War Truck Simulator
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre(s): Action, Driving, Simulation
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 19/01/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
The simulator genre has certainly been busy over the past few years. Farming Simulator has made a name for itself through its emphasis on realism and “hard work”. Meanwhile, Goat Simulator is a deliberately nonsensical parody, turning the genre on its head.
War Truck Simulator seems to have carved out its own niche somewhere in between. I spent most of my playtime wondering if I was not the target of some sort of prank, and for the rest, I was trying to decide how exactly to describe what I had experienced.
World of War Trucks
Let’s start with the visuals. I wasn’t exactly expecting top-notch effects, but War Truck Simulator lands somewhere between Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes on the PS1 and Smuggler’s Run on the PS2. While not in motion, the graphics are bland, beige, and grant you a limited view distance.
Once you start up your truck and set off, you’ll immediately notice trees popping into sight, or abruptly shifting from faded to sharp in the blink of an eye. Occasionally you might run into soldiers, who either stand statically off to one side shooting at you, or march around with no sign that they’re aware of where they are.
It’s also fairly common for the camera to cut through the scenery, showing you the endless void below each stage.
As for sound, it’s fairly minimalist. The truck sounds like a truck so I guess I can’t complain there – though I would not be surprised if someone more knowledgeable pointed out that it’s the wrong type.
There’s no voice acting, but you do have a radio that plays the same set of tunes in each stage. It’s not really my type of music but I can’t really hold that against the game. Nevertheless, it never quite feels right for what’s going on – it reminds me more of the music that plays on menus in WWE games.
Stuck in Second Gear
Well, I’ve put it off long enough. Let’s get to the gameplay.
War Truck Simulator is about driving around warzones transporting troops and supplies from base to base. There’s a couple of references to partisans in the mission descriptions, but that’s the closest it comes to a story.
You start off in a military base for training, and I’ll give it points for going through the basics. Unusually, in my opinion, it opts for pushing the left stick up to accelerate, rather than one of the shoulder or right-thumb buttons.
You can also change the gears, and that’s about as technical as the game gets. There’s no customisation or detailed operation to worry about. The focus is mostly on travelling from point A to B without crashing.
That’ll Buff Right Out
The game’s ways of challenging you mostly come down to bumpy roads, dodgy bridges, and things falling on you. In terms of the latter, this means that any trees that resemble pine trees will probably randomly fall over in your path. Additionally, rocks will drop on you either so far ahead that they’ll never hit you, or on top of you from off-screen.
The partisans also pop mines around some of the levels for you to dodge. They’re conveniently glowing red so they’re difficult to miss, or hard to hit if you prefer. I think enemy soldiers can also shoot at you, but I’ve never hung about long enough to see if they’ll blow me up.
We Need to Torque
As I mentioned at the start, my expectation with Simulator games is either that they’ll be extremely detailed and serious, or comical in nature. War Truck Simulator is neither.
Your truck can fall on its side, slide across the road, and then pop back into its wheels and carry on as nothing happened. If you get stuck on scenery, you can hold down B to reposition your vehicle.
This latter feature is rarely helpful. I usually needed it on bridges where my truck would get stuck on a slightly-raised plank of wood. Holding down B tended to either drop my truck on exactly the same spot, or dump me in the river.
Any soldiers you drive into might as well be Iron Man. The falling trees have no animation at all, simply keeling over at random as you drive near them. Driving into a river will often give you several seconds of casual, unrestricted driving, before slapping a Game Over in your face when the game tires of your antics.
But for all that the game seems to be comical, it also seems to be taking itself seriously. The tutorials talk you through the features with energy but they don’t take the parodical tone you might expect from Goat Simulator. The wonkiness of the game’s visuals feels more like limitations of the game engine, rather than deliberate bugginess intended to spark memes.
It’s difficult to be too critical of War Truck Simulator because there’s an earnestness to its approach that feels like the designers were trying. At the same time, though, it would be disingenuous of me not to be honest about my experience.
War Truck Simulator is a very basic driving game with very little going for it. It has unappealing visuals, a limited soundtrack, extremely basic driving, and a tedious lack of checkpoints. I’d be tempted to suggest that it was put together from the base assets of a game-making kit.
While it’s certainly possible to make great games from limited resources, that’s sadly not the case here. If you really have a war truck driving itch to scratch, pick up Metal Gear Solid V instead…
Rapid Reviews Rating
2 out of 5
You can purchase War Truck Simulator from the eShop
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.