“[Insert] Simulator” has practically become a bit of a joke in recent years as there’s seemingly a simulator for just about every task and operation out there. On that note, Truck and Logistics Simulator would seem to fit the bill as both its name and gameplay formula are as to the point as one can be.
In terms of execution, however, while moving cargo may not be the most grandiose job out there, this newcomer to the sim space takes quite the rigid approach when it comes to letting its players experience the world of ground transport.
Upon first boot, I was almost immediately a bit taken aback by this sim’s makeshift look. The UI is as rudimentary as it gets and that crudeness kind of flows directly into the gameplay itself.
After poking through the vehicle selection and limited customization menus, I was dropped into the single, rather nondescript map that doesn’t even have a name. I quickly took note of the lack of mission variety, as they’re almost all fundamentally the same, regardless of which vehicle is selected.
Admittedly, there are a few key distinctions, however. For instance, driving a large semi truck allows you to take on heavy haul jobs like transporting a trailer of pickup trucks. On the other hand, piloting a mere panel van (think: Amazon delivery van) only allows you to move small loads such as pallets.
That said, considering the game boasts “over 100 missions,” one would hope there’d be some flair to them.
But alas, the gameplay formula simply amounts to driving around the open world, pulling up to a mission orb, and then sifting through the list of cargo types/delivery lengths to determine which one you want. Then, carry out the delivery and collect your credits and XP. The only truly important factors to be mindful of is watching the fuel gauge and not taking any damage to your vehicle or cargo.
Not to mention all the ‘action’ takes place on a singular map; it’s large and has varied environments, to give it some credit. However, the fact that it nor any of the areas within even has much as a name makes the whole package look and feel flat and a little lifeless.
In only a half-hour, I was ready to write this off as just another drop in the ocean of lukewarm simulators that offer little to no real gameplay value.
Yet, somehow, I’m not completely turned off. If anything, I’m intrigued, if not still a little disappointed because I can see a lot of potential here that just isn’t being pushed as hard as it should.
Time is money
Prior to playing Truck and Logistics Simulator over the last few days, I had no idea that this actually started its life as a Steam Early Access title. Therefore, this review is actually for the “full” release; what’s supposed to represent the three years of progression since the sim’s initial inception in 2020.
As I just stated, what’s on offer here isn’t bad; but the fact that it has spent so long in Early Access and I’m still left feeling a want for something more shows that there’s still plenty of work to be done. But at the very least, many of the most important aspects do seem to be in good order thus far.
Keeping the mechanics happy
Easily the best aspect of Truck and Logistics Simulator is its physics system and driving model. There are eight vehicle categories in all, the differences between each type is quite noticeable.
The categories include cars, pickup trucks, minivans, panel vans, dropside vans (flatbeds,) rigid trucks (box trucks,) semi trucks and there’s even a monster truck—for some reason. Apart from the latter, they’re all fun to manoeuvre and easy to get used to.
For instance, you can zoom around the map at high-speed in an (unbadged) Ford Mustang, or deliver a load of boulders in a MAN semi; there’s quite a distinct difference in handling and vehicle behaviour. Not to mention the weight of heavier vehicles and load factor of cargo is also well simulated.
There’s also the small bonus of periodically getting to also take control of loading equipment, including forklifts, telehandlers and even front-end loaders.
Though these are exclusively used to load goods/materials into trailers/vehicles, it provides at least a smidge of extra depth to the gameplay (if you don’t skip it.) Not to mention the sim’s physics/weight simulation is once again shown off in a good light here.
The overall complexity of the simulation is nowhere as sterling as more polished sims like SnowRunner, but it’s far better than some other recent driving sims, such as Alaskan Road Truckers.
The detail work on both the interior and exterior of each model is decent, to say the least. Though, I wish this praise could also be applied to the sound packages, as the vast majority of vehicle engines have a generic, muddy and compressed sound to them. It’s almost distracting, especially considering so many other sims have long done away with using such simple effects.
