There have been a number of simulator type games released on the Xbox One over the last few years. Car Mechanic Simulator joins the list, and challenges you to repair, paint, tune, and drive cars.
While in general it has received a rather lukewarm reception it does a lot, at least for me, to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of these machines that get us to work, to the supermarket, etc. For most people, when our cars are working correctly we barely give it a second thought. But many of us know that sinking feeling in our stomachs when our cars warning lights go on or when you can actually feel that something is wrong with the car as you drive it.
Now, I’m no mechanic but in the time I’ve had in the Car Mechanic Simulator I’ve quickly learned the locations of various car parts and what they look like. At least enough so that I’d be able to at least locate their real life counterpart in my own car. As you build and expand your garage you’ll have to answer the phone to receive or decline jobs, go online to order parts when needed, and purchase upgrades for your garage to work more efficiently.
I’ll admit that there is still quite a bit to this game that I haven’t unlocked so my progression has been rather slow, largely due to the fact that I tend to disassemble the cars more than I need to most times due to my lack of automotive knowledge. Like Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder, I can race cars, I just don’t know a hell of a lot about them other than changing a tire or giving a jump start.
So from an educational stand point Car Mechanic Simulator has been a help. It’s a good thing that the game only features eight car models to work on as a vast library of cars like in Forza Motorsport would just be completely overwhelming to a mechanical noob like myself. As it is there are still over 120 different repairs that you will need to make that even include the fixing of broken parts. At this point in my mechanical career I’ve only swapped parts in and out. I’ve yet to get into tuning or bodywork but rest assured those features are in the game.
Visually the game is very basic. Flat surfaces and mild textures give the game a rather dated aesthetic that would have looked impressive in the late Original Xbox days or even in the early 360 days, but nowadays is easily forgettable. Sound is much the same, with some ambient background noise and a thumping electronic techno soundtrack that I quickly turned off in favor of Pandora or Spotify.
Gameplay has descent controls that are easy to learn but yet feel mildly clunky and sometimes twitchy. Disassembling a car is much faster than in real life thankfully because often times you will need to remove several parts just to get to the one part that needs fixing or replacing. Many parts have several bolts or clips that you will need to remove individually. Then once you install the new part you then have to reinstall everything else that you took off to get to it.
From what I’ve played so far the game will not allow you to install things out of order but will instead highlight in green the parts that you can install next saving you from having to undo 30 steps to install a part that you should have installed at step 3. I think I’d like an option that would allow you to make these mistakes and learn some things the hard way rather than the handholding approach they have.
Overall I think that even though the game isn’t very fun it is mildly therapeutic and even quite educational to an extent, making it a decent bargain at the cost of $16.99. I would love to see a multiplayer version where you and a friend could work on a car together.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.