There is no secret, I love pro wrestling. I love things getting crushed and pyro, I love loud noises and expensive beer. When the chance to review “Monster Truck Championship” from NACON and Teyon I literally gasped. The ability to smash cars, race around a dirt track in a ten foot tall truck as I listen to rock music is a dream come true. Does “Monster Truck Championship” make my dreams into reality, or into nightmares?
The first step in becoming a world monster truck champion, is creating your character. I, of course, am Big Iron from the UK. I’ve come to the US to dominate all of you in the driving my monster truck all across the country. I tried jumping right into the competition and realized I was in way over my head. I was handed my British ass fairly quick, and found myself in the training menu. The tutorials do a pretty great job explaining the different intricacies that will get you through the different events you’ll need to master. If something as mundane as racing is completely different while driving a monster truck. Using the two analog sticks to control the front and back axles will give you different turn styles as well as allow you to pull different moves off. The tutorial also goes over how to do some sick moves, including back flips, somersaults, wall backflip and the bicycle. These moves, linked together in a combo are what’s going to earn you enough points to win some freestyle and destruction events. I was finally ready to start my ascent to world champion.
Big Iron still failed at the first event. You learn fairly quickly that the garage is where it’s at. The customization of your truck reigns supreme, with huge options for every aspect. You can change the look, including: body type, stickers, paint, front, back and top attachments (rocket anyone?). This is also where you work on your truck, getting new brakes, transmission and engines. All of this, of course costs in game currency, and you get that currency through sponsors and winning events. Sponsorship comes after completing tasks set forth by the company (do two wall flips, win an event). You can also hire on a team, including an agent, a engine specialist or a logistics manager. Each of those also come with different effects (entry fee -10%, income -8% and truck grip+20%)
Once you get into the events you start to see the tarnish on the shine of Monster Truck Championship. The areas scattered across the US, while are all different and have particular identities (Las Vegas Grand Stadium, Lions Stadium in Mass.) they are missing something. The crowd is quite flat and while you aren’t in the arenas for an overly long time, it’s still noticeable. They put all the work into the trucks and stadium tracks and it shows. The trucks are freaking amazing looking, again once you get into the customization of them you can really enjoy it. Big Iron drove a Stallion body, with purple rims and a pearlescent paint. He also used the some of the deluxe edition stickers, placing the “bad and mad” sticker on the hood, so everyone sees him coming in their rearview.
Placing in the events is the most important (obviously), and the events are comprised of a handful of the 5 events: Racing, Drag Racing, Free Style, Destruction and Time Trial. The most fun one being destruction, where you’re tasked in destroying portajohns, trailers and brightly colored cars all while completing tricks. Freestyle is also fun as you are doing as many tricks as you can (try and link them together to get larger combos). The others a pretty straight forward as their name implies. My biggest issue was during the races NOT crashing into everyone. I just want to destroy the competition, but that is not how you’re going to win this. Keeping away and avoiding collisions is the way to go!
Monster Truck Championship is a fun game all in all. Once you start upgrading your truck it completely opens up the game, as the first few events you feel less than. The graphics of the trucks, arenas and dirt are awesome, but the lack of crowds leaves you wanting. The sound design is spectacular, the trucks roaring as it flips into the next gear, the pyro shooting off and even the announcer (who I think did some voiceover work on spike tv?) For $40 for the standard or $50 for the deluxe I believe this is a value pick. Tons of replay (there is an online element so you can go head to head with friends or against a leaderboard) and the ability to customize your truck to whatever mood you’re in. I recommend it!
Gameplay: 8/10 Great fun with 5 different events to keep your attention!
Sound Design: 8/10 Great and realistic sounds!
Graphics: 9/10 The trucks, arena and mud designs are great. You’ll feel like you’re watching actual monster trucks.
Control: 8.5/10 A mix of learning a new control scheme and a mix of touchy controls.
Overall: 8.5 A fun, engaging game with online opportunities and massive customization.
Available now on PS4, Xbone, and Steam!