From developer Landfall Games and publisher tinyBuild comes Clustertruck, an absolutely chaotic first-person platformer about – you guessed it – jumping on top of trucks. However, don’t let Clustertruck’s simple and silly name fool you. Landfall Games has delivered a highly refined and addictive title that goes from zero to one hundred as soon as you press the play button.
And it never slows down.
Immediately after starting up Clustertruck, I knew I was in for a high-octane ride to challenge my reflexes in every high stakes and testosterone-filled way possible. Seriously, this game is intense. Within the first few levels, I was sprinting across truck tops and bouncing from one to the next, dashing through the air and correcting my trajectory mid-jump, avoiding massive windmill arms as they swiped trucks clear off the road, dodging explosions, and much more.
And all of these actions felt simple and intuitive, thanks to Clustertruck’s responsive controls. If you’re a fan of the old school arena shooter, with mechanics geared around movement, from games like Quake or Unreal, or if you're like me and spend hours perfecting your bunny hopping in Counter Strike, then there will be plenty of enjoyment for you to find in Clustertruck.
The game runs smooth as well. I’m happy to report that during my time playing (about 5 hours in total) Clustertruck never dipped below 60 frames per second. The unwavering frame rate gives Clustertruck a real sense of speed and makes it easy to trigger jumps accurately when needed. Which is basically all the time.
As far as content goes, we're in the plenty.
9 worlds, each with ten levels. You'll start your journey off in traditional settings: deserts, forests, and winter zones, but eventually move into more exotic and interesting locations like medieval times, ancient lands, steampunk worlds, and even Hell. But be warned, getting there might be more difficult than you think.
Clustertruck is an extremely difficult game. Of course, "challenging" is a highly subjective concept: some will welcome adversity; others will be deterred by it, and to some extent, it's unfortunate that players can't choose the difficulty level. What you see is what you get.
Can’t beat a level? Too truckin’ bad.
Your only option will be to get better, or to stack the odds in your favor, if you so desire, through Clustertruck's skill system. Completing levels means you will gain points which can then be used to purchase skills. These come in a wide range of varieties and will allow you to acquire abilities like double-jumping, time manipulation, second chances, and even a grappling hook. Get as many as you can and you'll transform into a piece of cake what originally seemed like an impossible jump, an unsurmountable level. It’s also an excellent way to introduce gameplay mechanics into levels and keep the experience fresh as the player progresses through exciting and well-paced campaigns.
Unfortunately, Clustertruck doesn’t quite excel in all aspects of its design. The sound leaves something to be desired. Too put it bluntly, it comes off as amateurish like it was composed with stock loops in GarageBand or something. Don’t get me wrong, the pace of the music matches well with the speed of the game, and really makes you feel like you’re flying through the air in an awesome display of acrobatics; but in terms of fidelity, it falls flat. That may seem like a minor complaint, and it mostly is, but a well-produced soundtrack would have helped to really shift Clustertruck into overdrive.
For fans of the first-person platformers, Clustertruck will be an easy sell. It’s a fast, frantic, fun, and unique game that both controls and runs well. Clustertruck is also a one-truck pony. As I stated in the introduction, “Clustertruck is a game about jumping on trucks” and although that is a novel idea, it won’t be for everybody. There are online leaderboards and even a very robust level editor which should add longevity to the game, and hopefully, attract some sitting on the fence. If you're one of them, wondering whether or not you should buy Clustertruck, my advice is simple: get the truck off of it and go buy this game.