Switch version tested
Review code provided
Have you ever wanted to enter the high octane world of buying and selling cars? Do you lay awake at night stressing over which garage will offer you the best value for the repairs needed to turn that dumpster fire of car you bought into a money-making machine? If you answered yes to either of these questions then Car Trader is here for you.
Car Trader is exactly what the name implies. Ultimate Games S.A. have brought the oft-overlooked flipping sim straight from mobile and nestled it into the Nintendo eShop. Players are tasked with buying wrecked cars in an auction format. Like in any flip scenario the object is to buy low and sell high, so players must then pay to have repairs done on their investment. Here you get to decide just how much you’re willing to spend and it is directly attributable to the quality of work done. Buy a knock off BMW at a great price, pay for premium work in hopes of striking it rich. Conversely, spend a little too much on the name swapped Ford and you may want to spend a little less fixing it up. Unfortunately, that is the totality of the game. When you load up the game, you are greeted by a welcome screen and some quick instructions and sent on your way. On a positive side, subsequent plays have the game immediately pick up right where you left off.
Visually, CT is a lacklustre affair. The graphics consist of photos of wrecked cars. The names have been changed in order to avoid licensing fees. So instead of a BMW you get WBM. Players press A to either select the car they want or move onto another auction. Once you’ve found your diamond in the rough the bidding ensues. By now most everyone is familiar with the wild antics that can be had in a bidding war. Over the top calls and hand, gestures filling the halls as people fight to win their prized commodity as the energy pours through arena…except none of that is here. Instead, stock headshot photos pop up as a timer winds down. Once won, the player can continue bidding on cars our select their garage option. Here you select 1 of 5 garages to do the repairs. Once completed it’s back to the auction where you sell your ride. The same stock photos greet you as you nervously wait for bids to rise, culminating in the momentous “Sold” call.
The one piece of voice over in this game is the pinnacle of the game. Sounding more like a speak and spell from the ’80s the overly digitised wording is the only sound you will hear outside of a few dings when bids are entered. The background music is a forgettable affair of two songs. While not atrocious by any means, it wears out its welcome after hearing the same base music and bidding music swapped back and forth.
Gameplay is just as lacking. The entire gameplay is navigating poorly constructed menus with a button press. While coming over from mobile, the touch inputs stayed behind. This is perplexing but ultimately wouldn’t have changed much here. The lack of any true systems stops this one in its tracks. There is nothing built into the gameplay that encourages you to return or dig deeper. After completing the tutorial you have essentially done everything the game has to offer.
Car Trader at its core is port of a lazy mobile game. The stock photo-based bidding sim does the bare minimum required to be classified as a game. There is hardly any user interaction required in what ultimately is a time sink of pressing A. The core concept while intriguing, is never engaging or challenging. This is one that should be avoided.