If there’s one thing that I never thought I’d find myself reviewing it would have been monster trucks. Giant incredible auto-mechanical feats set upon the destruction of anything that lay in their way, I was surprised to find myself not just destroying cars, trailers and other things, but also racing both laps and drag racing against other opponents. Large and in charge, while also being in a way chunky yet funky in their designs, Teyon and Nacon’s Monster Truck Championship is definitely on the short list for surprise hit of the year.
In a very TL/DR fashion, you drive custom monster trucks and have fun. Seriously. Split between a single player and an online mode, you compete against others in order to bring home money and fame to compete in tougher and tougher challenges all while upgrading your mechanical beast.
Now there’s a lot to learn here. Unlike the WRC series with it’s off-road driving and navigator to help you prepare for what’s ahead, learning how to drive a monster truck was an entirely different experience. You have your throttle and your brakes which is pretty standard for anyone that has driven a car, truck or tractor. After that though, you have to worry about turning both the front and the back wheels depending on the curves in the track or you’ll often find yourself pulling a 180 and going the wrong way. Sounds easy enough but it took losing a few championships to get it right.
From there though? You then get to learn how to do donuts, reverse donuts, wheelies, aerial flips, barrel rolls and somersaults all while not trying to crash, break your truck, or land on your back like a turtle unable to get up. Body work, engine, tires, suspension and your gear shifting for speed are all required to pull this off and the more damage you do by doing it wrong, the harder the rest will be. As it’s my only comparison, like in Tony Hawk Pro Skater… either 2 or 3 WAY back in the day, if you want to win the freestyling you’re going to have to string tricks together to get multipliers making what you’re doing worth it especially if you want to take first place.
It honestly didn’t take me long to get into things but at the same time I think it had to deal a bit with how accessible Monster Truck Championship is. The controls are not overly complicated even with two sets of wheels to control. You have your gas, your breaks, and otherwise? You hit the ramps or slopes at various speeds using your gas or your breaks to essentially make your giant truck dance a destructive dance all while racing or freestyling your way through the competitions.
On that note, only helping to ease yourself into it, races are generally only a few minutes a piece. Drag Racing is over in less than a dozen seconds win or lose. Win three and the victory is yours. Lose once, and you get as many points as you’ve accumulated for that part of the championship. Like, Mario Kart for example, just because you lost on position doesn’t mean that you’ve lost it all. My first few victories came from the Drag Racing and Free Styling until I finally understood how to properly race and hit all of the corners while racing and not finding myself fully turned around. I mean it still happens but I can hit reverse fast enough and sometimes use someone behind me to crash into me and give me a boost forward while slowing them down. It’s not the cleanest method… but it works.
The menus are also pretty easy. You can join championships, you can head into your garage or you can go and hire staff to help out. Starting with only two slots, you’ll soon be hiring or replacing Managers and Mechanics in order to give you more of an edge. While they cost money to hire, some will also be taking a cut of your earnings to help maintain your gear or to promote you. It’s possible to net a zero on your staff but as time moves on, the bonuses they provide you are well worth the cut into your earnings even if new parts are expensive as hell, you’re only as good as your staff and your mechanical beast.