Car Mechanic Simulator Review

Gearheads Unite!

By Shelby Steiner (seriously wondering why I bother telling you)

Few games make me feel better about not being an expert on a given subject. Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 does this quite well. In my head exists the knowledge of how to carry out basic car maintenance, but my motivation to perform those tasks escape me. Sure, I could take the time to change my own oil or put on new tires myself, but I don’t want to. Instead I’d rather pay someone else to do it. Capitalism!

It’s with this in mind that Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 caught my eye while I was browsing my discovery queue on Steam some time ago. I’m generally not drawn to simulator games unless they’re like the amazing Cities: Skylines. I am not into the infamous “simulator” games however.

No, I don’t want to pretend to be Gabe Newell or play zombie survival simulator #256.

Where was I?

Ah yes. Car Mechanic Simulator 2015… I’m just going to call it CMS for short. CMS is a prime example of how to make a simulator game that is fun to play, but true to the formula. Sure, it isn’t a perfect game, but I’ve found myself playing it far longer than I originally expected.

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay in CMS is remarkably simple. Hotkeys are displayed on the screen to show what does what at all times. Your LMB is used to select something and your RMB is used to perform an action. For instance, you can select a car part by left-clicking on the part and remove it in the Disassemble Mode by right-clicking. Some parts are attached with clips or bolts that must be removed, and most parts require you to remove other parts to access.

Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 3_28_2016 3_38_44 PM
I don’t see why I can’t remove the brakes before the tire…

All in all, the controls are pretty intuitive and very simple. Your view isn’t often obstructed by something. The body disappears when you’re working on the cars so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around to get at what you need to. Tasks are straightforward and you’re provided with a good sense of where to start off and playing on Normal breaks you in slowly by giving you parts lists that allow you to find the problem areas quickly. I would recommend starting on Normal to at least get your bearings before moving onto the Expert mode which gives you far less guidance.

All that said, there are a few minor annoyances that you’ll be forced to deal with. The camera has issues dealing with large parts like the the drive shaft or exhaust portions and working with those parts can be a pain because the game only recognizes your mouse cursor when it’s close to the center of the part. Sometimes you’ll find yourself wondering why you have to change the camera angle completely to remove a bolt; I’m assuming that this has something to do with how the game handles the mouse cursor. CMS also doesn’t really give you much of an indication of what your tools and upgrades actually do. I ended up buying the Repair Tools early on, only to realize that the Examine Tools would’ve been the smarter choice.

Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 3_28_2016 3_51_13 PM
What does it all mean?! Seriously though, buy the Tablet and Fast Unbolting ASAP

Also, an option to tag parts that need to be purchased at the computer would be super helpful. The current option at the moment to finding replacement parts for repair orders in CMS is to toggle back and forth between the Repair Order and Car Part Shop.

But as I said, these are minor annoyances and with the exception of the last issue I brought up, are come across fairly infrequently.

PRESENTATION

There really isn’t much to say about CMS’s looks. They’re serviceable, that’s for sure. The graphics are pretty simple. You’ll notice some reflective surfaces and decent textures (except on the PC I used for the review, which uses an antiquated integrated graphics card).

I would say that you’re going to want to shut off the in-game music, as it can become a little grating after a while, but it can be a little fun if you’re pretending you’re in some Fast and the Furious ripoff movie. The sound of the game itself is pretty fun though. I mean, you’re going to hear a ton of tool noises and even some car noises too. Nothing is going to blow your mind in the audio department, but that’s ok. You aren’t playing CMS for the sick beats or kickass tool noises. You’re playing CMS to pretend you’re an ace mechanic.

But enough of that.

ORIGINALITY

This is where I think the game excels. I have not seen anything like this before. CMS is probably one of the most robust mechanic games that I’ve ever seen. Granted, there are a ton of recycled parts for the cars you’ll work on and I’d definitely say that you’ll want the DLC to add a little more variety. Even so, you’re going to be fixing a metric crap-ton of of Royale Biancos for a while.

Nevertheless, CMS is an excellent example of what a developer can do when they want to find a niche to fill and Red Dot Games appears to executed their vision very well. In addition to all of this, CMS also supports mods, which I haven’t taken the time to play around with yet. It’s needless to comment on that however, since players are likely to not only find mods that enhance the experience, but perhaps even create a few themselves.

STORY AND MULTIPLAYER

Here’s where things get interesting…

In CMS’ story you play as Beardy McMechanicson who lives in Gearopolis, Cartruckistan. You start out the story having been forced to work for an evil corporation called CARtel, which runs a front business of mechanic shops to hide the drug smuggling ring they….

I can’t keep that up. There really isn’t a story. Or multiplayer. The thing is that CMS doesn’t need a story or multiplayer. The game is fun enough on it’s own. Besides, if you’re looking for a compelling story, I highly doubt you’re looking to find one in a game called Car Mechanic Simulator.

Unless you’re wanting to forge your own Destiny story and become legend.

WILDCARD: MECHANIZED PURISM

CMS is a game that sells itself, which sadly makes my review kinda moot. There’s little that I can add that might sway someone one way or another on the game.

I will say one thing about CMS though. I am pretty surprised about how much I enjoy playing it and I haven’t found  a simulator game quite like this; one that simulates work at its most basic yet still remains fun. I think the key to it all is that Red Dot Games didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with CMS. They just took the idea and made it happen, and I can appreciate that.

Revelations

So here we are. Car Mechanic Simulator, GOTY 2015.

Just kidding. It’s a damn good game, but you should know that The Witcher III: Wild Hunt took that coveted spot in my heart already. Nonetheless, CMS has proven to be quite the surprise and has even taught me a little about cars in the process of entertaining me. For example I learned to always drain the oil from a car before trying to remove the oil pan, that people generally want to have their car returned to them with the drive shaft attached, that car parts are sold by ruthless businessmen that give zero shits about small businesses…

tommy-boy-zalinsky
…care about the American working man, my ass…

and that CMS is like the WebMD for cars.

It turned me into a shrewd customer and I’m not going to take any crap from auto mechanics ever again.

Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 3_28_2016 4_09_26 PM

On second thought. I should probably still be nice if I want my car to stay in one piece. They’d probably make me buy back all of the parts they removed too.

All joking aside, Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 is an excellent game. Not without its flaws, but excellent.

 

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3 thoughts on “Car Mechanic Simulator Review

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