It’s hard to pigeon hole this release, is it – as it says on the cover – a pure mechanic management simulator? Is it a puzzle game? Perhaps a learning too, or is it simply a game about repairing cars? The answer is it is all of these things.
Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 tasks you, in first person perspective, to work your way up as mechanic. A mechanic with the world’s worst radio, which is the first thing you turn off in the basic garage that is your starting point.
In career mode you will be given a series of cars to repair, the owner report will give some guidance, from the obvious ‘Please change all brake pads’ to the somewhat more obscure ‘There is a strange knocking coming from the front”. Either way there will be a set of objectives to achieve before getting paid.
Getting to work involves managing a minimal interface; the vehicle to be worked upon is already in your garage, certain points, the wheels and bonnet for example can be inspected, with all the mechanical parts in the area able to viewed with a camera that can rotate at all angles, no having to worry too much about intervening panelling and chassis.
Switching to the “show condition” tool will give some insight to the wear of each component, be it suspension, filters, rudimentary electrics and so on. Moving then to the “disassemble” will allow you to start removing parts, the game will only allow you to do this in logical order, for example removing the wheel, before the callipers, before the brake pads and so on.
The garage hoist will allow access to fuel, exhaust systems and so on. Checking the garage computer will allow the ordering - and miraculous immediate arrival of - new parts as well as the randomness of a second-hand part market online. The computer is also where old parts can be sold, and new mechanic skills can be learned (yep, this simulator has a Role Play Game element to it).
The car can be taken out back to the test drive track, where our hero mechanic can drive through a series of strict tests, looking for handling problems or listening for any anomalies. In later, more sophisticated garages, there are, well, more sophisticated tools for learning the health of the patient vehicle.
That’s pretty much it; the puzzle element comes into play for some jobs, simply trying to track down where the issue is and there is a management issue ensuring you make money along the way. You could, I guess play the system a little bit by replacing new parts on a car with older worn parts from previous jobs. Not something that would happen in real life right?
On the Steam digital download service Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 is one of the most popular downloads, there is something impelling about working through the learning puzzles presented in game despite the repetition and sometimes, yes, labour intensive tasks that are offered.