Get Packed Review: There's More Than One Way to Make Moving Fun
The influence of Overcooked is far-reaching and ever-expanding, and recently, we saw that influence spread to not one, but two games sporting very similar concepts.
The special brand of co-op popularized by the kitchen chaos arcade game has manifested in two different co-op games based on moving furniture. While we've already shared our glowing thoughts about one of those games, we thought it's only fair to cover all our bases.
It's a weird niche to serve twice in the same week, but in the end, Get Packed manages to stand proudly beside its release-day rival by doing things in its own hilarious way.
Get Packed Review: There's More Than One Way to Make Moving Fun
Get Packed is playable for up to four players in local or online play and across several modes, including a campaign, versus, and destruction. Whichever you choose, the colorful and bubbly characters and levels you've come to expect from games like this are back once more. The campaign, though shorter than I anticipated (with at least one more three-level chapter coming later), manages to propel Get Packed into its own deserved spotlight.
The rules are simple on the surface: move the items from the house into the moving truck. But unlike in Moving Out, where you're asked to collect a dozen or so very specific and often heavy and/or oblong items, in Get Packed, everything is pretty light. This gives the whole game a sense of silly speed, and it's amplified by the spaghetti-like arms that flail about for each of the four customizable characters.
Get Packed also isn't discerning with what you throw into the moving truck. While chairs, bookshelves, and couches are all eligible, so too are fire hydrants, rocks, and even Black Friday shoppers or the SWAT team that shows up when you crack open a bank vault. It's a mad dash, and while its counterpart plays more like a puzzle, Get Packed is closer to a physics playground.
I would be misguided to use this singular review to compare two similar games, but in playing both Moving Out and Get Packed this week, I really came to appreciate what the latter does differently.
Moving Out, if you're keeping score, is more of the Overcooked heir apparent they both appeared to be. Get Packed instead dazzles as something closer to Gang Beasts or Human Fall Flat. It's unhinged, and it stands out because of that.
The ragdoll physics are all at once absurd, unwieldy, and laugh-out-loud funny. Flailing about and trying to latch onto whatever you can is a swift and exciting central mechanic, whether that's in a house or, in later levels of the surprisingly twisty story, in places such as construction yards, banks, and more.
Rather than get progressively more challenging with each level, stages tend to introduce one weird new highlight. One level depicting a Silicon Valley office includes an indoor slide for its ethically confused staffers. In the construction yard, a wrecking ball swings back and forth. You can see how environmental hazards like these may heighten the absurdity of every outing.
Challenges in each level help lengthen the game as well, and even as I'm not one to chase challenges as additional content in games too often, I found myself relishing the chance to get back to some of my favorite levels and check off more of the boxes. Stashing five cops in a moving truck is especially fun, considering you must first knock them all out with the wet noodles you call arms.
As it usually goes with games of any kind, Get Packed is better with friends, and like other games of this sort, it's easier too. Some challenges, in particular, feel impossible without friends on your side, and while the lobbies are quiet right now just days after launch on a platform still finding its footing, it's nice to have the online option when games like it sometimes keep it local.
Where it differs most from games like it, Get Packed is sometimes better off, but not always. As mentioned, its campaign doesn't climb a hill of difficulty, but rather it keeps throwing a novel new mechanic in each level, so while some levels are harder than others, they likely won't be played in that order by anyone. In turn, this keeps the game less hair-pulling as stuff like Overcooked can get as they go deeper into the game.
You'll still need to clear a minimum score threshold to advance the story and unlock the next level, but I never felt like I couldn't beat it alone or with at least one competent ally. I still drive my wife crazy with my paradoxical adoration and aversion of Overcooked because that game can get stressful. But Get Packed doesn't cross that line. Every level is fun, not frustrating, even as you'll still have those moments of yelling at your teammates through laughter, which is essential anyway.
Where the game struggles the most is in one particular mechanic that never gets to be as useful as it should. As the game happily lets you smash and dash items through virtually any exit you try, naturally, a lot of stuff breaks. It doesn't matter so much when you can rip literally anything out of a room short of the wallpaper and carpeting. Still, if you're really trying to keep things in one piece, you can use a power-up once every 15 seconds that lets you pack an item (ideally a large one) into a small box.
It helps you get it on the truck intact, but to do this, you must first grab the item with both hands, and that's the problem. The way your arms flail about like Woody from Toy Story makes this a difficult maneuver to land, and time is of the essence. In the end, this may slow you down too much as it did me, and you may elect not to use it much too.
Get Packed Review — The Bottom Line
- Carves out its own hilarious co-op chaos in a growing genre
- Level design consistently provides new silly mechanics and hazards
- Challenge system feels worthwhile and often leads to secrets
- A basic but surprisingly considered story leads players to unexpected locales
- Campaign feels a bit short
- The packing mechanic is unreliable
In the weeks leading up to April 28, I became obsessed with the strangeness of two games presenting the same niche idea launching on the same day. This isn't just Battlefield and Call of Duty of the last generation. Get Packed managed to arrive on the same exact day as another indie game about moving furniture onto a truck with friends. That's weird, right?
But then as I played it, I quickly came to see not just how Get Packed differs from its launch day counterpart, but how those differences are important, and sometimes leave Get Packed as the better game. I didn't know the video game industry was big enough for two colorful co-op titles about moving, but now I know it is, and if you like games of this nature, Get Packed is a smart move.
[Note: A copy of Get Packed was provided by Coatsink for the purpose of this review.]