By Don Robbins
Dare I say it? I found Monster Truck Championship for the Nintendo Switch to be a “trucking good” fun racing simulation game, offering tons of replay value.
Players can choose from grinding along at various tracks around the U.S., such as in Kilgore, Texas; or Foxborough, Massachusetts; Minneapolis, Minnesota and others.
I’m not a newbie to racing simulation games, but I found there to be a steep learning curve due to the 4-wheel nature of these monster truck vehicles and their massive treaded tires. Here’s a tip from the game’s developers: try steering both the front and rear axles to have better control over your vehicle.
Monster Truck Championship features challenging mechanics focused on these independent front and rear wheels, which encourages you to anticipate and predict turns, jumps and bounces. This title boasts 16 monster trucks, more than 50 customizable elements, 25 arenas and three leagues.
Those who are into customization can try to upgrade their vehicle in the garage, or explore management of teams and sponsors. What I admired most is that Monster Truck Championship allows you to choose from Career Mode, to Quick Play, to Multiplayer with up to eight participants. In addition, I applaud the fact that you can decide how much damage you will allow your truck to accept, including disabling that feature entirely should you wish. A myriad of customization options is a definite highlight of this title, such as selecting how many other vehicles you want to race against on a track.
Depending on your mood, you can compete among other drivers in drag races, freestyle competitions, and multiple extreme track challenges featuring lots of twists, turns and obstacles. For example, in freestyle mode, players need to get the most points they can while doing tricks and destroying special objects. One frustrating aspect of freestyle challenges were the tendency for my truck to flip upside down and stay that way without an ostensible way for me to flip it back up. So, I really couldn’t continue the event and found myself quitting out of the game in the middle of a competition before time ran out.
However, throughout the hours I spent mastering Monster Truck Competition, I never felt that the game set up unfair missions for me to accept. The more I played, the more I felt I could amp up my skill set or customize the AI to my liking so I wouldn’t desire to rage quit.
There’s also an enjoyable training mode, where you can learn how to perform driving basics and stunts. Some of the tricks you can acquire skills in are donuts, wheelies and bicycles. Other tricks you can master are high jumps, drifts, front flips and more.
Visually, the game is very pleasing to the eye when focusing on the foreground, your truck, your opponents’ vehicles and the track itself. However, I thought that the backgrounds, including the spectators in the stands seemed a bit grainy and pixelated. In addition, sometimes I thought the tracks’ directional arrows and barriers felt a bit confusing on the first go-around, leading me to take a wrong turn or two.
I appreciated some of the little touches the title offers players, such as being able to toggle your view between inside the cabin of your truck, to outside the truck by pressing right on the directional pad. I also respected that the developer allows you to skip cutscenes by pressing the Y button to reduce repetition and tedium.
After experiencing all the hair-raising twists and turns that Monster Truck Championship has to offer, I give it a motor manic score of 8.8 out of 10.
Thank you to Publisher/Developer Nacon for the review code!