“…part silly fun, part challenge and at times comes with a hefty sprinkle of mechanics-based frustration.”
Have you ever dreamed of frantically parking and returning the colourful and varied vehicles of hungry patrons arriving at a plethora of intricately and oddly designed establishments? Have you considered whether driving off the roof of the car park (or parking lot, if you will) might be faster than going for the ramp? Perhaps you have always believed that portals are frankly more effective than traditional entrances anyway. If you answered yes to any or all of these concepts, then Very Very Valet may be very very up your street!
An Overcooked-style game where the basic premise is to complete a theoretically-basic task amidst a requirement for pace and an atmosphere of chaos, Very Very Valet is a car care simulator for you and your friends where you must work at speed to establish vehicular efficiency and order. In simple terms, you only need to park arriving cars and return them when their owners have completed their business (usually eating, naturally). Occasionally, you even have the opportunity to step aside from the day job and test your skills in arenas such as a bowling challenge which will test your manoeuvrability to the max. In reality, the mayhem and nonsense that unfolds in the game is part silly fun, part challenge and at times comes with a hefty sprinkle of mechanics-based frustration.
Getting to know the game is as easy as pie. A simple tutorial explains how to jump, enter and exit a vehicle and drive. Other than this and the occasional shoving of friends, there is little more knowledge needed to play and enjoy. The driving mechanic, which is of course the centerpiece of the gameplay, is wild by design but occasionally to its detriment. Controlled entirely using one analogue stick, you simply need to push in the direction you wish to travel and your character will (sometimes) oblige. Whilst the tutorial does explain the notions of the handbrake turn and stopping to adjust your direction if you get into a muddle, the mechanic fails to feel comfortable or under control even hours into the game. Although it is intended to be silly and all over the place, this can cause some serious frustration when you fail at missions through what *feels* like no fault of your own. A workable and purpose-built feature the bonkers driving may be, but an enjoyable one… that’s a lot harder to call, and that truly hurts the game.
If you can get to grips with the handling of the game, a range of maps and scenarios await for you to play through. These are well designed with a different challenge present in each level and imaginative features such as portals and jump pads arriving just soon enough in the mix to let you know that the game is certainly not going to feel samey. I found it notably easier to complete each level to a 3-out-of-3 star standard with a companion than I did playing solo, with difficulty levelling feeling just a little off, but never felt that what was placed before me was impossible for my fuzzy, Muppet-like character to navigate. Bright and colourful design with plenty of clear signposting meant it took seconds to calculate the expectation of any given map, allowing for the rest of the playtime to be spent on strategy and shenanigans.
Whilst intentionally challenging, Very Very Valet is well-designed to suit all skill levels. A strong range of settings can be adapted on a level-by-level basis to make your experience for your team, such as increasing or decreasing the time available to collect or deliver a car to a customer. This helped me to adapt the game to suit the different friends and family members who I invited to play with me, and ensured that everyone was having fun. Despite any criticisms I might have noted, in fact, it is crucial to note that fun is blatantly at the core of what the development team at Toyful were aiming for and they pull that aspect off well. From visuals to gameplay to reviewing the highlights of your match and having the option to replay the antics, the game truly sets out to create an enjoyable and rounded experience.
I have my frustrations with Very Very Valet, but I did enjoy playing it. It brought laughs and good, cooperative banter to my living room at a time when people are coming back together for just those kind of experiences. At times, I felt that perhaps the game would be best suited for mobile, but when I played it on the TV with others it shined in its style and shareability. The price tag (£19.99 at the time of writing) is perhaps a little steep for what you get, but in a sale down the line this game would be a fair pick for anyone looking for an enjoyable evening of minor mayhem with mates.
Very Very Valet will be available for Nintendo Switch at U.S. retailers for $29.99 May 25th and the Nintendo eShop globally for $24.99 / £19.99.
From video game publisher Nighthawk Interactive and developer Toyful Games
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