So there are two ways we could describe this app:
1. A game based around the phasing of traffic lights in central London.
2. A game where you get to smash taxis into buses and blow the London Eye up and shit.
Watch this beauty:
Traffic Panic London is a pretty basic concept. All you have to do is flick the lights from red to green to keep the capital moving. It’s like Frogger, but without the lily pads and with much more carnage. Crashed cars can be blown sky-high, with devastating effects on the surrounding buildings.
For reasons we can’t entirely fathom, it turns out to be supremely addictive. Can you beat your previous score? Can you raise enough credits to access new vehicles and scenery? Can you cause an almighty pileup that somehow blows the top off Big Ben? Special missions (such as destroy 10 trucks, or knock over four traffic lights) add to the appeal.
The downside is that the game is heavily reliant on in-app purchases. To access new levels you either have to play the thing for hours to raise enough credits, or spend a bit of cash by way of shortcut. Not everyone will feel warmth towards this situation. Alternatively (and this is quite devious) the app company have made deals with several websites, whereby you can earn credits by becoming Facebook fans or joining mailing lists. Again, not everyone will feel comfortable ‘liking’ a trainer manufacturer in order to blow up virtual vehicles, but you have to applaud the business model.
The recreation of London is cartoon-like, with famous landmarks such as Battersea Power Station, Admiralty Arch, the London Eye and the Tower all clustered tightly together. Neat touches include a kerb-side Tardis and Piccadilly Circus illuminated with ads for the company’s other games. You just wonder where all the pedestrians are.