There’s some weird and wacky games available on the Xbox One, some go un-noticed, others are little gems, but is ClusterTruck worth a bash.
ClustTruck starts off pretty simple, you spawn atop a plain white truck in a convoy of equally detailed trucks with a goal in the distance, as you leap from one truck to the next to build up the score and reach the finish line.
Soon enough things go a little pear shaped, and it all becomes a bit of a cluster truck, the simple, straight paths with queues of trucks become twisty, trails with trucks strewn all over knocking others airbound as you attmept to leap between them in search of the goal.
Progressing past the early Desert and Forest levels only bring even more collisions and wacky going on’s, trucks are soon thrown skyward, flipping around requiring lightning fast relfexes and perfect timing as you aim to progress through the 100 levels spread across 10 environments.
There’s a shallow learning curve as new obstacles are slowly introduced, however there’s a little twist in the middle, when the unpredictable laser zone will cause you endless problems, where as the more predictable nature of the medieval zone makes it a sligthly easier outing than it’s predeccessor.
Thankfully though there’s help on hand by way of 12 abilities that can be purchased by your overall points to make life easier.
Some such as levitation, double jump and the grappling hook genuinly do help, while others like a projectile that spawns a truck aren’t quite as helpful as they sound.
Sure enough though, you can always use your early unlocks to backtrack to earlier levels, gaining a higher score and giving you more towards buying the more expensive abilities. This adds some longevity to what would be quite repetitive if it wasn’t quite as addictive.
There’s a certain pleasure to seeing trucks thown around the level and jumping between them like a parkour super-hero in the matrix. The added challenge of verticality on some levels, obstacles such as giant spinning rocks with deadly lasers shooting out of the sides, and head on collisions with other trucks are sure to put an 18 wheeler sized spanner in the works.
While repetitive in it’s nature, the fun factor takes over, spawning a truck on top of another can work as a springboard over an obstacle, or maybe sitting on the cab of a truck will help evade that bridge. There’s so many options on how to progress, that it still feels fresh even though you’re doing the same thing again and again.
Graphically, it’s very basic, a plain background, plain white trucks and minimal decoration don’t make up for much, but everything moves along at a blistering pace, and the minimilistic stance means everything looks nice and sharp at all times.
Audio is equally average, with background music that remains in the background and is never noticeable enough to be of interest, but it stops things sounding too quiet or dull but the only sound you’ll hear regular is the honk of the truck or the curse words streaming from your mouth as you fail again and again.
There’s certainly a charm to that faliure, and it keeps you coming back for more, and while it’s very easy to get to grips with, it takes some skill to pull off a perfect level. This made it great fun for me to play alongside my 9 year old twin boys, who where equally as hooked trying to venture through the worlds.
Time and time we would fail, we would laugh together as we hit the dirt and retry once again, we would be equally full of praise when someone pulled off a perfect speed run with the help of a large slice of luck.
Due to the luck factor, it’s hard to say how long ClusterTruck will last, for most people they’ll probably find the repetitive nature takes hold after 2-3 hours, but it’s equally fresh and fun to pick up a few days later, meaning you’ll only be limited by your patience when you meet an innevitably tough level. Practicing that patience will get you through eventually, even if only by luck or a wise choice on an ability.