Game Review: Trash Panic
Release: June 4, 2009
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available Platforms: PS3 (via digital download)
ESRB Rating: E
Website: Trash Panic
Trash Panic is the American version of “Gomibako”. The game’s announcement was with an Earth Day marketing standpoint to give gamers a reason to try this new take on the puzzle genre. Lots of times when people think puzzle games, Tetris, Bejeweled, and Columns come to mind (or is that just me) where you have to make something magically disappear and having more items take it’s place. In this game you are given the task of getting rid of lots of real trash in a hurry. Not by magic, but by breaking it down, and making room for more.
The trash comes in on a conveyor belt and it is your responsibility to break down the trash, usually by slamming the trash down (with the Triangle button) causing it to break. A word of caution: not all trash can be broken by brute force. You also have to “shake” the can with your Sixaxis/Dualshock3 to help the contents settle to make more room for all of the trash coming. You can also “burn” or “decompose” the trash, but that comes later.
While you play through the game you have the choice of either being eco-friendly or “ego” friendly. Properly disposing of the trash and keeping the play area clean will help you become eco friendly. Releasing toxic fumes and using explosive material to empty your can will push you to the ego-side of trash removal. Once you clear a stage, you get a grade for your trash disposal skills; you can get anything from an E to an SSS. You lose a stage by having 3 pieces of trash fall from your can undamaged (which shows you tried to dispose of it correctly) or by having one “Boss piece” fall out your can undamaged.
I really like the concept with this game. I never thought I would enjoy taking out the trash. It gets interesting when you start getting “unusual” items to dispose of, which can make it a little harder for you. There are in game rewards to earn as you play through the game. There are also online leader-boards, and offline multi-player so two people can go can to can to see who takes out the trash best. The controls felt like a normal puzzle game, and the inclusion of a “hold” button definitely makes the game a little easier to play. There is a decent amount of modes to play through, with three difficulty levels.
It is hard to find improvements with puzzle games in my opinion, especially with this one. My only complaint would be in the logic of the trash progression. It just felt like certain times they wanted you to fail; who sends all of those wooden objects with no way to set them on fire ?
They could also fix the “Trash Out” indicator. When your trash falls out of the can undamaged, there is a lot of attention drawn to that piece as time slows down and the “super action lines” are all around that piece. I know the piece fell out; there is no need for that much attention to my deficiencies as a trash specialist, is there?
For a 4.99 game, you should get it. It’s a great way to kill time and it helps you think outside the box for trash disposal/arrangement. I think it’s also a suitable way to bide your time until there’s a Tetris release for the PS3.