further characters, each having their own particular skillset to help deliver the parcel. It starts simply with Block, who places the package down to disrupt the path of a laser in order to progress. Then Magna, who can magnetise and attract the package. Hackman comes along later, who hacks into terminals and changes the layout of laser robots. Finally, there is Porter, who can swap places by teleporting with one of the previous characters. The way each characters' ability dove tails with one another is very well designed, and it definitely feels like a system that ties in with the included four player co-op.

Screenshot for Parcel (Hands-On) on PC

What should be noted at this point is that there is eventually going to be a story running alongside each level, as the player makes their way down the tower, and presumably the point of this strange parcel will become clear. As of writing, the story content, which took the form of dialogue between characters, was severely lacking in both detail and coherence; it is perhaps why a wise decision was taken in the most recent update to remove it altogether until it is redone properly later in the development process. As mentioned above, though, the main basis of the characters involved in this adventure is fairly practical and self-explanatory.

The pleasing thing is that playing Parcel is very enjoyable even when missing the story content. The main guts of the game are in its intriguing and clever puzzle solving, which it succeeds in very well. Puzzle-based games live or die on the satisfaction gained from the completion of a tough level, and Parcel succeeds in that regard, too. Additionally, levels balance the fine line between tough challenges, but are also user-friendly to all levels of players.

Equally pleasing is just how much content is available in this very moderately priced title. More than 120 pre-built levels are included, and then on top of that a level editor, which is very user-friendly for even the rookie to create as many levels as is desired. The Steam workshop section is already at an early stage, filled with many user-generated levels that will provide plenty of additional hours of hair-pulling puzzle action.

Parcel is based in what is billed as a cyberpunk world. It has to be said that these days it is a much overused setting. That said, the world is viewed from a top-down perspective, and it is filled with vibrant colours and typical science fiction art-style, while at the same time ensuring that the practical realities of making the puzzle-solving come first remains as the top priority.

Screenshot for Parcel (Hands-On) on PC

Final Thoughts

This is definitely a title to look out for. It is available on Early Access at the moment, and as previously stated, it is very competitively priced and is at a good enough stage in development to get significant enjoyment even now. Both puzzle game veterans and newcomers will find something enjoyable in Parcel, and with four player co-op, there is no excuse not to gather round with friends and combine the powers of all four characters to solve even the toughest of puzzles.

Developer

Polar Bunny

Publisher

Frozenbyte

Genre

Puzzle

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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