Car mechanic simulator from PlayWay plc is the next game in what is becoming a crowded simulator genre. However, this simulator will not be pushing you to the limits in the fast lane but more a relaxed problem solving in your own time sort of pace. Despite the slower pace though this game can be a challenge.
The game opens with the tutorial which is pretty much a tour of a fully equipped garage. You can walk around and select tools to be given a description of what they can do and how to use them. Then you add some oil to a car and hit the test track. Tutorial done and you are on your own.
Disappointingly the garage you start with is far smaller than the tutorial one and is only equipped with the basic tools. However, this gives you plenty to aim for as you start to build up cash and upgrade everything. This does take time though so get used to sending the car to ‘Lift A’ for now.
Jobs are sent your way by checking out the office phone, no idea why it isn’t emails, and you accept or decline as you want. Each job has a short description of what might be wrong with it, but it is your job to do the investigating. Story mode jobs are normally harder and require more investigating while normal jobs come with ‘replace my filters’ making them easier.
Once the car arrives in your garage you interact with it through a menu wheel. Early on most cars will be moved to the lift for you to access the wheels and brakes. Once on the lift, you can enter examine mode. Here is where this game is pretty cool. You can move around the entire mechanics of the car and examine each part to check its wear and tear. You can then decide whether you need to replace that part or not.
As you progress you will be able to upgrade yourself and your garage. Upgrades include a new kit for the garage or fast examining speed. Adding new tools to your garage will mean you can test the cars breaks, suspension and other parts a lot quicker so you know what needs replacing. It also means you can deal with more complicated jobs which offer a higher return for your work.
You have access to an old computer where you can buy all the parts you need for your cars. Whether you are replacing an air filter or wanting to put a new set of wheels on your Jeep, everything is purchased here. You have a choice of whether you replace it with the same part of a more expensive nicer piece. Some jobs come with a note to say how the car is used so you can put the right parts on it.
The gameplay early on is a bit boring as you will find yourself replacing brake pads a lot just so you can build up your experience and cash. However, as you get the hang of the game and you level up to build a bigger garage, the game starts to open up. You have the option of finding old rust bucket cars and having your own projects to work on rather than just accepting other people’s jobs.
Visuals are pretty nice, but you are only really ever looking around contained spaces. Cars look good as well but are nothing major. There are little things like the wing mirrors not showing anything when driving on a piece of test kit. Plus some of the tool movements don’t match up to what they are doing, so taking a tyre off is just a tyre floating off an alloy.
The controls will take a bit of time to get used to as I found myself always moving the camera around to get the best view on a part. Until you buy a tablet you have to keep going to your computer to buy the parts rather than right there while working on the car. My biggest annoyance and it’s more of personal preference was the choice of music. It was a bit to rave like for me, I would certainly operate my garage with classical music.
You will also need some basic understanding of how cars work. The tutorial will not teach you to check the alignment of a new tyre before putting it on a car. Instead, the part will not show up as an option to put back on the car. Descriptions of problems can be a vague as ‘there is a banging in the engine’ so you will need to be happy with taking the engine apart to find the broken part.
However, what I loved most about this game is the fact I enjoyed exploring the mechanical side of the cars. I will race a car round Silverstone all day long in a racing simulator but probably never learn the track. Here I was excited to try and figure out what part is causing the issue with a car. Factor in the parts all look great and you can float around the car for easy access and this game is pretty good.
Car Mechanic Simulator offers you the opportunity to learn while playing a game. Yes, the game starts off a bit repetitive, but it soon opens up and gives you the freedom to run your own garage. The joys of repairing a car from a piece of rust to a car showroom quality is a fun journey to go on with this game. You just need to have a bit of patience to get settled in and you will be rewarded.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*