18-Wheeler American Pro Trucker review
Wait, it's over already?
Interesting Parking Mode
Smash up other vehicles
Far too short
This game sees you delivering cargo using an 18 Wheeler across the USA. Pretty simple concept then. But how well is it executed?
Graphically it is best described as functional. It's hard to say there's anything particularly wrong here, but also I wouldn't praise it for standing out. The colours tend to be rather dull, though that is rather fitting when out on the road.
That said, the vehicles have been constructed well enough. I just don't see a whole lot that could be described as 'great'.
Music is somewhat fitting to what you'd expect. The general idea of a radio blaring out of the dash is nice. Some detail has been given to the sound effects, like the honking of horns or the scraping of metal. 18 Wheeler does a better job here than what it looks like. So, what about that all important gameplay?
The concept itself in the main game mode is straightforward enough. You've got cargo to deliver, but you have to do it before your rival beats you to it. Of course, reckless driving is penalised by reducing the value of the cargo, and thus the points rewarded if you succeed. That said, actually reaching your destination isn't so affected by how reckless you are, unless you plant the rig headfirst into a barrier and thus lose precious time trying to point yourself back to the road.
The route between the start point and the finish is littered with many obstacles, although these can be classed under two categories. The first is the environment itself, as sharp corners, barriers and natural hazards will challenge players to find ways around them. Then you have the other vehicles, which are trying to take up portions of the road as well and aren't too keen to give way to your behemoth of a vehicle.
Beating your rival to the finish not only nets you major points but also opens up some parking challenges (which I'll cover later) for even more point scoring.
At first it's actually quite fun. You have to pick out the best routes, weave in and out of traffic and take any shortcut possible to reach your destination before the time limit is up. All the while being careful not to smash into other things so as to not damage your cargo and score.
The biggest problem is that the story mode is far too short. A mere three tracks. There's only so many times you can play a mere three tracks before it becomes boring and repetitve, so a lot of the game's replay vlaue is lost. The whole point system makes it feel like its intent was to challenge the player to set high scores, but honestly the game just isn't that addictive. Yeah, it's fun, but playing the same three tracks repeatedly works to drain that away pretty quickly.
A score challenge mode is also on offer. This takes place over 4 smaller tracks and challenges the player to smash special point cars off the road while avoiding hitting anything else. Unfortunately, it's just too slow paced to have that addictive quality, and so again the intent of score setting is lost to a game mode whose fun is drained away. It doesn't help that the tracks this time aren't that interesting and even have a bit too much in common with one another.
The parking challenge is an intersting and unique idea hindered somewhat by the awkward controls. The idea is to park the truck in special parking bays. Misjudge it and you lose. Sound fun? It can be if you can get your head (and hands) around the controls. Unfortunately the truck tends to be rather unco-operative and tend to move where you don't want it. This is especially true when reversing, as the backend has a habit of going wherever it wants. The parking challenge also puts in some really difficult challenges that would test players in a normal car, nevermind the 18 wheeler rigs.
There is a few decent levels for this mode and variety is there, but again we're back to the whole concept of being too short. Each level doesn't really last too long and there aren't a lot of levels to play through anyway.
The two-player mode naturally suffers from the problems of the single player. However this game mode adds a whole new problem. 18 wheelers are massive, and take up a lot of screen room normally. Split the screen in two and you have a viewpoint nightmare.
There's some decent gameplay in here but it's marred by some notable design flaws and all of it is over far too quickly. A lacklustre presentation doesn't help matters. You might want to give this one a miss.
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