Every single time I walked past a used car showroom, I always questioned the existence of that firm. It didn’t seem all that important to me, and I really wondered if people actually visited these businesses. But oddly enough, Car Trader Simulator has changed my mind for the better, and I’m not even ashamed to say that I got a kick out of pimping all these sweet rides.
Brought to you by Live Motion Games and PlayWay, the creative minds behind Train Station Renovation and many new interesting upcoming simulators. This latest release has you play the role of a used car salesman with a twist. Buy old and scrappy cars at auctions, beat your competition to the hottest items on the market, dig deeper and get your hands dirty and above all, turn your humble business into an empire one day!
Car Trader Simulator is available for purchase on Steam and is currently in Early Access.
STORY – Barebones but surprisingly works!
Car Trade Simulator does, in fact, have a storyline dedicated to the campaign mode. Although it feels like it’s in its nascent stages (Early Access, duh), it is reasonably fleshed out. You feel a genuine sense of progression, and there are unique characters to interact with and keep track of. The story writing could do with some more work, mainly the way the dialogues are written. It’s not bad story-wise but mainly the language and phrasing. This, however, can be easily excused by the depth the story offers. Every character has a role to play in the game, and you will be equally attentive to each one of them.
The game starts off with an optional tutorial where your Uncle (yes, with a capital U) shows you the ropes of the business and what each game mechanic does. Once you finish the tutorial, you are thrown into the mode selection where you can choose to play in the campaign or in the sandbox mode.
The Story So Far
You and a “colleague” of yours get arrested trying to jack a car. Things go awry, and your uncle has to bail you out. After listening to your side of the story, your uncle teaches you the way of the used car business. This is where the tutorial ends. 16 months later, you are back in your city, ready to start your own business with the knowledge you possess. Things are going rather smoothly, and you’re slowly growing your business when one day, you receive a call from a mysterious lady. The only details she gives you is that her name is Paula, and she has the fastest Alferia (a branded supercar in-game) in town.
How she got it and what the risk is, you don’t know, but whatever choices you make, yes, you can select the dialogues to wish to use in conversations determine your reputation, lawfulness and much more. There are 27 missions in total with 3 paths to follow, but that is where my spoilers end.
GAMEPLAY – As simple as you like
The game revolves around a very simple point-and-click interface. Your main interaction mechanic is the city map with all the important locations marked out. The game has employees that you can hire, level up, and also upgrade their equipment. The system is beautifully made and feels very satisfying to work with. Of course, your main source of new (well, metaphorically) damaged cars is through the Auctions. You can bid for auctions that pop up every other minute, sometimes even more frequent. There is a tiny value meter to show you if your current bid is a good value bid or whether you’re overpaying. The auction system is brisk and straightforward but sometimes just too fast-paced.
You also have your handy mobile where you can receive texts and calls from potential buyers as well as buy and sell cars online (sometimes in black). Character interactions are also managed through your phone. Cars you purchase need to be towed back to your garage using your driver. The damaged cars are fixed by your mechanics using scrap parts. Your mechanics can be sent to the scrap dealer to collect parts. This sets up a very intricate ecosystem and is very fun to play around with. Lastly, the car management mechanic is incredibly easy to use and follow, and you’ll have mastered all the concepts within the first half an hour.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO – Room for improvement
The first thing I noticed when looking at the car models is how similar they look to the models from Car Mechanic Simulator, a game I absolutely love. There are fake brand and manufacturer names, and honestly, it adds more charm to Car Trader Simulator. Fo’sho, do I want some high-end BWM cars or maybe some “Leap” SUVs. At the end of the day, it passes off as adorable, and I like it. The cutscenes for the campaign mode, although basic, are hand-drawn and add a really personal touch to the proceedings.
Car Trader Simulator does have one slight qualm, though. It has a not-that-impressive music track in the background. It feels nice at first but soon became a droning noise in my ears. I turned it all the way down and only kept the sound effects at a high volume. The game also manages to integrate tiny nuances into the loop and make them their own little things. One prime example is the loading screen where the car pulls out of a parking spot and drives out, the load percentage denoting how far the car is driven.
Car Trader Simulator was previewed on PC via Steam with a key provided by PlayWay.