Set in a dystopian future where truck drivers have little to no regard for the safety of themselves or their cargo, Clustertruck is an indie game which is as slick as it’s clever title. The premise is simple, you must leap and bound your way across numerous dangerously driven trucks and reach the goal at the end. Touching the floor or anything which isn’t a truck will result in failure. With failure always a few seconds away, it’s fast and frenetic but rarely frustrating as restarting the level is almost instantaneous.
The sensitive controls will take a few annoying deaths to get used to, but after a while they will be a mere extension of your mind. Anyone who is familiar with Quake or Counter Strike speedruns will feel right at home, bouncing from truck to truck and strafing from side to side to control your speed. The trucks themselves are autonomous, they will stick to a common path but without any awareness of other trucks. Trucks will barge into each other, rear off course, crash into oncoming traffic and drive themselves off cliffs, all while you try and keep your feet off the floor.
The early levels give you little to worry about, gradually easing you into the game. If you’re patient reaching the goal will only take you a few attempts as you carefully hop small distances or ride a single truck to the finish. However Clustertruck’s neat controls and sense of speed entices you to make risky, often idiotic decisions, just for the sake of reaching the goal a few seconds earlier.
As you progress through the campaign spanning 9 worlds 10 levels in each, the absurd nature of the game becomes more apparent. Numerous traps will block your way, from giant hammers and rotating cogs to contraptions that will send you hundreds of feet in the air. Most of these obstacles make you think on the spot, sending the trucks you so desperately need crashing into walls or soaring into the sky. Using an airborne truck to get across to safety never gets tiresome. Unfortunately some traps such as flamethrowers and lasers don’t physically affect the trucks in any way. They don’t add anything to the game, they are an excuse to make the game more difficult. Clustertruck really shines in it’s bombastic moment to moment gameplay. Leaping off a truck just before it explodes, or quickly trying to figure out the way past an upcoming collision. Getting zapped by a laser isn’t half as much fun as getting blown up.
Completing a level will earn you style points, allowing you to purchase 8 movement and 6 utility abilities. Some abilities will dramatically change the way you play, slow motion and double jump comfortably got me through each level, but others might opt for the equally suitable grappling hook. The abilities are a neat addition to the game, none of them feel too gimmicky nor detract from what makes the game fun.
Overall Clustertruck manages to be thoroughly entertaining and also rather surprising, especially near the end. Similar to that of SUPERHOT it has an impeccably clean visual style, without feeling too clinical. The music might not stand out, but it’s certainly suited to keeping your heart racing as you tell yourself “just one more try”. Most players will enjoy it in small 20 minute bursts, probably finishing the game after about 3 or 4 hours of total play. Perfectionists could easily spend tens of hours climbing the leaderboards and racing against the ghost of a friend. But it doesn’t stop there, an in-game level editor with steam workshop support will keep you playing for much longer if you’re itching for more. Not to mention Twitch support allows any viewers to vote on certain events to occur during play. Many players will put the game down after a few hours of memorable fun. However for those who really enjoy the unique twist of high speed platforming and fighting for the highest score, Landfall Games really have gone above and beyond to keep you happy.
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