I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to colourful cartoon multiplayer games, especially when the game description leads you to believe that the action is going to be hilarious and downright absurd. If the developers happen to add local and online multiplayer, then well, that’s the icing on the cake. I couldn’t believe my luck when I received a text message out of the blue from one of my brothers telling me to look at Totally Reliable Delivery Service. I eagerly read through the description, and watched a number of videos on YouTube. The excitement had already begun, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and see what it was all about.
Minneapolis based developers We’re Five Games has created a game where the key premise is to complete missions by delivering a variety of packages and parcels from point A to point B. They have allowed all the action to take place in a sandbox world, which is spread out over several islands, each with its own unique look and style. You are given the freedom to deliver your items however you wish, and a selection of vehicles is at your disposal; the classic delivery van, cars, forklift trucks, boats, helicopters and many more. You have the freedom to play solo, or you can choose to play local or online multiplayer. However you wish to play, it doesn’t affect the action. Ultimately, the more people there are, the easier the task should be, though I found it to be more of too many cooks spoil the broth, and multiplayer was a chaotic amusing mess of grabbing one another as opposed to delivering the parcel.
The title would suggest that the main protagonists are elite in their field, that in theory this should be a walk in the park, if only that was the truth. In reality, chimps would do a better job. The delivery men are quite frankly useless, lifting a box which appears to weigh no more than a feather, and they struggle as if they were being asked to hold up the world like Atlas. This really does create a level of frustration, I will go into greater detail with this later.
I really am a massive advocate of “couch” co-op multiplayer games, if you then add in an online element, this pretty much ticks all my boxes. Can you imagine my disappointment when I settled down to play with others, only to find that you merely repeat the same tasks that have already been proposed, and actually attempting to complete them with a teammate is both cumbersome and infuriating. This is down to two key elements; the controls are terrible, and the perspective in which the game plays out really doesn’t enable you to correctly judge distance. That being said, the co-op mode wasn’t a complete write off, it was fun to throw each other around and race around the world in helicopters trying not to crash, but if you wished to progress within the game, it was more of a hindrance to play with others, than attempting a solo run. A real shame, as few Indie developers allow for both online and local multiplayer action.
As already mentioned, the gaming area is split up into small islands, each has a number of set missions that you must complete in order to unlock customisable items, and vehicles in your garage. The developers have only allowed for a small variety of missions, this makes the action a little bland. You are asked to ensure a fragile package doesn’t get damaged, and an indicator shows the health of the item on its journey, keeping it as close to 100% as possible will ensure you receive a gold trophy. You also are tasked with completing timed missions that vary in their approach ever so slightly. After a few hours of trudging back and forth, I admit that I was pretty bored, variety is the spice of life, but the developers clearly don’t agree. You do occasionally find a hidden event, or secret, but it’s so rare that it can’t drag the gameplay from its mundane existence.
The monotony of the main action really would be forgiven, even acceptable, if it wasn’t for the utterly appalling controls. So much of this game is not user friendly, as mentioned parcels that look like they should be easy to move, but take an age to do so. You attempt to grab an item, and you miss, or only one hand connects, meaning you end up dragging the parcels, and slowing yourself down. Using vehicles is almost pointless, I found if I had the opportunity to run to the goal of a mission, then I did, it would generally be quicker and easier. Every time I saw either a boat or helicopter mission I would shake my head, and regret I even started it. Both vehicles seem to have a mind of their own, and so would appear to do what they wanted. This made a game that was already tough enough, exceptionally difficult. I had gotten to the point of quitting a number of times due to these issues.
A vibrant game that is pretty easy on the eye, the character models are well designed and reminded me of the art style from Overcooked and Tools Up. Navigating around the world map is easily done as you are able to pin locations and these are clearly identifiable when walking. The vehicles are very basic in design, as are the buildings, this wasn’t a problem, if anything, it’s about the level I have come to expect from an indie title. However, when travelling quickly in the environment it would fail to load. This would cause you to crash into anything that hadn’t yet rendered correctly, this had a catastrophic effect on the gameplay and caused me to fail a number of missions; in 2020 developers shouldn’t really be releasing games that contain these sorts of issues.
The audio is lighthearted and fast in tempo, it really matches the theme. Though the music doesn’t alter too much, but it wasn’t too annoying. I spent most of the time forgetting that it was playing as I was trying to complete each quest. The sound effects of the vehicles are good, as are the sounds of the explosions when you unfortunately crash into buildings. The noises that your character makes as you walk around and attempt to lift items is amusing and did make me laugh a few times. The audio is probably the best part of the game.
If you were to remove the appalling controls, and the rendering issues, then this game is relatively easy. A few of the quests are challenging if you desire to obtain all the golden trophies, and as such there is an element of replay value. The developers have added 3 DLC maps which were included in the Deluxe edition. Luckily, this was the version that I was playing, the additional islands didn’t add anything to the gameplay, and just added more repetitive missions to complete. If you happen to love playing the game, then the extras will add approximately 3 hours, making the total game length around 25 hours, so it does represent good value for your money if you can overcome the negatives.
I had set my expectations quite high before I had even started downloading the game, the team that put together the advertising and gameplay trailer really did a great job. However, for me this was the only good part. It saddens me to say that a title with such potential failed in so many areas, the controls really are unforgivingly poor, they make the gameplay unnecessarily frustrating and as such will put a number of gamers off. I understand what the developers were trying to do, they wanted the characters to be rubbish at their jobs, therefore ramping up the difficulty, however, the method undertaken by We’re Five Games ruined the flow of the game. Though the Co-Op mode has some amusing elements, it really adds little else. In my opinion, it actually makes the game worse, if new quests were to be added then it would be worthwhile, but as it is, I can’t see why anyone would want to play this with their friends. With so many negative elements I can’t recommend this in its current build, there are a few fleeting moments of joy, but the majority of the time it’s an infuriating mess.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Totally Reliable Delivery Service Review
Gameplay - 4/10
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 4/10
Ever dreamed of working for DPD or FedEx? Now is your chance. Control the worst delivery team and move all those parcels around the islands.
Local and Online multiplayer.
A good combination of easy and challenging missions.
Audio is upbeat.
Co-Op modes add very little.