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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Love Traffic - Game of the Day

I doubt there’s a commuter alive that didn’t at one time want the power to control traffic lights. I Love Traffic, a new game by the prolific and talented John Cooney (Hedgehog Launch, Achievement Unlocked, Super Mafia Land), gives you that power. Now that you’re in charge, everyone should make it to work on time, right? Let’s just say that directing traffic is easier said than done.

Each of the game’s numerous levels consist of a top-down view of roads and intersections. As a level begins, the traffic will begin to appear. You’ll need to safely route a predetermined number of cars through each intersection in a certain amount of time, while avoiding fender-benders. The controls are quite simple (just click on a traffic light to change its color), but the action ramps up in such a way that it’ll soon become very obvious why real traffic lights are automated.

The first several levels are pretty easy. At first, you’ll just be dealing with one traffic light, but it won’t be long before you’ll need to manage multiple intersections and signals. You’ll also need to pay attention to the types of vehicles onscreen. Busses and semi-trucks are bigger and slower than your average cars, and motorcycles and police cruisers are much faster. Anticipating car movement is critical if you want to avoid pile-ups. Despite the simplicity of the mechanics, the variety of vehicles and scenarios keeps things fresh.

I must confess, as a resident of Los Angeles, playing a game called “I Love Traffic” was almost more than I could bring myself to do - but I'm glad I did. It's a very interesting and enjoyable little action-strategy game, despite how antithetical the concepts of “traffic” and “fun” may seem.

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