It is very very easy to see what makes Very Very Valet special. Following in the footsteps of predecessors like Overcooked, Stretchers and Moving Out, it uses a well worn formula but expands it to new areas. In this specific case, being a valet in a world where everything is cartoonishly silly and the stakes aren’t nearly as high. Parking cars and returning them may seem boring but when car launchers, portals and other crazy contraptions are involved, the fun really ramps up.
Each level of Very Very Valet begins with customers dropping off their cars. When they do, the customer gets a numbered flag that corresponds with the car. You are then tasked with placing the car somewhere until the customer comes out of the establishment ready for their car. Picking up cars and returning them to customers starts a timer, and if the timer runs out the customer is kidnapped by UFOs. This mechanic is a strange choice as other games of the genre use things like money or timers to raise the stakes. Here the customer just outright gets removed. The ranking system of the level is based on how many customers get removed vs how many you successfully serve within the time allotted.
The levels switch up when multi level roads are introduced, which makes traversing the roads treacherous, as you are practically jumping off buildings. Portals, car launchers and other mechanisms are also added to transport cars from one inaccessible area to the next. The variations add another layer of difficulty as you are still running against the customer timers and organizing the chaos, and with multiple players it can get hectic. The characters can be best described as high class Muppets, all with their own distinct personality, and you will be able to unlock even more of them with gameplay. Players can drive, jump and push cars, though this method proved pretty ineffective live.
I had previously stated that the task is to place the cars ‘somewhere.’ I say that because there is a parking lot to park the cars, but as it turns out, that isn’t a necessity. In fact, it behooves you to just park the car on the curb, or the street nearby. Later on, traffic is added to stop you from just leaving them in the street willy-nilly, but I found this shortcut worked in many scenarios as a way to override the intended game mechanics. Portals and car launchers became unnecessary, as I just placed cars all over the curb. Finding this loophole definitely took the fun down a notch though as their superfluous nature became apparent and the gameplay became repetitive.
There are bonus stages that remove the valet aspect entirely. These give a nice reprieve with objectives like driving courses or hitting bowling pins around a multi level course. These boosted teams work due to their stricter timers. Another addition to the game is a replay voting system. Four replays of the events of the stage are presented for voting by the players. These are usually silly moments selected by the game to highlight the cartoonish nature of the gameplay. The bonus stages and replays promoted conversation amongst the players and were refreshing breathers between the regular stages.
Very Very Valet does a decent job of turning a format into something new with a different style of play but forgets the stakes in a lot of ways. It de-incentivizes some base mechanics, forgoes a clear cut scoring system, and doesn’t do a lot with it’s difficulty. I had a fun time with the game but never once felt the drive to keep going. To me, this begs the question–how long does this couch co-operative job-like style of gameplay have left before it gets stale? I wouldn’t necessarily say this game is entirely without fun but the stagnancy is quickly apparent.
Independent media like Third Coast Review depends on your support to survive. If you’re able, please consider donating to the Chicago Independent Media Alliance’s annual fundraiser to support Third Coast Review and other important independent media in Chicago.
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content and more. Patreon.com/3CR
You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites on our Twitch channel.