Hands-on with the Offroad Mechanic Simulator playtest
I’ll always remember when I first started writing at Traxion.GG, one of my first tasks included looking into a few different “simulators” that didn’t really revolve around racing.
Car Mechanic Simulator and Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator were both great learning pieces for me, and I really learned to appreciate the genre. It wasn’t racing games or esports, but like Rocket League, those titles did have cars and that was enough for us to consider covering them here on Traxion.GG.
Although Gas Station Simulator and PowerWash Simulator (man, was THAT a stretch) both weren’t made by the same devs or published by the same companies, just digging in to them all was such a change of pace from the fast and furious nature of the racing game genre.
After playing countless hours on SnowRunner over the last year or so, Offroad Mechanic Simulator intrigued me when I learned of its existence not too long ago. Back in June, PlayWay, GameFormatic and Image Power all announced a “playtest” of the title which is expected in Q1 2023. I signed right up.
The original start date of the playtest, 13th July, was pushed back two weeks. The playtest has been extended to Monday (8th August 2022) as a result, but I was able to find some time this week to sit down and take on the early stages of the developing simulation.
While it should be clearly stated that this is an early beta version of the game, thus not yet fully functional, I was extremely impressed with the amount of available things to do in this small slice of video game.
A new game file loads players into the Forest wilderness in the Jeep-esque Wrangler vehicle. While there isn’t a map just yet (hopefully there will be one), There is a compass-like bar at the top which gives direction plus where landmark-type areas are.
Using the provided WASD keyboard control scheme, which was not changeable at this time during the playtest, you’ll drive through a puddle and try to get up a steep hill. You can change between RWD and 4WD, plus check the status of your Wrangler.
After attempting to go up the hill, the engine expires and you’ll be asked to go to the Garage. The Garage is where all the mechanic magic happens.
While in the Garage, players will get a glimpse into how to work on the car. For now, the amount that can be done is limited, but if you’ve played these mechanic-type simulators before, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Click to do things, like unscrew things, dismount and remount parts, check the status of parts, etc. Pretty normal stuff, even non-mechanically minded folks like me can get a handle on things.
The Computer allows players to order parts – the tutorial period demands certain types of parts be ordered so that on the next part of the playthrough, they can be installed.
Money isn’t an issue for now, but it is finite. When the title releases fully, there will be a way to earn more through assignments / jobs.
There’s also a storage area. I assume you’ll be able to store things there. For now, I couldn’t do anything in there, unless I missed something.
Once you’ve clicked and replaced the parts, screwed on all the bolts, and added the necessary accessories, it’s back to the Forest level. You don’t do anything but magically have the engine replaced (or upgraded) for now, but do make sure you remember to do that.
You’ll take the same path as before, but the engine will not blow up this time. You can try to put the Wrangler in 4WD, but even then, you just can’t run up that hill.
A winch was one of the required installations, hook this up to a nearby tree and pull your Wrangler up the hill, and once you’ve done this, the tutorial is over. You can keep messing around in the area, but there’s not much else to do once hitting this point.
Like I imagined when learning of the title, it felt very much like SnowRunner, in the way the Wrangle drove over different terrain and the necessary use of the winch to pull up over the hill. What I liked more was that this simulated the process even more.
While in SnowRunner, there’s never a point where the player gets out of the vehicle, Offroad Mechanic Simulator had a moveable character that can get in and out of the vehicle when driving. In effect, it adds a ton more immersion to the program.
The character will be able to walk up to a tree, set up a Tree Strap, walk back to the Wrangler, grab the hook end of the Winch and then walk back to the tree and make the connection. Then from there, the player would get back in the car and pull up the hill as you would.
This is not SnowRunner, however, this is a Mechanic Simulator. I wouldn’t expect to have tasks like delivering steel to one end of a map.
This will be more the driving aspect, where players will be trying different parts and pieces to accomplish driving tasks around the different maps.
The mechanic portion of the simulation isn’t my personal favorite thing to do – as it is with most of those types of games, it seems like a menial task to click and click and click to remove, replace, and install parts, but there’s really no other way to simulate that so I get it.
At least in the VR titles you can “pick up” parts and move them into the place. That’s not the case here and I wouldn’t expect it to be without VR support.
I didn’t run into too many issues during my brief playthrough either, which is good. I did notice an issue where replacing coil springs, the top bolts on the right side of the Wrangler wouldn’t properly fasten to the shocks.
I’d notice on the mount process when I moved to the left that the top screws were showing unmounted, so I had to go back, take off the tire, take off the screw and re-mount it to fix the problem.
The playtest was just a first glimpse into the coming program, and from what I’ve seen, there is definitely potential. I would argue that with the tens of other mechanic simulator-style titles, that whatever the final product of Offroad Mechanic Simulator needs to stand out to be successful.
Whatever that may be, well that’s up to the developers to decide upon. There are some listed features expected in the final release, including more cars and environments to test in.
There should be a Career mode as well, which should help to bring purpose to the title instead of the mundane repetition that these titles have the tendency to fall into.
The game looks decent already for a beta, but I wouldn’t call the scenery breathtaking just yet. There’s still work to be done of course, but I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to try or see that canyon/mountain type of environment that was promoted in the promotional material.
I do hope there is some type of wheel support, or even controller support when it does launch. While it worked fine on the keyboard, and while this is primarily a mechanic simulation, I don’t like driving with my fingertips on a flat surface, sorry.
The team encourages you to join their Discord in the “extras” section of the menu. There’s a small discussion currently going on in there with some dev updates here and there.
Also, when you exit the game, it takes you to a Google Survey. Remember, this is a playtest, so if you are participating, leave some feedback.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on the title as the development continues. If everything goes to plan, expect it to launch early next year. There is no price listed just yet, but Steam users can wishlist it and still sign up for the playtest which runs through Monday 8th August.