IntroductionClustertruck is a first-person "runner" game where you'll be leaping from truck to truck at insanely high speeds. It's a game that doesn't take itself too seriously and even pokes fun at tropes you'd see in other video games (EPIC MODE and SUPER TRUCK SUPER TRUCK). The game is endearing and unique. Clustertruck was developed by Landfall Games and published by tinyBuild and released onto the PlayStation Store for PS4 and Steam (Windows, OS X, and Linux) for just $14.99. It made its debut on September 27th, 2016 and has continued to gain momentum ever since.
StoryWhen it comes to story, the kind folks at Landfall are nice enough to allow us to make our own, seeing as how there's none here. Landfall, if you wish to get in touch with me so that we may officially canonize my own story in the Clustertruck universe, I completely understand and would be willing to make small concessions.
"It happened just a few short years ago. They came in the night, silent as a ghost. Scientists have long debated their origins and theorized what they came for. All I know is that I've got to stop them! Since the truck-pocalypse the world has been torn apart by the rampant herds of roving eighteen wheelers. They've destroyed it all. Our grasslands and forests, our historic castles, our trippy sci-fi bridges. My name is Protagonist and I'm ready to put it all on the line to stop this...Clustertruck."
Landfall, for real, hit me up.
GameplayKeep it simple, stupid. That's what my old English teacher used to say. Clustertruck is the perfect example of keeping it simple and reaping the benefits. As you're playing, you'll never have more than three buttons you really have to press at any given time, which makes the game feel light and easy to get into. The basic structure of the game is the same all the way through, which isn't a bad thing. You hop from truck to truck and try to reach the goal at the end. Each level has varying obstacles you have to navigate and "almost puzzles" that you'll solve on the fly. You are rewarded for several different factors at the end of each level, you'll get style points, how fast you completed the level, and some air time! It's very fast and visceral. The levels can be extremely challenging, so much so, I had to walk away a few times and curse. That being said, I never felt like the onus was on the game, but strictly on my own lack of skill.
As a crutch, you have access to a wide array of abilities that will make mastering the insanity a bit easier. These abilities are purchased with the score points you are awarded at the end of each level. The game does a great job incentivizing you to do better in this way, more points directly translates to the more useful abilities. As you progress through the game and into the many different thematic settings, certain levels really call for certain abilities. You'll find yourself changing back and forth between abilities and just trying new ones out to see which ones work.
In terms of the amount of gameplay, it really is astonishing for the $14.99 price point. Clustertruck ships with 90 levels. Trust me, as you get into the later levels you'll be spending quite a while on them! Even then, the value is great. There's a ton of replayability here. The game has a nice online competitive scoreboard that can be sorted globally and just your friends list. Not only that but on the PC version at least, the game ships with Steam Workshop support which already has a rather large community making fresh content. Oh yeah, there's also an editor so you can make your own stuff.
Gameplay and SoundIt has to be said, the soundtrack for this game is great. The developers know this too, seeing as they have it for sale for $4.99 on Steam. The game has nine different worlds (each containing ten levels) and each of the worlds has their own unique soundtrack to them that fits their theme. Sci-Fi world has very futuristic (almost chip tune) beats, Winter World has this very seasonal chime beat, each song fits so perfectly with the levels. The songs never get old, which is important in a game where you'll be retrying quite often. I haven't come across a soundtrack that I've enjoyed as much since Hotline Miami. I highly recommend everyone go and grab a copy. For $20.00 for both the game and soundtrack, it's a steal for sure.
Onto the looks of the game, which are stellar in their own right. The nine worlds you explore are beautifully crafted. One of the cool things about Clustertruck is how it never really picks a genre of design and sticks to it. Starting out you'll be in a sandy desert surrounded by crumpled ancient buildings (only further supporting my own lore for the game), then onto a lush green forest, winter world with spinning wheels of DEATH, and then a LAZER WORLD. A WHOLE WORLD OF LAZERS. The aesthetic and design of Clustertruck are just delicious to behold. Again, keeping the design simple allowed the developers to really knock it out of the park. The game has so much personality of its own. A+ to the artists!
ConclusionClustertruck is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is still focusing on super serious military shooters. I was worried that the premise of the game would get old quickly, and I am happy to say that I was wrong. I played the game start to finish in a handful of sittings and immediately went back for more. If you're looking for a break from the monotony of kill-kill-shooty games, I highly recommend jumping into Clustertruck. It's a game where you can turn your brain off and just enjoy the absurdity and great music. It's fast and punchy. It's unique. It can be frustratingly difficult, but it is well worth it.
|+ Simple and fun gameplay||- Just a few levels can seem daunting|
|+ Great value and replayability||- I felt inappropriate saying the name to my Grandma|
|+ Impressive visuals and soundtrack|
|+ Tons of community made content that's free|