Game: Tank Mechanic Simulator
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PC)
Developer|Publisher: DeGenerals | Ultimate Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US 10+ Everyone
Price: UK £16.19 | EU €17,99 | US $17.99
Release Date: August 27th 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Ultimate Games
My grandfather was a huge fan of anything to do with the military and army. During World War II he was evacuated from London to a quieter village in Buckinghamshire. He was very excited to do his military service. When I used to go visit him he would regale me with tales about his time in the army and the adventures he had. So of course he was very fond of museums that showcased military history. I have fond memories walking around the London Museum as he talked about certain military tanks. If he was around today I think Tank Mechanic Simulator is a game he would be very interested in watching me play.
Restore the Tanks
Tank Mechanic Simulator I guess is a game that does what it says on the tank. You are a tank mechanic and this game is a video game representation of that career. By that I mean it turns tasks that require years of experience and expertise into simple tasks that are fun to perform over and over again. I don’t understand it but I really kinda dug this game.
You start the game in your garage. You can simply start messing around to your heart’s content, picking up tools, and exploring things in the garage. It’s recommended until you get used to things to follow the tutorial prompts on the top left of the screen because there is quite a lot to digest in this game. Even then I found myself getting a little lost. But much like any hobby you sorta just start to pick up things for yourself the more immersed you get into the experience.
The general flow of the game is that you walk up to your old 90s looking computer, which hilariously takes time to load (giving me horrible flashbacks from my youth). You then check your e-mails and take on jobs. Some of these jobs will involve a client dumping a rusty old tank in your garage and you have to restore it back to a decent condition. But you also get jobs like excavations which have you go out into a very quiet open world and go find a tank to dig up with your metal detector and shovel. The missions are repetitive but it’s the pointless busywork that makes Tank Mechanic Simulator strangely alluring and I don’t quite know why. It’s a lot of fun picking up tools and removing the rust, sanding things, then painting your tank project. It’s fun going onto your crappy computer and looking on the internet to find tank parts to restore the vehicle to its full glory. I see this as quite the Zen type game. There’s not really much point to anything you’re doing (which some may say sums up video games as a whole) but it is pretty relaxing and I had fun restoring tanks while listening to a podcast after a long hard day at work. The in-game background music is pretty awful. The game is also not the biggest looker but tanks are pretty green and grey in real life so I guess it makes sense.
Moving to Switch
The game originally started life out on the PC the developers have done a pretty decent job bringing it over to Switch. The graphics and how the game runs have taken a small hit due to the inferior hardware. Sometimes when your moving about the movement feels jerky and when you trying to select parts of the tank there seems to be a notable delay. The loading times are also quite long at times when moving from area to area slowing down the experience. With the PC the game notably has the benefit of using a mouse but on the Switch, your stuck with the controller so selecting parts on a tank once again can feel quite slow and delayed. It didn’t totally sour the experience and if anything I was rather impressed how well the game ran in handheld mode. I actually thought the graphics looked better in handheld mode compared to playing on the TV but maybe I need to get my eyes tested.
A busy day of Work
There is plenty to keep you busy in the game. I found it odd I would return home from work to play a game that is in a way work itself. You can take on missions at your own pace and there really is no rush even if the client in the e-mail happens to say a job is urgent. Once you complete jobs you can upgrade various abilities such as reduce the cost of parts or even unlock new vehicles like a quad bike to nip about on in excavations. If you have enough money you can also quite literally pay someone else to do various jobs for you.
My goal in the game was to go riding about in the tanks I restored and yes before you ask you can shoot the cannon. You can also unlock a museum to showcase the tanks you’ve restored. But I liked how you can really play the game how you want to and there’s no particular pressure on you as the player to get things 100% correct. With that in mind depending on how deep you get into the game this could keep you busy for several gaming sessions.
Tank Mechanic Simulator is a surprisingly fun game and a nice relaxing surprise I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. Is the game perfect, no? The learning curve to get into this game is quite complex, the graphics are a bit bland and the performance on Switch a bit muddled.
But, despite its issues, I still had fun restoring some tanks. I never expected to enjoy a game with simulator in the title as much as I did. If you have the time to spare and have an interest in tanks this might be something you want to check out too.
Final Verdict: I liked it a lot
For My Grandfather
This is a game I imagined playing with my grandfather. As I played this I imagined him sitting next to me telling me one of his many stories from his army days. Stories I used to get bored of when I was younger because he repeated them over and over again. He passed away when I was very young and now I’m a lot older I’m saddened that I don’t have the chance to tell him how important those stories were. My hope is that somewhere a gamer is able to enjoy this game with a fellow tank enthusiast whether it’s a family member or friend.
This review is dedicated to the loving memory of my grandfather William John Luff. He once gave me some advice when I was very young. I didn’t perform well at school but on a car ride home where I explained how hard I found things he told me ‘You can do anything you want to.’ Simple advice that hopefully, we have all heard. But because it came from him and it was that encouragement that made me continue to stand up each time I got knocked down and try again. I never got the chance to tell him how important this moment was. How much it means to me today but I hope it helps someone out there who thinks they have given their all and it’s not enough. It’s simply not true. You are. Thanks for reading.