If you we were to say SCS Software and Excalibur Publishing, you would think Euro Truck, UK Truck and German Truck Simulator, well the two have got together again to release a new truck title to the UK. Fans of the series may want to look away, this is not your standard sandbox affair, oh no! This is for the trucking fan that wishes for a more arcade experience, so get ready to get to grips with over 50 different challenges in Trucks and Trailers.
Now, you may wonder why Trucks and Trailers is not your standard simulation game, after all, you are still driving a specialist vehicle, Trucks and Trailers would more aptly be called Parking Simulator to be fair, however that doesn't make it any less engaging, you can get hooked on this title instantly, much like the late and great Bus Driver, whose arcade-styled foibles first introduced me to the world of simulators. To bring it to a base understanding, Trucks and Trailers is reminiscent of the parking challenges from Sega's fantastic arcade title; 18 Wheeler, with less Americans, and more conservative trucks.
Truck aficionado fans will be right at home in Trucks and Trailers as they pull off tricky manoeuvres in only a limited space, however those of you not so enlightened with the gift of reverse parallel parking trailers will be happy to know that there is a base seven tutorial tasks that teach you the basics, and get you to grips with the different parking skills that will be required of you and your truck.
If you've been looking for a challenge you can find it in Trucks and Trailers, with three different difficulty settings, only the most hardcore will be able to take on the role of a pro driver where only the cockpit camera can be used, parking needs to be spot on, and any bump, crash or rattle is not allowed under any circumstances.
The game is rooted deeply in quick successive task, these tasks of which there are over 50, range from parking your trailer into a delivery depot, from parking your truck into a space at the nearest rest-stop, pulling difficult manoeuvres like parallel parking, cleverly timed U-turns and the dreaded reverse parking, ensuring that both your trailer and truck remain in peak condition.
Each task has a bronze, silver and gold medal that can be awarded to the player, these are based on timing, and achieving a gold is literally performing the perfect procedure; one wrong move can spell a silver or bronze medal. Whilst achieving the medals gives the player a great feeling of success, unfortunately the medals only go so far as to award the in-built achievements, there are no bonus vehicles to unlock, no special paint jobs or perks, simply your own drive to finish and unlock all of the tasks so that you can call yourself a trucking master - this doesn't however mean that you can start driving a lorry without a license!
For those of you with a short attention span, that cannot cope with the usual hours of play that is involved with a Truck sim, you'll be pleased to know that most tasks are restricted to about five minutes, if you are good enough for gold that is. Those of you with an addictive nature will also find the achievements extremely alluring that include the likes of finishing five tasks in a row, to completing all tasks with gold medals, achievements are all the rage these days, and in the case of Trucks and Trailers, they do add a very small amount of replayability on top of the core game.
As it is from the makers of the most popular truck simulators the controls are no different to what you will already know; each goal state is shown to the player before they begin, and there is very little complication to the game at all, just simple, harmless, addictive fun, making it accessible to pretty much anyone.
Due to the short nature of your parking missions, you will also be able to replay every completed task, essential to checking out where you are losing those precious seconds. Whilst a bit of a strange feature, it is just as superfluous as the ability to customise your cab with a wide colour palette, alongside the style of cab that you drive, some nice, almost meaningless but fun features that compliment the game.
Because Trucks and Trailers has no sandbox gameplay, it feels much more polished than your average simulator, there are no dodgy AI systems, no textbook of complicated controls, load times are generally low, your truck handles really well and there's some pretty beautifully modelled trucks, what more could you want?
Trucks and Trailers is an addictive simulator-cum-arcade title, and it's challenging tasks will have you cursing and fuming as you strive for that almost impossible gold medal, never before have I retried a mission in a game so many times! It will have you playing for hours on end, however if you are a bit of a perfectionist the 50 or so tasks will only keep you at bay for a short amount of time, so it is unfortunate that a task editor was not included for once you have aced every challenge.
If you are a fan of the long-haul simulators you may want to look elsewhere when it comes to Trucks and Trailers, however if you are looking for some quick-fire arcade-simulation fun, then there is no better game on the market, unless you are partial to buses.
Trucks and Trailers is available now from all good retailers for a SRP of £24.99, you can buy it now directly from the Excalibur Publishing website.