Have you ever fancied yourself as a binman? Ever wanted to experience a day in the life of the humble workers that take our rubbish to landfill? Well, you’re in luck: here we have Garbage Truck Simulator, the next thrilling title from the makers of such adventures as UK Truck Simulator and Farming Simulator 2011.
True to its name, Garbage Truck Simulator has you indeed trawling the streets of a generic city. As you start the game, you’re thrust into a menu screen, where you’re given the opportunity to name your company – we settled for Bin Kickers – and buy your first rubbish-crushing behemoth, with the option of adding a fancy paint effect for an extra few hundred Euros. You’ll then choose what you’re employees look like, a task that takes huge precedence, just like in the real world.
After that, you scan the job board to see if there are any that take your fancy. Once you’ve selected one, you’re placed inside the vehicle, ready to roll on your first job.
That’s when you realise how difficult it is to actually control. You mash the keyboard, trying to move, but only managing to activate the wipers, turn signals and headlights. You’ll eventually find the keys to move backwards and forwards and reverse your truck to leave the depot, smashing it into walls as you try to leave the car park. Your truck isn’t the easiest of things to control, being hugely cumbersome and sluggish, meaning that turning corners is a hassle. Plugging in a gamepad should but doesn’t help – the only place it seems to work is in the calibration menu in the options.
So after you’ve smashed your truck about a bit and finally escaped your car park prison, you’ll drive down desolate streets populated by pedestrians and robotic cars sparsely littering the roads and pavements. It’s quite a surreal sensation: it feels like you’re driving through a ghost town rather than a living, breathing city. Who knows, maybe the bin bags you’ll be collecting are filled with ectoplasm or something.
It’s at this point that you’ll realise just how excruciating Garbage Truck Simulator really is to play. Due to their nature, the vehicles you drive are slow and heavy, so it takes ages to actually get anywhere. Your tasks are marked extremely poorly on your map, meaning you’ll be wandering the vacant streets looking for your destination. The fact that even nudging other objects, such as cars and street lights, will bring you to a full stop only serve to make the driving even more tenuous and stressful. It’s enough to make you want to stop playing altogether.
If/when you finally manage to arrive at your destination, you’ll pick up your festering treasure and haul it all the way back to the depot, which entails another dreary slog through the game’s dire driving mechanics.
One back at base, you’ll complete your mission and then be sent on your way to repeat the whole process. It’s at this point that Garbage Truck Simulator’s monotonous gameplay truly kicks in: you’ll just collect and deliver refuse perpetually. Yes, you may be picking up some recycling instead of rubbish, or doing so in a brand new vehicle, but there’s really nothing more under the surface.
There’s not much else to say about Garbage Truck Simulator. It does exactly what it says on the tin, but it falls short in so many areas. The driving – a major part of the gameplay – is horrendous, the world its set in is dull and lifeless and you’re never really given any idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. So little has changed, in fact, that, apart from a graphical lick of paint, it would be exactly the same as UK Truck Simulator.
As a simulator, it does its job fine, but there just isn’t enough enjoyment under the chassis to make you want to keep playing. There’s nothing here that will keep you from playing other games and the woeful mechanics will have you weeping with frustration. The only people that will get any degree of enjoyment from this will be the assumingly small fanbase and refuse collectors themselves. There’s something appealing trapped under the bonnet, but the gameplay is so stiff and unresponsive, it remains hidden forever.
It would be too easy to end with a pun about Garbage Truck Simulator ironically being garbage itself, but that would be unfair: it’s not terrible, it just isn’t much fun to play. If offered the opportunity to play yourself, it’s highly recommended that you refuse.
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