Let's start off by saying Get Packed: Fully Loaded is an awful lot like the popular Xbox indie game Moving Out. Playing solo or with up to 3 other players in local co-op or online, your task is to grab as much furniture, belongings – stuff from various locations, and load it on a van. But while Moving Out required you to load the removal van with a particular list of items within a time limit, Get Packed allows you to stuff anything from the level in the van and send it off (even with you or NPCs in it!) in order to register some points toward the required target score. After a quick drop off, the van returns and you can continue loading. Both games have their merits and individual tactics but Get Packed's presentation is a lot slicker, and I could immediately see why it was popular on Stadia in 2020, and can equally see why they have now released it on Xbox, PC, Switch and PlayStation.
Presented beautifully with Toy Story-esque music and excellent cartoony graphics, the backstory goes that your home town of Ditchlington is taken over by a the greedy Industrial Salt Company. This means that your company, Last Ditch Removals, gets the job of handling the evictions of the city's residents. So it's a race against time to relocate the entire population, private residents, various businesses, a construction site, the bank, the prison – you name it, it has to be packed up and moved out.
I must admit that after enjoying the first few levels, admiring the amount of chaos you can cause and having a few laughs, I started to struggle, as Get Packed suffers from a general lack of control and has a difficult control system to master. Like Human Fall Flat and Gang Beasts, each trigger makes one of your character's hands grab an item or surface, X is the interact button (with a few objects), B is dash, A is jump and Y is 'flop' – just what it says, although we have no idea what purpose this serves as there rarely seems to be anything to duck under.
Initially it seems very difficult to fit enough stuff into the van – even though you can jump over stuff after dragging it into the van, it's very easy to drag things back out and get a penalty amount charged against you (it's actually quite easy to finish a level with a negative total!) The trickiness of loading the van is a right pain until you learn an important 'trick of the trade.' You'll find this in the single player tutorial, and naturally we played and struggled with several levels in multiplayer and the inane, pointless versus mode before we discovered this game-changing action. As you'd correctly expect, even with the lack of space and ever-present danger of messing things up for your teammates, Get Packed is much better as a co-op game – I mean, who plays this sort of thing solo apart from sad, lonely reviewers…?
Anyhoo - if you hold an object with both hands and hold X it 'flat packs' it into a cardboard box – even things like table tennis tables, mainframe computers and the bleedin' great corner unit that reappears on several levels. However, you need to remember that you can't then carry something else with your now tightly-packed cardboard box, or it pops back to its original form and size, and you also don't want to flat-pack anywhere near the van or the doubled-up use of the 'X' button will send it off, possibly empty! But flat-packing does have two benefits: you can obviously fit more stuff into the van and if you flat-pack an item where it sits you're much less likely to damage it en route to the van. Flat-packing would be great if it worked consistently, but it doesn't, and you can stand there holding an object with both your character's hands and dabbing X, holding X, pleading, begging… beseeching X to work and nothing happens, then the next time you pick something up it'll work flawlessly. This is just the sort of intermittent control issue that drives gamers mad – MAD.
Just getting a one-star rating (out of 3) that you need to unlock the next level ain't easy solo, you need to learn the quirks of each level, and get bonus items packed whenever possible to maximise your score. To help your score along Get Packed has some interesting side objectives – you'll achieve some by accident but many are really tough and designed to challenge the most experienced players.
Another BIG problem Get Packed has is that the camera zooms out too far whether you're playing online or couch co-op, meaning that even on a big TV it's difficult to select the exact item you want, even when it's highlighted. This also makes bumping into teammates a regular problem. This 'overcrowded' feeling is compounded by the sheer amount of loose, pick-uppable items on each level, which while impressive, can be a pain in the arse. The next things that "got my goat" were collision detections between player characters and NPCs… They're iffy to say the least and it's also far too easy to knock a team mate over or damage the stuff you're both carrying by colliding, and the NPCs are far too powerful and can knock you unconscious for 3 seconds – which is just long enough to be annoying – anytime they get anywhere near you, which is obviously irritating when you're constantly against the clock. It's very satisfying knocking an NPC out (usually by swinging something around like a whirling dervish or blowing them up with dynamite), dragging them to the van and getting rid of them permanently, but for the most part it's just a waste of time and you're better off avoiding them.
As I mentioned at the start, Get Packed is presented superbly and initially promises a polished gaming experience. The ringbinder selection menu is nicely done but how can silly bugs like the van not returning (which happened to us on several occasions) still be in the game? And another thing; the new versus mode seems virtually pointless in a game that should be about co-operation and teamwork.
If Get Packed was indeed one of the 'Stadia Games of the Year' (which I remember reading somewhere and have also seen some inexplicably high review scores too) then I feel sorry for people who bought Google's platform as their main games source. Xbox, PC, PlayStation and Switch all have several more polished and less annoying online and couch co-op games that are also more fun – and that's the whole point with this genre. If you still fancy a go after reading this, Get Packed is just £16.74 on the Xbox Store.
Special thanks to Mateja at Plan of Attack for the review code.