Yeah, monster trucks!
Big wheels keep on turning as Monster Truck Championship crashes onto the Xbox family of consoles. Developed by Teyon and published by Nacon this larger than life racer will have you battling across the US of A in races, drag races and freestyle events that see colossal beasts provide joy for all ages in pursuit of that coveted podium position.
A childlike sense of wonder
Everything about the game is over the top and big, there’s a real sense of scale and weight to each of the 16 trucks as you smash and crash your way through the campaign. While there’s not a massive amount of content, the different modes and unlockable elements will keep you busy for a couple of hours as you travel across 25 optimised arenas. Hire and fire the pit crew and PR gurus that act as bonus modifiers giving rewards for hitting specified criteria.
Gameplay is a mix between arcade and simulation that blends together almost seamlessly resulting in an accessible racing experience, if you are willing to unlearn what you know. The biggest hurdle to overcome is in how the trucks handle. Staying true to their real-life counterparts you will need to control each axel independently albeit with analogue sticks. The tutorial is really useful and should be completed, I’m guilty of usually skipping these unless there’s an achievement involved of course. Having said that, it’s relatively easy to pick up after a couple of test runs and makes trucks surprisingly nimble in manoeuvring around the tightest of corners which can give you the edge over opponents.
It’s a Wreckfest out there
If you wanted to get a parallel of what to expect, then look no further than the excellent 2014 Wreckfrest by Bugbear Entertainment and THQ Nordic. Trucks crumple and side panels disintegrate in mirrored physics with one poorly timed collision that can see you go from first to last. The game is fun but testing at crucial times and for a 2021 optimised game seems somewhat archaic.
Visually the game looks dated even though it benefits from magical optimisation of smart delivery for the Series X|S. That’s not to say it’s bad looking though, vehicles are chunky in design and the supporting tracks are detailed enough but you miss the majority of what is going on while at full speed. The odd pyrotechnic here and there when finishing an event adds to the feeling of triumph.
I guess the biggest disappointment is the obligatory hard rock soundtrack, it fits the theme well but irritates quickly. Thankfully the sound effects are beefy with engines that rip through your eardrums as the sound of metal grinds together at the mere sight of another truck.
Fans of the racing genre should definitely consider Monster Truck Championship as an addition to their collection en route to the Major Championship medal. While there is little new, it offers enough to make races fun and unpredictable as the fine line between skill and luck becomes blurred. Freestyle mode allows for creativity and is extremely satisfying when you pull off the perfect trick like a regular Tony Hawk behind the wheel. And that’s even before you add multiplayer into the equation for even more entertainment.
Monster Truck Championship offers a unique twist on the standard racing formula. While there isn’t a lot new or visually groundbreaking it’s as solid as the trucks it aims to recreate. Gameplay feels chunky and you’ll have a fun time smashing around each event.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation
Release Date: 15/10/2020
No. of Players: 1-8
Download link: Microsoft Store