Inspired by the granddaddy of all mobile games, PAKO Caravan is a reimagining of Snake in which you play as a car pulling an ever extending string of trailers behind you. It isn’t a unique concept, but it has been executed with enough originality to make it interesting.
The premise, as you might imagine, is the same as that of its predecessors. You move your car around the stage collecting trailers that are added to the back of your caravan as you go. You have to collect as many as you can without crashing into your tail or any obstacles in your path. If you crash, you start over.
There are a total of fifteen different stages, each with different layouts, obstacles and twists. Each stage comes with a checklist of ten achievements you have to complete to gain enough stars to unlock the next stage. Half of the stars for every stage are awarded for reaching certain milestones with the length of the caravan you build. This stays loyal to Snake’s original goal of just making a really big snake. There are also hidden objects to find, cones to knock down and obstacles to jump over.
Each stage has a couple of achievements exclusively designed to suit its theme. This ranges from scaring off the bats in a graveyard to clearing up the spilled milk in a shopping centre to allowing UFOs to steal a certain amount of trailers.
The cars you drive are different for each stage, meaning they handle as well as look differently. For instance, the car being chased by police moves at a much faster speed than the tractor. This gives the game, which has broadly the same goals across quite a few levels, a nice bit of variety between levels. You have to pay attention to these details to consider how to approach each stage, making PAKO Caravan more engaging than your standard Snake reboot.
On top of this, the art style is quite lovely. The game is all gentle colours and soft lines that create a relaxing mood that lends itself to the simplicity of the classic premise.
It is a decently challenging game. Each stage will take a couple of plays to get used to before it’s clear what the best approach will be to tackle its unique achievements. Depending on your driving skills, you might play for some time before you manage to get them all.
PAKO Caravan is far from a complex game, but its foundation is one that works. It takes a game that we already know is fun and addictive and gives it a new element to make it worth the time over digging out a Nokia 3310 to replay the original. It offers a healthy dose of nostalgia balanced out with new features that make it feel genuinely fresh and interesting.