eSoft Interactive Traffic Jam 2: Palm OS Game


The Death of a Good Idea, A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time, a perfectly nice little company had a perfectly nice little game- eSoft Interactive’s Traffic Jam, based on a board game with the same name. It used few resources, was stable, intuitive, attractive, and fun. I would stack it up against any other company’s offerings for its price of $9.95.

eSoft's Traffic Jam
eSoft's Traffic Jam solved!

[eSoft’s TRAFFIC JAM- a solidly written, fun game!]

The original Traffic Jam is a great game- I even like the cheerful little car horn when you finish the level. A nice little reward.

eSoft decided to update Traffic Jam by making it 3-D. On the surface, this does not seem like a bad idea, but…

Traffic Jam 2 Opening Screen

[The Wait Screen. Get familiar with it. It takes forever to load (and crashes about every 5 tries on my Palm T/X).]

First Screen

[The playing field is smaller. See the overhead view in the upper left? You’ll need it.]

Making moves

[To move, you tap the vehicle, which shows a box around it, and the square you want to move it to. It took several taps to move this truck one square.]

Hidden Pickup

[Trying to tap onto this pickup and then move it was incredibly tough, requiring many, many taps.]

I have played Traffic Jam (the original board game and the first Palm version) for hours, even though I am not a big fan of sliding block games. Traffic Jam 2 is frustrating enough that it has taken me a few weeks to play it enough to review it. One hint for anyone thinking about trying it- make sure your screen is well-calibrated!

OK, something nice to say, something nice to say… surely there is SOMETHING? Well- it only costs $9.95, and I would bet that it is more fun to play the PC version. In fact, I sort of suspect that many of the problems I found vanish with lots of memory, a bigger screen and mouse controls.

Traffic Jam 2 also has more interesting vehicles- buses, fire trucks, and so on. They are oddly pixilated compared to the rather smooth images in the original game, but they add a certain touch that I appreciated. Bottom line- I think the best thing about Traffic Jam 2 is that the original is still available.


Product Information

Manufacturer:eSoft Interactive
Retailer:eSoft Interactive
  • Palm OS (high resolution - 320x320 only)
  • Nicely priced
  • Nice mental challenge as levels build
  • Much of the writing is too small on the T/X screen
  • Takes a long time to load, eats system resources
  • Frequent crashes on my T/X
  • Controlling the vehicles is tougher than it should be
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Claire March 25, 2008, 9:52 pm

    I remember playing a board game version of traffic jam when I was a kid. it came with cards that you’d set in a little holder, setup the little plastic cars and trucks, and try to solve the puzzle. It was fun.

    Too bad they killed it with this. 🙁

  • Mark Adkins March 28, 2008, 7:20 pm

    Claire- I like the board version as well. you may want to give the original Traffic Jam from eSoft a try- it really is well done. I would have reviewed it, but it has been around a while and been reviewed before.

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