Try Hard Parking (THP) is a labor of love that you just don’t see too often in the industry nowadays. What’s important to know is that THP was developed by one man in Bangladesh, a South East Asian third-world country, a country that is not involved in newly established advancements, that is east of India. Of course, this includes the realm of videogames, where only now is Bangladesh moving into the craft of game design and creation. This is part of what makes THP such a surprising title. As shown through the credits and the descriptions in the steam store, this is not the developers first written language. This is one young man, Sayem Chaklader, a humble Bangladeshi who put his heart into a game and released it into the world, and he should be proud.
Now, the game quickly establishes what it wants you to accomplish. You will be forced to go through courses that makes something as simple as parking seem like a more than irritating task. You drive various cars through cruelly designed obstacle courses that are meant to irritate you, but still keep you motivated. After fifty tries of a level (the game tracks your attempts) you still have this feeling of, “one more go, I can do it this time.” It has this well-made balance of being very hard but definitely possible with enough luck and willpower. THP dons itself the moniker of “hardest and most rage-inducing parking game in the world” and even if it isn’t the “most” rage-inducing it will anger you to no end. It is though, a tagline that grabs you.
Onto the actual gameplay, THP is an obstacle course that isn’t meant to be picked up and done easily. The physics will confuse you and cause you to fall off the track. The angle will confuse you and cause you to misjudge jumps. The controls are very touchy and almost unresponsive on purpose. You hit the gas and it will take a second for the car to actually pickup and when it gets going you’re going fast. Understanding the car and the mechanics is the key to this game. That being said, depending on how hard you’re pressing the gas button impacts your speed. For that reason the game is MUCH better and highly recommended to play with a controller rather than a keyboard. It has an 80’s neon style as if you just went nightclub hopping. The screen even has this VHS like effect to it that’s really cool. The game consists of this electronic synth soundtrack that fits perfectly within the entire aesthetic. The gameplay is quite addicting as you’ll never want to give up and put the controller down. Whether you’re trying it for the first time or trying to improve your current time, it thrives on the idea of “Just five more minutes” or “Just one more try.”
The entire game has this odd charm and self awareness that adds to the experience. The term “tryhard” is an insult you’ve probably been called if you were trying to win any multiplayer game and usually implies that you’re pretty bad so stop giving so much of a crap. The title of the game right off the bat is insulting you. Earning the best time in a certain amount of tries gets you the “Super Tuber” ranking, in reference to the youtubers who helped make this game a bit more popular. There’s even an achievement called “Takumi ’86” referencing the racing manga Initial D. This game is shameless and oblivious in the jokes it makes. Normally it could come off as annoying but comes off as admirable in this setting. More on Bangladeshi gaming, it’s astonishing to see the style and small references that you can pick from an area that presumably has no indication that they should know this kind of material. Considering how gaming in Bangladesh is still in its infancy, this game is ahead of its time. It even makes homage to other games with the style it takes inspiration from. The more I look at crude shapes I even start to get this Geometry Wars vibe from it. The creator is very connected to the culture this game is inspired from and made something with pieces from what he knew or has loved in the past. Isn’t that what making a game is all about?
All in all, THP is a cute little title with origins arguably more interesting than the game. It shines in its presentation and heart rather than gameplay. The game may be short but with the promise of more levels in the future and a measly $2 price tag it is hard to resist. This game is definitely for you if you enjoy a rousing challenge with stellar style. If you enjoy the challenge of other platform racers like Tricky Truck and Trials than this will fit right in. This game gets an easy pass, as its shortcomings don’t overshadow the flaws it has. The definition of passable, THP gets a 7 in my book. Play this game. Get mad at it. Beat up your computer from frustration. Finally, beat the game from determination.