Another day, another entry into the sort of “party game” genre. This time around, the offering is called Crazy Trucks from Prison Games; a game that promises to bring a fun spin on the super serious world of monster trucks. Taken straight from the shady arena of mobile gaming, can it make the transition from mobile to being a serious contender on Xbox? Let’s start our engines and find out.
Now, first of all, there is no story at all to speak of Crazy Trucks, so this opening paragraph is going to be a lot shorter than normal. You go straight from the loading screen into the game menu, where you can choose whether you are going to play alone or with some local friends; there are no online options present. The wisdom of launching a game like this without any form of online play can be discussed amongst yourselves.
How about the presentation of the game? Well, the menus are sparse, for want of another word, and while there are a lot of choices in terms of modes to choose from, at risk of minor spoilers for the rest of this review, I’ve yet to find one that’s actually any fun. There are a lot of trucks to choose from, in a plus point, and while they look reasonable at best, there isn’t a massive amount of difference in the way they look, and absolutely no difference in the way they handle. Amusingly (or not, depending on your point of view), the wheels of the trucks are made to look like donuts. Comedy gold right there. The engine sounds are dreary too, and never seem to be related to the speed that your truck is moving either. While it picks up some points for delivering pleasant enough music, Crazy Trucks as a whole is pretty poor presentation wise.
So, can the amount of different modes available to play pull this out of the fire? Well…
There are a plethora of game modes on offer, ranging from the relatively simple to the slightly more challenging. There are modes like Collect, where you have to drive around a small arena and, believe it or not, collect things, or Football, which is a 1v1 or 2v2 football game mode involving scoring goals with your truck. If you’ve ever seen Top Gear doing car football you know what to expect. Scrabble is another mode, where you have to collect the letters of “Crazy Trucks” in order, again as they are scattered around an arena, whilst Elimination sees you trying to survive and get rid of your rivals as you tear around.
Add to this Storage Wars, where you have to retrieve tyres from an arena and, er, store them, Endurance, which is the token racing event, and last and most definitely least, Challenge, a mode where you have to “Jump over your rivals” and it’s pretty lacking. All of these modes are available in a number of different arenas, and you can also tweak the win conditions slightly, either based on time or on score, whichever takes your fancy. With local leaderboards to help with the bragging around your living room included as well, and all these game modes playable with up to four players in a split-screen fashion, there is certainly no shortage of content to go at.
But, and here is the $64,000 question… is any of it actually any fun? Well, this is an answer of two halves. For the single player, I have to say that the price of admission is simply too high. If you don’t regularly have three friends around to your house, and the requisite number of controllers to pass out, then this is a very difficult sell, as the enjoyment found in playing Crazy Trucks alone is very slight indeed. Playing with friends (or at a pinch, siblings or other family members, any port in a storm and all that) is a little bit better, as every game is improved by shoving each other off the couch and someone throwing the controller down and storming off. Compare the enjoyment that Crazy Trucks brings to something like Cake Bash, however, and the shortfalls in the gameplay are brought into sharp relief.
If the controls were better, and if the way that you accelerated and steered had anything at all to do with what happens to your truck on the screen, then the answer may have been different, but as things stand at the moment, you’d be better off shutting your eyes and pressing buttons at random; you’d have just as high a chance of success as if you held the controller. The way the truck jumps is bonkers too, especially as sometimes (for the same steering input and entry speed, mind) the truck will trickle off the end of a ramp and land on its roof, whilst at others it will sail through the air like it’s fueled by helium, and then land on its roof. Landing on your wheels is so rare you almost want to take a screenshot when it happens.
All in all, Crazy Trucks is crazy alright, but not in a good way. If you have a regular group of buddies, there is a smidge of fun to be had, but that’s mainly down to playing with friends rather than playing the game, to be brutally honest. If you are coming to this as a solo player, I’d give it a miss – the fun on offer here doesn’t really get going, ever. All in all, there are a lot of better party games, a lot of better driving games and even a lot of better monster truck games out there. Any one of those will serve you better than what Crazy Trucks does.
Get behind the wheel of the Crazy Trucks by visiting the Xbox Store