Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Pocket Trucks ($0.99 Universal) is a side-scrolling physics-based racing game that looks as if it is taking place somewhere in Toy Story. In this game you choose from a selection of vehicles that look like something you would expect to find in the toy aisle to race to the finish line of a course that is more puzzle like than a traditional race track.
To control your Pocket Truck, you have two buttons on the right side of the screen to move forward or backward. There are an additional two buttons on the left side of the screen to rotate your truck to the right and to the left. This rotation is best used when flying through the air as it helps you to land without crashing. You can also configure the controls so that you actually tilt the device in order to rotate the truck to the right and to the left. As you earn various power-ups throughout the game, additional controls appear on the screen where you can utilize abilities like sprouting wings, jumping on springs and even get a quick burst of speed with a rocket boost.
Each level is made of cardboard cutouts meticulously laid out like a matchbox racetrack. There are 38 different tracks across 15 different themed environments. Your truck remains in the center of the screen as you progress along the track in this three-dimensional environment. Each track has various traps that will either slow you down or destroy your truck. These traps can contain explosives, spikes and even a gigantic spiked rolling pin that either gets in your way, or forces you to keep moving. Each track can have many paths to the finish line, and not all levels have the same objectives. There are time trial levels where you race against the clock, races where you compete against a computer-controlled opponent, and collection challenges where you have to collect a certain number of items, like chickens, before achieving the goals of the level and earning all three stars.
At the completion of each level, you are awarded a number of stars. These stars are earned primarily based on the time it takes you to complete a give course and the number of items you have collected. The faster you go, and the more items you collect, the more stars you earn. When you are not awarded all three stars, you are told what time you need to achieve in order to earn them. As you replay a course, you will race against a ghost image of your best time on that course so you can push yourself to do better.
As you play, you earn various credits in the form of coins, bolts and experience. These can be used in the garage to customize your existing truck, stock up on essentials like more nitro fuel, or even purchase a completely new vehicle. While there is the opportunity to make in-app purchases and bankroll your vehicle, you still need to achieve a certain level of experience before certain items in the garage are unlocked and made available to you. And as in real life, you cannot buy experience. You do get more bang for your buck by simply upgrading the car you already have. But these upgrades do have their limits.
What you do gain by switching to one of the eight different vehicle types is a different mix of maximum attributes that you can purchase upgrades for. Once you have the specs of your vehicle where you like them, you can also start customizing the style of the vehicle by adding roll bard, custom wheels, and even fins. With multiple challenges, detailed environments, and the ability to trick out your truck, this game has what it takes to keep you going for the weekend.