Simulators. They’re everywhere at the moment, from driving trains, trucks and forklifts, to being a slice of bread or a rampaging goat. There seems to be a simulator game for everything and for some reason I seem to own quite a few of them (Thank you Humble Bundle and Steam sales).
Now I’m no petrol head, I can drive a car, I grew up around cars (mainly broken ones for scrapping) yet I don’t really know where most bits are or where the alternator connects to the flux capacitor……
So I thought I’d give this a try and maybe learn a bit more about fixing cars, wolf whistling women and overcharging people.
Car mechanic simulator 2015 as the name might suggest, thrusts you into your own garage with a wrench and a constantly ringing phone! Unfortunately there’s not a nudey calendar in sight (DLC?).
There’s a bit of a tutorial but not the hand holding tutorial as you would normally expect, basically a prompt pops up when you interact with something you haven’t before, I found this frustrating to say the least because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. You answer the phone, pick a job and a car appears in the middle of the garage.
You’re then expected to fix it.
Thankfully the onscreen keys explain their function and by wandering around the workshop you can find a computer to order new parts. The easiest method I found for finding which part was in need of changing was to replace the rustiest looking one, who would have thought?! Simple!
There’s not much in the way of interaction. It’s you, the garage, a car and phone that will not stop ringing!
The aim of the game is to fix cars. Pretty straightforward. You can progress your skills in the way of XP, finish jobs and make sure the car doesn’t blow up in your care and you get paid in cash and XP. Build up your XP and you can remove nuts and bolts quicker, improve your ability to inspect parts, invest in a tablet PC etc.
I started getting the hang of what the game wanted me to do. (Yeah, yeah I know you fix cars, but the WAY you go about it). The rolling tutorial finishes without telling you and after getting my eye in and hammering through the cars left right and centre, building up some cash and XP along the way, I started to feel a little bored, it’s the same old cars coming through with the same old problems. Certain jobs you can’t take on because you don’t have enough XP (Why call then?!) There’s different parts of the garage which you can access. My aim, get £15K to buy a carpark so I can go to auction and buy some cars to fix up and sell on. Proper wheeler dealer style.
With £15K burning a hole in my virtual overalls, I run (well, hover) over to the garage expansion only to be told on top of the £15K I need 9000 XP!!! Disheartened with my current 2600 XP its back to changing brake pads and oil filters on a poor man’s VW Golf. With quite the gap in XP and nothing left to do in between, the grind starts to set in.
You won’t get all the features of this game right away, not even in the first 3-4 hours. It’s starting to feel a bit of a chore but I understand why.
It’s not a game you sit and play for 4 hours straight in a single session. You sit and play it when you’ve had a brain melting day at work and only have an hour or so to yourself.
Overall it’s a very competent simulator. It controls well, looks good, doesn’t take an age to get into and is actually quite a lot of fun. I’ve even learnt a little bit about where bits of the engine go.
If you’re looking for something that you can go for in between games that don’t require huge amounts of thought or time Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 will do you nicely.
The only downside is it’s a pretty niche market for these games, purists (or actual mechanics) will pick flaws in it and the rest of us may lose interest due to the amount of grinding required to get upgrades and additional features.
I can only hope they add some fun DLC content to go with it for the future.
Actually interesting, even learnt something about cars!
Quick to get into
Great for short bursts when you only have an hour
Good attention to detail
Thrown straight in, no real tutorial at the beginning
“leveling up” for new features is a real grind
Early stages can be repetitive
Score: 6 out of 10