While there might be a number of vehicles to control, the cargo variety leaves much to be desired. That said, perhaps the only real bit of progression present is that buying new vehicles will grant you access to different delivery missions; not every vehicle in a category is capable of performing all tasks.
For instance, smaller semi trucks are limited to carrying small cargo containers, whereas larger ones can handle larger loads.
Still, there’s a lot of overlap in cargo type between many of the categories, further adding to the feeling of monotony that a good chunk of the Truck and Logistics Simulator experience provides.
It’s rather confusing that most of the missions with the standard cars are still delivery missions, albeit with small loads. Considering pickup trucks do the same missions just fine, it would’ve been beneficial to see cars used for a wider variety of purposes. But, more on that later.
Smog of the city
As mentioned earlier, the unnamed, seemingly European city that the game takes place in is just as monotonous as the deliveries you perform in it. While it has a good number of distinct sections like the industrial sector, countryside, marina, and city centre, the lack of names for anything, combined with a relative look of ‘sameness’ drains it of its character.
Missions begin and end in somewhat believable locations, but considering you’re not taking/completing jobs for anyone or anything in particular, there’s very little sense of accomplishment.
To an extent, the crude presentation of the city, the UI and the blandness of the gameplay loop itself kind of makes this feel as if it was made in the mid-2000s, albeit with a sprinkle of modern graphical fidelity.
The lighting effects are just pretty decent, along with the aforementioned decent detail work of the vehicle models. The scenery assets are okay, too, if not sometimes a bit generic. There are animated clouds and even a dynamic time-of-day system, but no weather effects whatsoever. The overall environment of the sim feels somewhat lifeless.
There are no pedestrians roaming the street and though there’s a decent amount of AI vehicles buzzing about, models are often repeated. Notably, there are some animated scenery extras which include things like moving cranes, ships, and wind turbines—all injecting a little bit of vibrancy into the otherwise hollow world.
Having said all this, though, I would love to see life in this city fleshed out more.
Returning to the aforementioned idea of using your collection of vehicles in more varied ways, the standard cars could be used to perform taxi runs, for instance. Or, one could deliver small loads such as putting a load of groceries in the trunk. The panel vans would be great for doing Amazon-style package deliveries around the city. Pickup trucks could be used for moving things like boats, for example.
These are just some ideas that occurred to me as I was playing and I’m a little surprised the developers have yet to flesh out the gameplay experience with more of such elements throughout the Early Access run.
Truth be told, I actually wanted to dislike this simulator at first. Yet, strangely, I can’t call it a bad experience. It’s not broken, buggy, or truly low-quality.
If anything, it comes off like a meal that simply ‘gets the job done;’ you ate it, it was filling, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
That’s essentially how Truck and Logistics Simulator is in its current form—an odd, almost contradictory mixture of bland fun.
As a title coming out of a long run in Early Access, I have to consider it a bit of a let-down as it should be more polished and have a larger scope at this point. With that being said, this still has the makings of a pretty solid driving sim, albeit one that doesn’t use all the tools in its garage.
More varied missions that result in a diverse use of the extensive vehicle roster would do wonders for the experience, in addition to fleshing out the map and giving it more of a feeling of liveliness. Not to mention that the UI needs a facelift like yesterday.
It’s been three years as it is, so I’m not too hopeful of how much this sim will be further built upon. That said, many quality simulators have continued to settle into evergreen status over the last several years as their respective studios fill in the cracks and roll out new content over time.
If the folks at Simula Games take such a path with Truck and Logistics Simulator, and soon at that, it’d be great to see. As it is right now, however, it’s best described as a lightly seasoned plate of ‘something.’ It does what it says on the tin, albeit a bit too straightforwardly.
Truck and Logistics Simulator: Like a mildly appetizing dish, Simula Games' Truck and Logistics Simulator merely seeks to 'get the job done' rather than dare to excite. It contains the makings of a much bigger, more elaborate experience, but instead comes off as looking and feeling mundane, only delivering an odd mixture of bland, yet fun gameplay that's all too repetitive. – A.K Rahming