For decades, the goal of most game designers has seemed to be to make the experience of controlling a video game as fluid as possible. The idea is that every button press and every tilt of the joystick should result in the kind of action that the player expects. Given that this is the norm, it shouldn't be too surprising that some developers choose...[read more below]
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A game of spills, crashes, and late arrivals.
For decades, the goal of most game designers has seemed to be to make the experience of controlling a video game as fluid as possible. The idea is that every button press and every tilt of the joystick should result in the kind of action that the player expects. Given that this is the norm, it shouldn't be too surprising that some developers choose to subvert this expectation. There is a genre of games that make sure the performance of even the simplest of tasks is as complicated as possible. Totally Reliable Game Delivery is definitely a game in this tradition - and how you feel about those games is going to determine how you feel about this one.
At its core, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a game that's about one of the most hallowed game mechanics in history - the fetch quest. In truth, all there is to this game is taking a thing from point A to point B. The exact nature of the package doesn't matter - it's the difficulty in getting the object from one place to the next.
At its heart, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is about overcoming the game's control scheme.
In this game, the player takes on the role of a delivery person. Complicating that is the control scheme - you can control the player's arms with one set of buttons, and you can control the ability to raise or lower the character's arms with the other. Your goal is to use these basic grappling controls to move a variety of objects and to drive a range of vehicles. It's not a complicated game, but rather one that makes simple actions more stringent than they need to be.
One thing that most will notice about games like Totally Reliable Delivery Service is that the graphics are usually pretty stylized. This tends to be because the games are not only generally low-budget, but there's something about the cartoon aspect that makes the horrible controls feel funny rather than frustrating. Even for one of these games, though, TRDS looks terrible.
The aesthetic here feels a bit like a deformed version of a Playskool world. The characters don't have too much more definition than what you'd find in something like Human Fall Flat, but they still lack character. The audio is relatively basic, as well, with a handful of obnoxious noises that you'll come to detest.
The toughest thing to judge is the game-play of this game. It's incredibly frustrating, but a great deal of that is by design. The developers want you to thrash about and have trouble accomplishing even the simplest of tasks. If only because there's some inherent comedy in the flailing around.
The game falls apart, though, when the inadequate controls stop being intentional.
Unfortunately, the difficulty in playing this game doesn't all come from purposeful design. There are too many hiccups and glitches that will derail your delivery attempts, making you feel more like the game is laughing at you than with you. When the game does well, it's acceptably funny. When it is not, you'll want to find another game.
In short, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a game designed to be frustrating in a fun way, but that generally ends up being frustrating in itself. It can be fun to play with friends for a few minutes, but it's ultimately not as clever as it thinks that it might be. This one is free for now, but even then, it might not be worth the price of admission.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a wacky, physics-based delivery game that comes up short across the board.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service features you (and potentially your friends) as a God-awful delivery service. Your job is to get a variety of packages to where they need to be. As you can imagine, it's not always simple - or even a little simple. This physics-based game encourages you to find optimal routes, pick up useful gadgets and embrace otherwise wacky machines to deliver your package. While you can play this one on your own, you can also play it with friends, adding a degree of randomness to this bizarre adventure.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is available on almost every major platform, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Androids, Windows & Macintosh. It was developed by We're Five Games and published by TinyBuild Games. At the moment, you can download the game for free via the Epic Games platform. It is not yet available on Steam.
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