I will always remember when I first started writing at Traxion.GG, one of my first assignments involved looking at a few different ‘simulators’ that weren’t really about racing.
Both the car mechanic simulator and the motorcycle mechanic simulator were great learning pieces for me, and I really learned to appreciate the genre. It wasn’t racing or esports games, but like Rocket League, those games had cars and that was enough for us to look into their coverage here on Traxion.GG.
Although Gas Station Simulator and PowerWash Simulator (man, that was a stretch) weren’t made by the same developers or published by the same companies, just researching both was a change of pace from the fast and furious nature of the genre. Racing game.
After playing for countless hours SnowRunner Over the past year or so, Offroad Mechanic Simulator intrigued me when I learned about its existence not too long ago. Back in June, PlayWay, GameFormatic, and Image Power announced a “playback test” of the title expected in the first quarter of 2023. I signed up.
The original start date of the test run, July 13, has been pushed back by two weeks. Play testing has been extended until Monday (August 8, 2022) as a result, but I was able to find some time this week to sit back and enjoy the early stages of simulation development.
While it should be clearly stated This is an early beta version of the gameand thus not fully functional yet, I was very impressed with the amount of things available to do in this little slice of the video game.
A new game file loads players into the wild jungle in a Jeep-esque Wrangler. Although there is no map yet (hopefully there will be one), there is a compass-like bar at the top that gives direction as well as where the feature-type areas are.
Using the provided WASD keyboard control system, which was not subject to change at this time during our gameplay testing, you’ll drive through a puddle and attempt to climb a steep hill. You can change between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, as well as check the condition of your Wrangler.
After trying to go up the hill, the engine will expire and you will be asked to go to the garage. The garage is where all the mechanical magic happens.
While in the garage, players will get a glimpse of how the car works. At the moment, the amount that can be played is limited, but if you have played these mechanical type simulators before, it will not be out of the ordinary.
Click to do things like unpack things, unpack and reassemble parts, check parts condition, etc. Pretty ordinary stuff, even people without mechanical thinking like me can handle things.
The computer allows players to order parts – the tutorial period requires that certain types of parts be ordered so that they can be installed in the next part of play.
Money is not an issue at the moment, but it is limited. When the title is released in full, there will be a way to earn more through assignments/jobs.
There is also a storage area. I suppose you’ll be able to store things there. Right now, I can’t do anything there, unless I miss something.
Once you click and replace parts, tighten all screws, and add necessary accessories, you’re back to the jungle level. You can’t do anything but magically replace (or upgrade) the motor for now, but be sure to remember to do so.
It will take the same route as before, but the engine will not explode this time. You could try putting a Wrangler in all-wheel drive, but until then, you can’t run up that hill.
A winch was one of the fixtures required, attach it to a nearby tree and pull the Wrangler up the hill, once that’s done, the tutorial is over. You can keep messing around in the area, but there’s not much to do once you get to this point.
As I imagined when I learned the title, it pretty much felt like a SnowRunner, with the way the Wrangle drove on different terrains and the necessary use of a winch to stand up the hill. What I liked the most is that this simulates the process more.
While in SnowRunner, there is no point where the player gets out of the car, Offroad Mechanic Simulator had an animated character who could get in and out of the car while driving. In fact, it adds a lot of immersion to the program.
The character will be able to walk to a tree, create a tree bar, return to the Wrangler, grab the hook end of the lever, and then return to the tree and make the connection. Then from there, the player gets back into the car and pulls the hill as you do.
This is not SnowRunner, however, this is a mechanical simulator. I don’t expect to have tasks like delivering steel to one end of the map.
This will be the most driving aspect, as players will try to try different bits and pieces to accomplish the driving missions around the different maps.
The mechanic part of the simulation isn’t my personal favorite thing – as with most of these types of games it seems like a menial task of tapping and tapping to remove, replace, and install parts, but there’s really no other way to simulate that until I get it.
You can at least in VR titles “pick up” parts and move them to the place. That’s not the case here and I wouldn’t expect it to be without VR support.
I didn’t have many issues during the short playing time, which is a good thing. I noticed an issue where replacing coil springs, the upper bolts on the right side of the Wrangler wouldn’t install properly on the shocks.
I noticed during the installation process when I moved to the left that the upper screws were loose, so I had to go back, take the frame off, take off the screw and reinstall it to fix the problem.
The playtest was just a first glimpse of the upcoming software, and from what I’ve seen, there is definitely potential. I would argue that with dozens of other mechanical simulator-style titles, whatever the end product of Offroad Mechanic Simulator needs to stand out to be successful.
Whatever that is, it’s up to the developers to decide on it. There are some included features expected in the final version, including more cars and environments to test in.
There should be a professional setting as well, which would help fulfill the purpose of the title rather than the mundane repetition that these titles tend to fall into.
The game looks really good for the beta version, but I won’t describe the breathtaking scenery just yet. There is still work to be done of course, but I was a little disappointed that we didn’t try or see the kind of valley/mountain environment that was promoted in the promotional material.
I hope there will be some sort of wheel support, or even console support when it launches. While it worked fine on the keyboard, and while this is basically a mechanical simulation, I don’t like driving with my fingertips on a flat surface, sorry.
The team encourages you to join Discord in the “Extensions” section of the menu. There is a small discussion currently going on with some development updates here and there.
Also, when you exit the game, you are taken to a Google survey. Remember, this is a test run, so if you’re a participant, leave some comments.
We will monitor the title as development continues. If all goes as planned, expect to launch early next year. There’s no price listed yet, but Steam users can make it to their wishlist while still signing up for the play test that runs through Monday, August 8.