One popular argument justifying the existence of certain simulators (minus Goat and Surgeon Simulator, hopefully) is that they can provide adequate training for the same task in real life. Fancy flying and train sims offer more mechanical detail than I would be ready to report on, and thus I only assume they hit somewhere close to home when it comes to piloting said respective aircraft. This same market has even seen fit to produce a series of mechanical games over the past few years, and many of them tout a “realistic” experience akin to actually working in the shop. That being said, my time spent in Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 has left me no more confident now then I was days ago, and I would still probably cause irreparable damage to my car should I decide to try and fix it. However, while I struggle to accept this game as a learning tool and strive to avoid those chosen few who do, Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 did have some solid nuts and bolts that kept me interested.
Just Bring It By The Shop
The plot, if ever I use that word so abhorrently, of this trendy, little sim focuses around the maintanence of your typical auto-repair shop. You’ve got a full floor, two loading docks, a paint room, and countless resources at your disposal; your only mission is to fix whatever car comes in. Players can pick and choose their jobs based on the randomized phone calls that come in almost constantly, and each case brings with it a plethora of problems, be it loose steering, faulty brakes, or old filters. Each completed job earns the players both cash and experience, and the inflow of work orders is seemingly ceaseless.
Interestingly enough, while many of the jobs come with a laundry list of to-do items, many of the problems can only be parsed out after taking the ailing car for a spin on your test track. After cruising through a series of sharp turns, road bumps, and quick stops, players receive a performance report that highlights the strong and weak points of the vehicle in question. It’s back to the shop from there, and the rest of the day is spent disassembling the engine, purchasing new parts, and re-assembling all the pieces for a job well done.
Elbow Grease and Duct Tape Won’t Cut It
Each accepted job comes not only with a broken car, but also with a time limit. Having little prior knowledge regarding the inner workings of cars beyond changing the air freshener, I found this to be a harrowing aspect of the game. That is, until I polished off every car without running out of time once. With a quick test run and a slap-dash examination of the major parts of the car, locating, diagnosing, and repairing the broken bits took little more than a handful of minutes each time. The countdown constraint, which would have previously put me in a tizzy, now left me feeling slightly under-challenged.
Though time may not feel like a big deal, the amount of detail included in each car certainly has the capability of striking fear into the heart of many. While I personally neglected to count, each car apparently possesses over 200 removable pieces, many of which require a certain sequence of events to even get close to accessing. Just for fun, I decided to take apart as much of a chosen vehicle as possible, but after dismantling over four dozen screws, I quickly grew panicked and forgot exactly how everything went back together. The sheer amount of steps involved with taking apart the engine is staggering, and players can expect even the easiest of jobs to at least require four or five steps.
A Monkey Wrench In My Plans
If the prospect of forgetting exactly which bolt goes where is frightening to you, I’d suggest a wide berth. Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 isn’t exactly forthcoming with any helpful tips or tricks, and if they are indeed stored somewhere, it was obviously too obtuse for me to figure out. It took me longer to decipher out how to get the car to a lift than to actually fix the problem it came in for, and more than once I found myself opening and closing the hood out of frustration for lack of anything more constructive to do. It’s assumed that players understand the general location of a front tie rod or suspension coil, and there is little more than a nod in the direction of the testing track, upgrade store, and parts-purchasing website. I understand I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to auto-repair, but how is any of this inherent to those gifted few who are? A little instruction goes a long way, and sadly enough, no one goes the distance to point out the seemingly obvious.
The game itself is touted as a realistic mechanic sim, and while I accept this may be true and verifiable by people who actually know their way around an engine block, anything outside the garage is completely taken for granted. Taking a car for a test run to better diagnose problems seemed like a prime time to practice my head-on collision tactics, but no matter how many times I spearheaded the front of a warehouse building, the vehicle maintained it’s (almost always ugly) paint job and integrity. I should have come back to the shop with a wrecked heap of slag, not a pristine minivan with a faulty rubber hose. It may sound nitpicky, but the game holds itself to the higher standards of realism, so expecting the very real effects of Newton’s laws of physics shouldn’t be too much to ask.
I Don’t Know…It Just Keeps Stalling
One of the more annoying drawbacks to an otherwise beautifully crafted game was the amount of time it took to earn anything worthwhile. Hours were spent working over the same cars with the same problems (almost as if my “repairs” were worthless…and my customers amnesic), just so I could have the privilege of buying a parking space in which I could store my very own vehicles. All I wanted to do was head to auction and pick out a junker, thus fulfilling every middle-aged man’s dream of restoring a previously crappy vehicle to a semi-passable state (I even took out a crippling bank loan), but the game forced me to slog through hours of repetitive motion in an almost autistic-like manner. Soon enough I found myself trying to crush my head under a loaded car lift, but the game wanted me to have at least 18,0000 xp before any workplace fatalities could occur.
You can check out my frustratingly slow first few minutes of gameplay above, and some screenshots of my early progress below!