With the world in the state that it’s in at the moment, the call for delivery drivers has never been higher. Everyday, these essential key workers are out on the front line, risking everything so we can get that tin of beans we so desperately need. Totally Reliable Delivery Service on the Xbox One follows the same ilk, but to a much wackier degree. Following the same physics-based control scheme of games such as Human Fall Flat, Totally Reliable Delivery Service sees you living your everyday fantasy of being a crucial delivery driver, ensuring good old Karen down the road gets her weekly issue of OK! magazine. With a cooky premise such as this, Totally Reliable Delivery Service aims to deliver the laughs, but fails to provide a totally reliable control scheme.
As a custom character of your preference, you’re thrust into an open world with the immediate objective to ensure parcels are delivered timely and safely. Think Postman Pat filled to the brim with Guinness and unable to perform the most basic of functions – this is what Totally Reliable Delivery Service on the Xbox One brings to the table. It’s clearly a game that prides itself on not taking itself too seriously, adding itself to the other physics-based games such as Octodad and Goat Simulator. Unlike those games though, here we have much more objective-based gameplay. While those games prided themselves on being fun sandboxes with little distractions or inventive objectives, Totally Reliable Delivery Service gives you the constant objective to deliver parcels.
Outside of this is an open world that is fully explorable. What this lacks though is a personality. Sure, the world itself is massive and delivery routes push you along long stretches, but outside of said deliveries there’s very little incentive to explore the environments. Having that lack of interactivity with the environment is a sorely missed opportunity. There are cars to drive and objects to pick up, but none of the fun creativity that’s inspired other games of the same template. With this in hand, it makes the inclusion of an open world feel wasted for what could have been a fun marriage between objective-based gameplay and mindless fun.
Scattered across the map are postboxes which once interacted with drop a parcel, along with a challenge to deliver it. This can range from a timed mission objective or simply limiting the amount of damage the package can take. As stated, this is a physics-based game meaning that the characters are purposely hard to control. Hand gestures are mapped to the trigger buttons as you aimlessly flail your hands about to attempt to pick up packages and drive vehicles. Having the mission objectives be so strict clashes with the sense of fun Totally Reliable Delivery Service is trying to achieve. Instead what you’re left with is a frustrating attempt to deliver these packages against repetitive objectives.
The missions on display here are basic and never embrace the fun nature that the game is trying to portray. While missions where you’re transporting explosives should be a fun use of the physics, they instead become a tedious case of trial and error as a simple tap can cause the barrel to explode and the mission to restart. Repeating these same missions over and over grows old very fast, never truly embracing the sense of fun it’s so desperately trying to achieve. This is less of an issue in co-op, which provides a lot more fun as you both desperately try to fulfil the requirements of these missions. But this only really extends its playfulness to a session or two.
Perhaps the best part of Totally Reliable Delivery Service is found in the mission rewards. Each objective gifts you with new character customisation tools. These can lead to some truly inventive mismatched characters and lends the game a sense of personality. Other unlockables come in the form of vehicles, which are stored in your local garage to play with, but with an abundance available on the world map it hardly seems necessary.
It’s also worth noting that Totally Reliable Delivery Service isn’t the most polished of games. Sometimes it’s directly intentional in games of this calibre, but when the game is actively pushing you to reach certain criteria in its objectives this can be extremely frustrating. Multiple times characters have got stuck in the game world or fixed to a bit of scenery. A handy respawn function is available, but by that point the damage is done. Totally Reliable Delivery Service also suffers from awful clipping and draw distance issues. The game is far from the prettiest, so these simple issues further add to how lifeless the game world feels.
It seems a plethora of physics-based games have hit the market over the last few years. They have gathered a large audience so it’s only predicted, but now it feels as though the joke has run its course. For the first time, the genre is starting to show its age in Totally Reliable Delivery Service on the Xbox One, with a repetitive and frustrating experience. While there’s some fun and laughs to be had with co-op, and inventive customisation options, the laughs stop there. In this instance, all Totally Reliable Delivery Service delivers is a monotonous gameplay loop which I can only imagine real life drivers go through on a daily basis.