Trucker's Delight is an iPhone game that is going to divide gamers. For old school retro gamers, the simple graphics, sound and game play will hold immediate appeal. Newer gamers might look at it and wonder how on earth it ever got released.
It's true that ideas or plot are not Trucker's Delight's strong point. You drive a big truck and must chase down the attractive blonde in the sports car who has just flipped you the bird and ram her (for some unexplained reason, this earns you money aka points). Whilst doing this, you also need to make sure you reach a number of checkpoints within a set time limit (typically around 30 seconds), otherwise the game ends.
Trucker's Delight has instant appeal thanks to its pick-up-and-play nature, which harks back to the days of the early 90s when games were relatively simple, but fun. There are no complicated rules to learn, no need to gradually introduce more and more controls and no need for any sort of tutorial. It really is the sort of game which anyone can just start playing.
It's also got a quirky visual style. A bright, fun cartoon video introduces you to the game and this cartoony look and feel is carried over into the main game graphics. It's very reminiscent of old-style racers like Outrun in terms of its looks. The camera sits behind your truck, giving you a pseudo-3D view of the road. Graphics are clear and obstacles are always obvious, whilst there is also a good (though not perfect) illusion of speed.
There are some nice touches too. Drive on the wrong side of the road and the on-coming cars will flash their headlights at you. A good old-fashioned title screen gives you easy access to the limited options and is quite funky and appealing in its own unique way, whilst the game itself holds plenty of pleasing cartoon-like touches, including a few in-game cut scenes to add a bit of variety.
The strong, cartoony visual style is complemented by a great soundtrack. A quirky tune plays over the top of the action and again this captures the soundtrack of early-mid 90s racing games with their emphasis on light, airy tunes, rather than heavy rock. It perfectly suits the slightly silly, manic nature of the game play and it's really hard to imagine any other type of tune working. Apparently, both the game and the music are based on something by a group called Flair, although I've never heard of them, so have no idea if this is true.
Sound effects are fairly minimal, but again perfectly suited to the game's vintage look and feel. Your truck's engine makes a satisfying roar, hitting your target results in a pleasing little "tring" sound, accompanied by a points bonus. You can even pull the chain to honk your truck's airhorn, which is pointless, but fun! All this just piles up the nostalgia for people like myself who remember the early days of gaming.
It's true that there's not a lot of actual substance to Trucker's Delight. There's no variety to the game and the only real difference between levels is that the traffic gets heavier and the roads more twisty whilst some additional hazards (such as bikers who try to kick your truck) are introduced. Otherwise, the core game play remains the same - move from one checkpoint to another within the time limit. The only real challenge lies in getting just that little bit further each time and beating your high score. As such, it's not a game that you're going to play in long bursts, but rather a title that you will have a few games on before getting bored and moving on to something else.
Conversely, thanks to its simple nature, it is likely to survive on your iPhone for quite a while and tempt you back for the odd game. I've had games on my iPhone where I've been addicted to them for a short while and played them endlessly. Then I'll suddenly reach a point where I get fed up with it and never load it up again, either because I get stuck, or because it gets boring. Trucker's Delight is the opposite. Whilst I rarely play it for more than about ten minutes, the fact that it is so easy to get into and such fun to play does mean it's a title I often turn to if I have a few minutes to kill and want a quick game of something.
The controls do let the game down slightly, although they are not critically flawed. It uses the iPhone's accelerometers requiring you to tilt the phone in the relevant direction to turn your truck left or right, or tilt it forward to speed up. Whilst these work well for the most part, they can occasionally feel a little imprecise and leave you a little unsure how far you need to tilt the phone to move. This can result in you accidentally hitting other cars or road signs and, since the time limits are quite strict, this can make the difference between you reaching the next checkpoint or not. With practice, you get better, but it's a shame that there's no option to play using alternative controls: it's the accelerometer or nothing.
Online integration is OK, but nothing special. You can brag about your score via Facebook or Twitter and view a list of global high scores. Even this is pretty limited, though, and you can only view the 100 best scores.
You might want to be little careful about who you let play the game, as some of the content is slightly risqué. You'll certainly see worse on TV and in other computer games, but the title does carry a 12 certificate so you might want to be aware of that before you let your little darling download it.
I'm not going to try and pretend that Trucker's Delight is the greatest game in the world or that it's cutting edge in anyway. It has a very retro look and feel, looking like it belongs in the mid-90s more than 2010 and has simple, repetitive game play to match.
Yet it's also one of those titles that remembers that games should be fun and bring a bit of a smile to your face. The daft idea, cartoony graphics and simple game play will find plenty of fans. It's not going to be a title you play in long bursts - one or two games at a time is usually enough; but it is a game you will find yourself keep sneaking back to it for a quick go. The main thing, though, is that it's fun to play, and for just 59p, what have you got to lose (apart from 59p, obviously!)
© Copyright SWSt 2010