Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Valet Parking 1989 (DSiWare) Review

Review for Valet Parking 1989 on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst Nintendo itself has been talking recently about the flaws in both its Wii and Nintendo DSi download services, it does not mean that there aren’t some extremely original and highly addictive titles released on both the WiiWare and DSiWare shop channels. Now Zordix is bringing its first effort to the portable world of Nintendo, Valet Parking 1989.

Valet Parking 1989 kicks off immediately with a 1980s style tune rolling over the top of a retro-themed main menu that features a scantily clad woman hanging around various ‘classic’ cars from the time period in question. There are two main modes of play in Valet Parking 1989, ‘Play Story’ and ‘Endless Shift,’ with progress in the former unlocking levels for use within the latter. Story Mode has you taking on the role of someone wanting to work as a parking valet at several luxurious businesses in California, all in order to earn enough money to buy the dream car. However, despite thinking the idea of wearing a sharp suit and parking cool cars for interesting people is the way forward, nothing is quite as easy as it seems.

The idea is that players must guide incoming vehicles into one of the free parking spaces available, before then having to locate the correct car in a timely manner when a guest is eager to leave the establishment, driving them to the exit area whilst swiftly avoiding wandering pedestrians and causing any damage to vehicles along the way (tips are reduced if mistakes are made). Steering each car is as easy as tapping on it with the stylus and sliding to the desired resting place, with the speed increasing dependent on how far the stylus is dragged - which can lead to disaster when trying to manoeuvre fast cars around tight car park bends! What adds to the challenge is that only one vehicle can be moved at a time, with a car needing to have reached its goal and come to a standstill before you are able to move onto the next target. Whilst helping certain cars towards the exit, other cars will queue up, waiting to be parked, and other drivers will have returned, expecting their vehicle to be brought to them in a timely manner. Also, parking spaces actually differ in size, meaning that, for example, a monster truck simply will not fit snugly into regular spot and must be driven to separate designated areas.

Screenshot for Valet Parking 1989 on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The action is mainly found on the touch-screen, where the player is treated to a top-down viewpoint of the car park (similar in style to the original Grand Theft Auto’s camera angle) and must keep their hands steady as the pressure of dealing with more customers increases rapidly, with emphasis on receiving a greater tip for dealing with situations in a faster time coming into play. All the while various different, extremely catchy ‘bit tune-esque’ pieces of music play on in the background. The general controls at set in a way that is conducive to left- or right-handed play, since the camera can be panned around the car park using either the directional pad or the A, B, X, Y buttons to allow the stylus to be held in whichever hand feels more natural to conduct the vehicular movements, while a quick tap on the L or R shoulder buttons results in zooming to the incoming car line.

Guests who are set to leave appear on the top screen and an image of their car pops up in a speech bubble, along with a picture of a thermometer indicating their impatience-induced rising temperature, and even some comical images of them getting irate, when they are kept waiting too long. Some of those who entrust you with their cars are special VIPs, offering your parking valet attendant greater tips to ensure that nothing goes wrong, and even having the opportunity to use special items to calm other vexed visitors. Your ‘lives’ are also indicated on the top screen, with one lost when a guest has to wait for too long, or if you ram into a pedestrian or obstacle. Once all the lives have been depleted, it is a case of ‘Game Over, Try Again.’ Points are accrued at the end of each level, equating to a total ‘Tips’ gained in US dollars. Bonus money can also be attained for serving three or more guests to a satisfactory level in a row.

Visually, aurally, and stylistically Valet Parking 1989 is old school through and through, and the gameplay itself is remarkably akin to the old addictive Game & Watch releases from Nintendo. Zordix has captured the essence of what made the classics so memorable and delivered a highly enjoyable little title. If you’re in need of some retro fun, Valet Parking 1989 is definitely one to take for a test drive.

Screenshot for Valet Parking 1989 on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Simple, intuitive touch controls for driving cars to different locations, and smooth use of the D-pad for panning around the car park quickly to find the ideal spots to place cars. Sheer fun at the most basic level.


Basic visuals, but purposely made this way to add a retro theme to the whole game. Sadly there are some surprising loading times when starting levels.


Fantastically funky, catchy 80s tunes that play across the menu screens and whilst driving different vehicles around the car parks.


Whilst it may not be the longest game ever, keeping the flow of incoming and outgoing cars going, without hitting obstacles along the way, proves to be almost as addictive as Nintendo’s Game & Watch greats. Perhaps 200 Points would have been a better price, but there is still plenty of fun to be had here.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Valet Parking 1989 is one of those hidden gems on the DSiWare download service that may get overlooked because of its retrospective visual style, but with any luck people will give it a chance so that they can taste what is a delightful little title that captures the essence of what made Nintendo’s Game & Watch series so enjoyable - clear-cut, simple fun.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (4 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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There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Marky B (guest) 13.05.2011 08:27#1

Okay, was put off at first as it looked cheap, but sounds like it could be fun from the review. Thanks! Might check it out. Is it on the US shop yet?

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30th May Smilie AND the Press Release comes with a quote from this cool is that?! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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