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Pile Up! a sloppy and rushed clone

Who would’ve thought that controlling a traffic intersection would be a genre for a game on a handheld device. Crazy what a world we live in, isn’t it? Well, here we are in the 21st century paying money to purchase a game that puts you in the shoes of a traffic guard in a very busy intersection. Yes, this game is Pile Up by (“The Wars”, “Turret Wars”, “Parking Mania”) and let’s put our traffic guard vest on, guide those cars to safety and see if this game Pile Up is a wreck or if its a hit.


The object for you is to safely guide each vehicle to the correct lane without any accidents happening on your watch. There aren’t any other various modes so if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, or rather if this doesn’t start your engine, then you should just dismiss this game altogether.

There are three different levels. You start off with level one and to unlock the next one you must clear a certain amount of cars before an accident occurs. There are up to 4 different colors of cars going various directions.

In the first level you start with 1 intersection with 2 lanes and 2 colors: red and blue. As you progress and you unlock the 2nd level, you’ll move up to 4 colors and they each go in their own separate directions. What’s tricky is that there is no way to brake or speed up your car once you release them into the intersection. If you wait too long to decide when to let a car enter the intersection, you’ll be sorry. If cars start to get backed up and they wait at the line too long, the car behind them honks their horn and forces the car in front of them to leap forward into the intersection regardless of who’s on the road. That’s where the handy dandy feature of “forcing” a car into another lane comes into play. If you can’t seem to get the red car into the red lane and it’s been a while, then you can simply drag your finger and “force” the red car to go into the blue lane. You won’t be awarded a point, but you avoided a crash.

Another convenient feature however is the “fast forward” button that is popular in line-drawing apps like Flight Control and also in tower defense games like Fieldrunners. This is extremely useful when you are waiting for the exact timing or after you’ve allowed many cars into the intersection safely and you’re just waiting for them to pass.

Other than that, that’s the whole game. There’s only three levels, and four different color types that you will be dealing with. The gameplay is shallow and lacks any kind of depth. But I guess you get what you paid for because it’s only a dollar, right? Wrong. There are a plethora of games out there that have much more replay value and are just flat out more entertaining than Pile Up. What makes the line-drawing apps like Flight Control enticing and avoid tediousness is that its a line-drawing app and it has alluring sound effects that add feel to the game. This being just a “tap” game takes away any sort of entertainment and reduces it to merely a timing precision game that will get old fast.


There are games that are just meant for the iPhone / iPod. Games that just flow and the controls perfectly coincide with the device’s mechanisms. This is not one of those games.

As your car simply lines up behind the line, it will have a certain color. If it’s red, it will go where the red arrow is pointing, and if it’s blue then it will go where the blue arrow is pointing and so on and so forth. What makes it tricky, is in the first level there are other cars going down the lanes that you must maneuver around. In the 2nd and 3rd levels, there’s no other car drivers but simply you are competing against your own brain. Cars will get entangled and lanes become death row because as soon as you touch the car, it immediately loses its color and heads to the specific lane. That might confuse the user as things get more “traffic-y” and cars start to “pile up” at the stop signs.

As I mentioned earlier, that’s where the “force drag” comes into play. It works very responsively and reacts on your movement so that’s good. And another convenience is that your finger does not have to be directly on the car but rather just in the vicinity. It’s nice to know that they were thinking about the “thicker” fingered fellas.

What We Liked:

+ Up to 3 diverse levels

+ Simplistic gameplay

+ Responsive controls

+ Fast forward button

+ “Force” car into opposite lane

+ Twitter integration

+ Quick save and resume

What We Disliked:

– Needs more levels desperately

– Repetitive

– Lacks depth

– Lack of global leaderboard

– Sub-par graphics

– Lack of distinguishable sound effects or soundtrack during gameplay

– Doesn’t utilize hardly any of the fullness of the handheld device’s power

– Adds nothing new to the genre

Final Verdict:

In my estimation, Pile Up was a sloppy, rushed attempt to compete with the “Flight Control”s and “Traffic Jam”s of the App Store. It only has 3 levels, lacks polish, is average in every aspect and has nothing new to add in the genre. Pile Up is a simple timing and precision “tap” and “touch” game that fails to utilize the greatness of technology on handheld devices. Save that dollar and put it somewhere it can be of greater use.


5 Replies to “Pile Up! a sloppy and rushed clone”

  1. Stewie

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. we don’t need any more of these games. Period. Devs, feel free to move on!

  2. Seishu

    For all these traffic control game clones I have just one thing to say.


  3. snow_mani

    It’s a shame this game turned out to be more like a Lada instead of a Porsche. I saw this game in the App Store when it was released and I’m now glad I didn’t take it for a drive.

  4. mklauber

    yep, not interested.

  5. Mr. Charley

    I guess all there is to say is thanks for saving me that dollar.