I hadn’t really known what to expect with this one. All I do know is that it seems to have been overlooked. And honestly, that’s probably for the best. Seems a bit harsh to say, but compared to the giants of this type of game, it’s easy to see where this one falls short and the failings it makes. But that’s not to say it’s a bad game.
As a background, you’re training with your uncle to become a truck driver to help the local community. With the training complete, you are introduced to the first member of the community you will be accepting jobs from. A fishmonger by the name of Charlie. As you head to new places while doing jobs, you can find other people to get to know and help.
The writing for these cutscenes – told through text messages – is basic and very casual. And despite the fact you’re meant to be getting to know these people, they seem to be able to read your intent pretty much from the off. Now, sure, you could say they already know each other, but that doesn’t come across in the writing of these conversations. Could be I’m just missing something, but fortunately if you do just want to focus on the driving, these text conversations can be skipped.
The world is designed as you would expect with truck driving games. There are a number of towns around that are pretty much just warehouses and delivery spots connected by a road system, except this one is intent on making little sense. You have freeway junctions that only allow an entrance or exit – sometimes only for one side of it. There’s a town that tries to make itself look larger than it is by adding small unnecessary looping roads, and another which for some reason has its own mini freeway right next to the main freeway.
There’s also what can only be described as a lot of bloat within the world. The freeway system as a whole is much larger than it needs to be. There’s a lot of winding roads justified by mountainous terrain that seems squashed into places. Some roads don’t even need to exist at all, such as the road on the south east that leads to a rest stop, when that rest stop could easily have been placed on said junction. There’s even two towns right next to each that aren’t even connected by a direct road (that area is also the messiest part of the map).
After all that, you could be forgiven for thinking I hate this game. You’d be wrong. Everything needed for a good truck driving game is here. Various functions of the truck are placed on a wheel opened by holding the right shoulder button, with the most important (engine and indicators) also being available on the D-Pad. While steering is a bit stiff at speed, driving around is still as natural as you’d expect.
The mission system is easy enough to understand. Head to a contact, accept a job, hook the trailer to your truck and head to the given destination. Once you arrive, there’s a specific place you need to park the trailer, with a HUD pop-up giving you a bar telling you how accurate the trailer is positioned. There are no bonuses for getting it accurately done, but thankfully there’s the ability to skip parking it once you get to the delivery point.
Regular missions have no set time to get a delivery done, but you can only do one mission at a time. However, some missions do have a time limit on them, where you need to deliver some cargo is a set real time (usually 20 minutes). Other missions require multiple deliveries to be made. Once one trailer has been dropped off, another will need picking up within the same mission.
Skills and passives play a part in improving your character and unlocking new parts for trucks. Experience earned through missions can be used to upgrade bonuses such as higher payment and experience gains, along with longer stamina and fuel use. As you drive, skills are constantly levelling with loyalty upgrades when within a certain manufacturer’s truck, along with others that award money.
There’s a lot of missteps with this game, with some being smaller than others. No customisable controls as of yet, and manual gears are for some reason locked behind certain upgrades, which might not bother some. The big one is the world, which is slightly hard to overlook in design, but when you’re just following the GPS pretty much all the time, it’s less of a problem.
I do find it hard to recommend this for anyone who might have any sort of PC, as the giants of truck driving games are just that much easier to recommend. For a handheld experience of truck driving – and specifically those on the Switch, however, I feel it is worth it. Sure, after many hours you’ll still be driving around to the same few places over and over, but the progression of you as a person rather than of an empire you control should hold people over. That’s why I would recommend this to people. Just maybe wait for a sale.