Trash Panic is a fun and quirky game that has an interesting concept but it's ultimately brought down by some iffy physics and a difficulty level that will most likely leave you frustrated.
Nice visuals and graphics make the game stick out amongst the other puzzle games on the market. Surprisingly the game has a solid soundtrack that sounds like 90s club music.
Sometimes the physics work and sometimes they don't with the latter usually being the more common occurrence. Even on easy difficulty it will definitely be an extreme challenge to clear the game.
Over the past few years we’ve seen quite a few interesting puzzle games appear on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade but amidst all the brain busters like Cuboid or Lumines we haven’t seen that many games in the vein of Tetris. Perhaps this is in part to how classic Tetris is and attempting to do a modern day spin on it is akin to remaking a classic movie. But we finally have a game that attempts to reinvent or at least pay homage to Tetris with Trash Panic for the PSN.
Trash Panic has a pretty simple premise: it’s Tetris except with garbage and it has an eco friendly twist. Instead of moving blocks around like you would in Tetris you’ll find yourself moving around computer monitors, flat panel TVs, tires, mopeds, baseball bats, bells, chairs, light bulbs and other crazier items with the goal being to dispose of all the garbage you’re given without overfilling the can or having items fall out.
Now obviously stacking objects garbage sounds a bit odd but here’s where the first gameplay twist comes in as you’re supposed to break objects with one another based on their real world physics. So if you have a coffee mug at the bottom of your trash bin you can smash it with the computer monitor if that was the next time in your queue as a monitor obviously weighs more than a mug thus it can smash it into tiny pieces. This mechanic well certainly keep you busy as you play as you’re continually being thrown different items in each stage so you should have fun playing around with the combinations of what items can break one another. Thankfully the physics in the game works when it comes to smashing items but at other times they can be a bit wonky as bigger objects may get stuck on one item or not move properly when you use the SixAxis movement to shake the items in your bin.
The actual mechanic of figuring out how to properly stack and break items stays fun as you’re given some extra factors to consider while you play. One item you have at your disposal is the ability to light objects on fire and of course burn garbage that is burnable. That may sound good in some instances but that feeling may change when a computer monitor blows up as occurrences like that are docked against you in your grade for the level. One of the interesting things about the game is that at the end of every stage you’re graded how Eco and how Ego driven you are. You get Eco points for proficiently disposing of all your garbage and keeping spills to a minimum but if you blow up hazardous items or leave a big Carbon Footprint then you’re clearly being too Ego driven and clearly don’t care for the environment.
At its core Trash Panic is a good game but the problems with the physics being iffy at times is only complicated by the fact that the game is probably one of the most unforgiving games when it comes to its difficulty. Obviously there is bound to be a learning curve with how to deal with the objects but once you’re used to the everything things aren’t that much easier. Having to figure out how to place and destroy certain objects is hard enough to begin with but when a “boss” object is added to the mix which has a penalty of additional garbage if it isn’t destroyed in the allotted time then you’re looking at a game that may make you pull your hair out. Even on the easier difficulty you may find yourself getting a bit frustrated as things aren’t that much easier with the main exception being the exclusion of the boss battles.
Despite its charm with the wacky presentation of having Patapon-esque creatures picking up special pieces of garbage and the nicely animated backgrounds that range from offices to city streets it’s somewhat hard to recommend Trash Panic. The premise of the game is fun and it has additional features like a 2 player competitive mode, a challenge mode and even YouTube recording to keep you busy but the difficulty and physics problems are probably going to turn a lot of people off. The game is certainly nice to look at and play for brief 10 minute sessions but as a long term game you probably won’t be going back to it often unless you’re a masochist.