Several notable annoyances, but this is an enjoyable "lite" simulator of working on cars!
I say lite because it is not a true simulation by any means. It's a moderate approximation of working on modern day cars, but plays more like a puzzle game. That said, what it does offer is quite enjoyable if you like cars or just problem-solving in general. You're given a car and a description of the problem, sometimes specific and sometimes vague, and it's up to you to figure it out.
Often this will involve poking around with a magnifying glass to see if something is glowing red, other times it will mean taking a test drive and seeing what rattles. Come back, take it apart, buy a part online or repair it, replace the part, there you go. Sometimes it'll be as straightforward as changing the oil or brake pads, other times it'll involve tearing down a significant portion of the drivetrain to get to a hard-to-reach part. It's not too complex either, with just the right amount of detail to be believable, but not *every* nut, bolt, and wire from a real car is accounted for. I find it very satisfying to be presented with a car that doesn't work for who knows what reason, poke around and inspect all sorts of parts, go shopping for new ones online, install them, find you need more parts, finish it off and finally take it for that successful test drive around the track. It also looks and sounds fantastic while you're doing it, which is not a requirement in this genre but it's a nice plus if you have the hardware.
My biggest issues: sometimes it's far too vague and makes a lot of assumptions about what you know. If you don't have a basic knowledge of car parts and their locations, too bad, you're going to be stumbling around a lot since it doesn't tell you where most things are or how many of them to look for. It's also not initially very clear *how* exactly to get to the parts you need to repair, even if you can see them, which is made worse by the camera being finicky. Also, some jobs are insanely picky, like one where you have to replace an ignition wire with a new one: the game gives you the option to replace the wire with used ones, but nope, it has to be new (or over some ambiguous percentage of quality) even though it doesn't tell you this. It is also incredibly easy to screw yourself out of money, since there is a way to upgrade your abilities in the game. If you spend too much on these upgrades before finishing a job, you may not have the cash needed to buy the parts to finish it, leaving you stuck.
I'd still recommend it for sim enthusiasts and the car-curious though, as the price seems *just fair enough* for the amount of enjoyment I've gotten out of it! However, it's lacking in some areas as far as accessibility, clarity, and variety in things to do. It's not as in-depth as some previous games like Gearhead Garage, but it's not nearly as simple as some of the flash games I've played either.
Posted: January 24th, 2014