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GAME REVIEW | Running & Leaping Towards A Massive "Clustertruck"

Clustertruck is one insane premise! Taking its inspiration from every cool chase sequence from Hollywood and Hong Kong cinema (especially the one from The Matrix Reloaded), Landfall and tinyBuild's concoction has you running and leaping from truck-to-truck to reach your destined area. But now imagine that game you used to play as a kid where the floor was lava, only instead, everything is lava except the trucks. And with that, the level of crazy Clustertruck delivers skyrockets into the stratosphere.

There isn't a storyline or back story that tells you why you're jumping trucks to get someplace. Nay, Clustertruck just wanted to take a dirty word, turn it into a pun, and craft a game out of it. It's a good thing that the end result is one hell of a fun time, as games with punny titles tend to have as much imagination as said title. Not so with Clustertruck, which instead has you speeding and jumping into a massive foray of psychotic life-threatening situations.

Clustertruck 1

It just doesn't have you jumping trucks, but rather it also makes you have to evade and hazards and strategize hazards. At first, I thought all I had to do was memorize how the trucks and the environments went in order to get to the goal. That is, until I started realizing that no two play-throughs are the same. In one instance, a truck you were aiming for will be at the spot you were hoping, but in another instance you'll miss its mark even after your calculations. Not only does Clustertruck have your character on their toes, but the same goes for your brain and fingertips.

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The level of difficulty this game has is deep in the red. Clustertruck begins by doing a good job with teaching you the basics, while at the same time presenting a strong dose of action to make the easy parts still exciting. It's when the lessons immediately end when the zaniness shifts into gear, as you will sometimes have to jump, turn, dash, and land safely without falling or being hit all in an instant. This is where it can get rather frustrating, whether the Nintendo Switch is in docked mode or its portable setting.

Clustertruck 2

Often I found it troublesome trying to jump and turn at the same time, as it would often cause my character's peripheral vision to get jolted and flung off its stability. This, in turn, would then cause me to fall onto the ground, forcing me to start from the beginning again. And even though these trucks will move at random, I still find myself landing in nearly the exact same spot over and over again, causing me to keep on wishing for a truck to finally appear in that spot instead of being greeted with the screen of failure.

Of course, having its inspiration be of the most fantastical of action flicks, Clustertruck does give you a helping hand once you earn enough points in the long run. As you accumulated a certain amount of in-game currency, you can use two different powers to aid you on your quest to the goal. These can range from double-jumping and gliding to slowing down time and -- probably the most useful of powers -- magically bring forth a truck to land safely on. The better the power, the more expensive, so you may find yourself replaying earlier levels to earn the better tricks.

Clustertruck 3

Clustertruck will take you roughly five hours to clear, depending on how well you can clear your landings. A nice bonus with the Switch release includes the Halloween and Christimas-themed levels, which have their own set of hazards and levels of zany to deal with. The ability to better your score also aids with its replay value, although it would've been nice to be able to compare your scores with the rest of the players out there.

PROS:

  • Fast-paced gameplay
  • Cool and helpful powers
  • Loads of replay value

CONS:

  • Wonky controls
  • Some frustrating levels

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Clustertruck is a hell of an adventruous time delivered via a rather simple premise. Although it has its fair share of speed bumps and difficulty, it doesn't take away any of the fun Landfall have sought to bring to players everywhere. Just be sure that if you play Clustertruck in the Switch's portable mode, that you fight every urge to fling your console out the window after losing for the hundredth time.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by tinyBuild Games. Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.

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Contributing Editor at ESH since 2008, and host of the No Borders No Race podcast show, which began as a humble college radio program in 2006. My passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture is what drives me to give you my all in every article published and every podcast recorded.