Giant Machines 2017 has some great ideas on paper and in execution, but much like the largest brethren that are present in this game, they do fall short of greatness. This game is much more a simulator rather than a game, but that should not detract anyone from sitting down and considering enjoying this experience. The overall experience is shallow, but there is something there, just maybe not for everyone. The goal of this game is to do whatever your boss tells you to do, (sounds like life right?) whether that is changing out some radiator cords, or even just driving from point A to point B, you are going to be doing some extremely varied tasks in this game.
These tasks can be as varied as plowing snow in the mountains to driving through tornados in Missouri. The sheer amount of types of gameplay they threw into this game shows just how much they wanted this to be an experience even for people who may not be interested in a giant machine. However the average gamer is probably going to find themselves only playing this game for a few hours at most, especially with the campaign only lasting about 3-4 hours and it's not an extremely entertaining campaign either.
Giant Machines 2017 was developed by Code Horizon and is available on Steam for $19.99
Giant Machines 2017 probably has some the most simplistic gameplay out there. Run here, drive there, get from point a to point b and now slowly turn to get this giant bulldozer in just the right spot. The majority of the gameplay that is present here is a boring and hot mess. When you consider all of the fun concepts that could have easily come out of such a simple idea, why was it all of the boring aspects that were kept in the game? The game forces you to turn and move some of the slowest machines possible. In the first mission alone you are tasked with moving a giant crane type machine into place, you are about 400 meters away and you move at about 2 m/s, so guess what….It takes over 1 minute for you to even get there, moving at about the speed of a snail.
It's not all that bad however, there are a few shining examples in this game that show just how much fun this entire concept could be. When you get in a bulldozer you are asked to simply clear snow out of the way. This task actually makes sense and is fun at the same time. Sure the controls can be wonky and backing up to run over a new snow field is a little tedious, but it was some of the most fun I had in this game, but only second to the tornado section of the game. This section has you changing from a dump truck to get into a giant machine to actually cut down logs, in one of the best parts of the game you aren't forced to walk for a long time or try to figure out just how this machine works, you just simply cut down trees and have fun.
Overall that is just the biggest problem with this game, the gameplay gets in its own way. Instead of being just fun or just simulator, it tries to do both and fails terribly at times. As nice as it is that there is a handbrake present in the game, or that you actually have to start the engines before your vehicle will go anywhere, it does not make up for all of the sloppy and inconsistent gameplay. It has all of these realistic aspects to it, then a random time attack quest in the middle. Now go over to this place and find this button, oh and run for about 2 minutes trying to find it. Inconsistency is this games biggest weakness.
The presentation and overall feel of the atmosphere are something of a hit and miss as well. The desert areas feel natural but they are missing something. The sun doesn't feel like it is beating down and because of lack of certain light source reflections the world feels a little empty. There is plenty of shrubbery and foliage along the route, but because of view distance limitations and just the overall size of the vehicles, it feels like the game is constantly loading and unloading textures as you drive. The presentation when you begin this game is so hit and miss you really don't know what kind of area you are in, other than there is sand at your present location. This presentation does get better though when we get to the tornado alleys of Missouri and the snow wrapped mountains. These areas feel particularly alive and show off just what these developers are capable of, but these moments are short-lived when compared to the long moments of dull areas.
Sound design is very much a hit or miss as well, some sounds, such as the vehicles, sound really good and alive, whereas others, like footsteps, feel really disjointed and unnecessary. While walking on metal does create a type of ringing noise as you walk on it, I don't know if it was necessary to make it present at all times, especially when it is the only noise you are hearing for almost 10 minutes….It gets really old. However again when put into other areas it does feel quite natural, such as in the snowy mountains, it sounds like your feet are actually crunching the snow beneath you and adds to a bit of the realism of the experience, but with no background music present in the game, a lot of these aspects just seem to fall flat.
The sound design starts to get weirder when we get to the music, though. In every vehicle you can turn on your radio so that you can jam out to….what I assume is every construction worker's least favorite playlist of all time. There is some classical music in there like Hans Shubert, but then we get to some weird dubstep style music and some very indie rock. This music was kind of a relief when I turned it on, but very quickly became one of the oddest parts of the game, because it had nothing to do with what I was doing. This is made all the more evident when you start walking around outside of vehicles because it is completely silent. So my construction worker either has terrible LTE service on his phone where he must go, or his iPod is broken, either way, the silence is deafening.
I would be remised if I did not mention one of the oddest game design choices here, though….No player model. You are essentially just a camera with no bodily features. For the first 30 minutes I hadn't really noticed this, but once I got into a buggy and went into 3rd person view, I had a pretty good laugh when I realized that no one was driving the vehicle…..
Now I would like to tell you that this game is just a ton of fun and you should buy it right now, however, the game kind of fails on my fun factor scale. There are plenty of great moments in this game, however, they are bogged down by some of the most inconsistent and boring gameplay aspects that I hate. Trying to load cargo with a wench could have been a fun gameplay mechanic, but when you can't really control how it works, it just becomes a frustrating mess. Worse off is there is not much more to the game. There is no free play mode where you can just go and drive these vehicles and put them in fun situations. It is all tied down into this story mode where you have to do a lot of monotonous tasks just to get to about 1-2 minutes of pure fun.
There is a time attack mode that challenges you, I never bothered with it because it was too little too late for me. It's not a bad game, just a flawed one. If you play this past 3-4 hours I would honestly be shocked just because of the lack of great gameplay here. If this was a pure simulator I don't understand why they didn't just stick to their guns with that, and then throw in some of the more "gamey" aspects in with it. Overall it is just a flat experience that at the end makes you wish you had more. So overall fun factor, it is just kind meh.
Giant Machines 2017 really reminds me of what it was like as a kid to hear that your dad was a policeman or a firefighter, it sounded really cool, but as you grow up you realize it's just a job. This game brings the promise of playing around with giant machinery in a cool playground, but it turns out you would much rather sit at home and watch a rerun of friends.
|+ Machines feel realistic and "can" be fun||– Empty world with very little to do|
|+ Genuine moments of snowplowing and running from tornadoes||– Slow and extremely tedious chores to get to the good aspects of the game|
|+ Great concept||– No consistency in the gameplay|