Thursday, June 3, 2010

Destructo Truck

So here I am, lucky enough to have a few pretty darn good games over the last few days, and thinking about which one I should review for this week's Big Mean Flash Gamer. Tough call, really; adventure, action, puzzles - I've played a pretty wide variety this past week and been thoroughly entertained.

But only one of those games allows me to drive a lorry down a ramp and crash it into a never ending line of buildings. That game is Destructo Truck.

Destructo Truck gets points immediately because it reminds me of the always wonderful Indestructo Tank series. But while those games have you driving along, merrily smashing into enemy aircraft and vehicles, Destructo Truck eschews any meaningful narrative or in-depth character development and instead focuses on building bashing goodness. It's a bit like when Michael Bay told the screenwriters of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to remove anything that slowed down the pace or gave a hint of character development. Except Revenge of the Fallen was shite and Destructo Truck rocks your socks off.

Still, I expect Mikey boy would appreciate this game. It taps into something that I believe all men have, which is the innate desire to burn things and jump on stuff. All that Destructo Truck asks of you is that you drive as fast as possible down a long ramp, sail off the end and then sit back as your truck barrels through building after building, creating the longest "Smash Streak" possible to access power-ups and bonuses. With the salvage from destroyed buildings you can purchase upgrades for your truck, even redesiging the chassis and body of the vehicle.

That's really all there is to it. In that regard, Destructo Truck probably doesn't have a lot of replay value. But there's something deeply satisfying - even cathartic - about watching a bright yellow truck smash its way through 57 buildings and businesses before rolling slowly to a stop. It's the same reason a game like Burnout is so popular: all the thrill of a grinding car crash straight out a Bourne movie but without the annoyance of serious injury or insurance claims.

Controls are simple - the right arrow to accelerate and the Space bar for everything else. Upgrade rockets, your engine etc. and watch the truck roll trough buildings like they were made of paper. Can't get much better than that! The graphics are exceedlingly simple, but then nobody's playing this for its remarkable visuals. Everything does the job just fine, so while it doesn't win any awards for innovation, one can't fault Destructo Truck for focusing simply on getting the fundamentals right.

Destructo Truck is big, dumb and lots of fun, so it gets a thumbs up for that. It cares little for your serious Earth, revelling instead in a ridiculous concept. and can't help but entertain.


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