Rumble Trucks is one of those games that comes so close to getting everything right that when things don’t quite click, the whole experience ends up feeling like a massive disappointment. While it’s far from being a terrible game and might even be worth a punt at £2.49 (it’s actually free if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber), Rumble Trucks will infuriate the majority of gamers and will certainly be shunned by most thanks to the huge gulf in class between itself and its most obvious inspiration.
Playing like a budget version of Trials HD, Rumble Trucks has you at the wheel of one of nine cartoon-style trucks as you make your way through the game’s 29 available stages. Like Trials HD, Rumble Trucks is all about working with the game’s unique physics to get your vehicle from one end of the track to the other in the fastest possible time. With jumps, spikes and debris scattered around each track, it’s about managing your balance, acceleration and speed depending on the situation. Problem is, the physics just aren’t as sharp as they are in its illustrious compatriot. The controls aren’t that bad, but because of the similarities, you are going to naturally compare the two and despite Playthree’s best efforts, Rumble Trucks comes up more than a little short.
In fairness, Rumble Trucks does come up with a few unique ideas of its own. Ideas that, if implemented with skill and finesse, could have potentially stood the game out from the crowd. Sadly, like so much of the experience, the implementation of these ideas isn’t up to scratch, leaving you to imagine the game that could have been.
With basic tricks such as wheelies and flips upping your speed meter, the potential for a solid risk/reward system was very much in place, but thanks to each stages somewhat harsh time limits, taking these tricks on is rarely worth the effort beyond the first few seconds of any given race. Rumble Racers is also home to a simplistic star collection system that sees seconds shaved off your finishing time based on how many stars you collect throughout each event. The major problem with this, however, is that the poor placement of said stars, combined with the game’s unforgiving time requirements, means that searching these out will almost always be detrimental to your final time rather than beneficial.
If you can get over the poor implementation of the game’s few unique ideas though and accept that it is no Trials HD beater, Rumble Trucks is capable of delivering a few hours worth of largely enjoyable gaming. Even if you ignore the tricks and the collectible stars, the simple physics-based race for the line can become quite a compelling experience. The trial and error heavy gameplay obviously won’t be for everyone but I’m sure there are a few gamers out there who will enjoy taking on the game’s not inconsiderable challenge.
It’s a shame then that, despite the 29 stages providing a decent challenge, they rarely offer up anything even remotely appealing from a visual perspective. The stages are split up into three worlds and other than a few minor background details are all but completely interchangeable. The levels are sparse and the vehicles uninspired. The game is visually competent I suppose, and rarely what you might call ugly, but it certainly lacks personality and for the most part is immediately forgettable.
With unremarkable visuals, iffy physics and some poorly implemented ideas, Rumble Trucks isn’t going to set your PSP alight, but for £2.49, it will probably deliver a few hours of relatively addictive, time chase gameplay. It’s no Trails HD then, but as a budget substitute you can play on the bus in the morning, it just about justifies its existence.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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