Rover Mechanic Simulator
Developer: Pyramid Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre(s): Educational, simulation
Platform: Xbox Series X (also available on PC and PlayStation)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 22/09/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Rover Mechanic Simulator
We live in a time where you can now play a simulator for everything and anything; power washing, goats and even construction . So to be able to stand out in the sea of simulators is no easy task. Rover Mechanic Simulator – as the title suggests – sees you working on various Mars Rovers, assembling, cleaning and fixing different vehicles so they are able to function again. Some simulators thrive and become instant classics while some silently whimper and become just another name on the list. Rover Mechanic Simulator, is the latter.
The story is simple. You are the mechanic, working in a settlement on Mars. Shortly after I had started Rover mechanic Simulator, the issues immediately became apparent. The game gives you an overview of the controls and before even leaving the first area, having just turned the camera 90 degrees, I experienced some very noticeable drops in framerate. I was then shown into the main hanger where markers highlight the different machines you are expected to interact with, and a wall of text tells you which each one does.
Get used to this hanger as this is where the rest of the game takes place. This room, although filled with benches and machines, still somehow manages to feel empty and lifeless. The machines consist of the 3D printer, the crusher and various others. I made a beeline straight for the radio in order to bring a little background music into my life, and was presented with six options: rock, classical, electro swing, pop, synth and hip hop. I opted for a little classical music and began looking around.
Life on Mars
From here you are given an objective based around the repairing of various Mars Rovers. This is done by first moving the rover from the conveniently placed truck, onto a table and inspecting for damage. The objective tells you the general issue (broken wheel, broken camera etc.) and it is up to you to locate the problem. Firstly you need to enter a scanner type mode to find the damaged part. After identification, it’s time for extraction. With a simple push of the D-pad, you can switch to disassemble mode. This is where the game starts to drag and boredom very quickly set in.
To remove the various parts, you highlight it, select it with the A button, and then hold X to unscrew each individual screw. There is an upgrade system which can reduce the times of the unscrewing but I would have preferred a more immersive experience, perhaps using a joystick to mimic the actual screwdriver turning. Instead you have to sit there, holding this button and waiting for the component to be removed. After you do finally get to the damaged part, you can stroll over to the crusher and recycle the part for the game’s form of currency.
3D printing in Rover Mechanic Simulator brings another annoyance in that you have to stand there and wait for the parts to actually complete. This is not so bad if you are only doing one or two bits at a time, but when I had more than this I often found myself putting the controller down and looking at my phone or getting something to eat. There is an old school games machine, just to the right of the printer but the games on this feel unresponsive and do not capture the magic felt the first time you played them all those years ago (I’m looking at you, Snake).
Once the part has finally finished printing, you reassemble the rover. If everything is working as it should be, then you get the option to configure the rover. This involves the only variation in the game in the form of a mini game. This mini game requires you to create a path from one marker to the other. It’s ridiculously easy and feels like it was only added as a filler. Once this has been completed, you are free to complete the mission and do it all over again.
I’m up in Space, Maaaaan!
Usually, a simulator game can keep me hooked for hours on end. The amount of time I’ve spent trundling around a garden on a lawn mower or spraying a bungalow down with a power washer just flew by and I’ve regularly lost track of time. Unfortunately, the time I spent on Rover Mechanic Simulator felt more like a chore and I have had to force myself to start the next mundane task. After a short amount of time, the constant holding down buttons and walking back and forth to the 3D printer and the workbench was more of a grind than it should have been.
I even had to turn off the radio providing the background music as the same couple of songs played on repeat over and over. These aren’t any songs you would have heard before either. It sounded like someone asked an AI what it thought rock music or hip hop sounded like and added the first thing that was presented. The only positive I could find was that one of the songs on the “classical” station reminded me of the Nibelheim theme from Final Fantasy 7, however, even that started to get annoying after the fifth time of hearing it within twenty minutes.
Nights of Cydonia
I was excited at the prospect of playing a game where the objective is to fix up snazzy looking Mars Rovers in a simulation kind of way but I was ultimately left disappointed. Not only was the jittery framerate enough to immediately set off warning signals, the game looks bad too. The parts of the rovers are not especially detailed and this could easily pass for an early Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 era game.
There’s nothing to make me want to return to Rover Mechanic Simulator and the whole experience has left a rather bitter taste. It’s difficult to find anything positive to say, however the negatives come thick and fast; the repetitive, boring mission structure, the mid 2000’s graphics, the choppy framerate before I had even taken my first step, the list goes on. You may find some fun to be had if you are mechanically minded and enjoy taking things apart but don’t go in with high expectations.
Rapid Reviews Rating
1 out of 5
You can buy Rover Mechanic Simulator in the Microsoft Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.