Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 is a sim game released in late April 2015 for PC by polish developers PlayWay and Red Dot Games. Here you take over the role of a mechanic, managing your shop, getting new costumers and participating in auctions to buy and then renovate cars either for money or for your collection. Rev up your engines and read on!
Car Mechanic Simulator 2015
Full disclosure: I personally prefer sim games that don’t take themselves seriously. I’m gonna take Surgeon Simulator over Sim City any day of the week. Games have rules and goals, toys have neither. Simulation games are toys, and if I’m gonna play with a toy I want to wreck as much havoc as possible- like in my favorite sim toy, “New York City Annihilator” also known as the open world segments of Prototype. But there is something charming about beating someone in an auction to buy a piece of rust, then fixing it into the most glorious sportscar you know you’ll never be able to afford in real life and finally adding it to your collection so you can continue the process all over again. Now, onto the review.
First I’m going to have to tell you that it has numerous faults, the first one you encounter is the tutorial. It’s horrible, it feels incomplete and it ignores vital elements from the game. The result is the frustrating feeling of not knowing what to do, which for some players is enough to bury a game into the depths of their backlog. It completely fails to explain what the upgrades do and which ones deserve priority or how to highlight the part you’re looking for since it can and will take forever if you don’t use this feature. The fact that you can leave your shop to test cars and go to auctions is glaringly ignored, the game doesn’t even tell you how to turn on the background music- I spent several hours playing without music until I randomly found a radio somewhere in the garage!
Another important problem is the way upgrades and expansions are handled. Over the course of the game you get “upgrade points” for every thousand experience points you have, as well as money for a job well done. Upgrades to your tools and garage cost upgrade points, new additions to your shop like a test path or a parking lot cost money and a minimum XP requirement. The issue is that as you grind XP, jobs start to take longer and grow complex and the XP reward for completing a job successfully is always the same no matter what. Even worse, purely cosmetic upgrades cost upgrade points instead of cash, so if you want to personalize your garage you’ll have to sacrifice incredibly useful new tools if you didn’t grind enough XP.
There isn’t one. You’re the mechanic, you do the mechanic things and you mechanic the hell out of the cars. But there could have been one, a modular story maybe, but the lack of an open world makes this a pipe dream and a missed opportunity.
The point of the game is, of course, being a car mechanic. Clients leave you messages on your answering machine detailing the various problems their cars have. At first repair orders come with a list describing the broken components, but as you make progress they only come with a general description. You have to unlock most of your diagnosing weapons: three tools available with upgrades and an expansion to your shop. The only one available from the very beginning is an actual driving course set in an Old Factory. But it’s not that simple, some cars can’t move so you’ll have to dig your head inside and see for yourself what seems to be the problem in the engine before you get to properly diagnose the rest of the car. It’s usually not that hard to find the culprits because the game uses obvious rust textures very liberally on broken parts- unless the whole car is generally in poor condition then you’ll have to check them by manually examining them or removing them outright. It’s very fun actually, when it’s not driving you mad- pun painfully intended.
Despite the game’s flaws there is a chrome lining: if you work long and hard enough you’ll eventually reach all the requirements for the parking lot and that’s the most promising part of the game because it allows you to go to auctions to bid for beat up cars and turn them into rolling beauties. While the bidding AI behaves very unrealistically and need a serious adjustment, there is a warm and fuzzy feeling in having a car that you yourself renovated from a pile of rust. Then you can either sell it for a serious amount of money that could help you get even better cars at auction or keep it for yourself into your collection.
All that horsepower and nowhere to gallop
Promising is the main word here, because there’s not much to do with a car other than selling it. You don’t have where to drive it, except the Old Factory grounds you use to diagnose cars. There is no mention of your achievements in magazines, or actual Steam achievements for that matter. Luckily the developers are working closely with the community to add new features including mod support and they have already released a DLC car with three more to come in the future.
For all of the gearheads out there, this game is a must have. Fairly realistic without being overly complicated, the level of detail in the hundreds of interconnected parts is amazing. You guys will love every second of it. For most players the game right now does not justify it’s $20 price tag. The devs are supposedly working in more cars to tinker with and a bunch of new features that will add more things to do but until that happens grab this game if you see it on sale.