Clustertruck’s fast paced platforming, coupled with the intensity and variety of music, really puts this platformer above and beyond the competition. These factors, along with many others, such as creating a certain strategy from getting from start to finish, kept me glued to my computer. As awesome and exciting as this game was, it was so brutal at the same time, as any platformer should be. All it takes is holding a directional key too long or mistiming a jump for you to be back at the beginning of a level in a matter of seconds.
To start off, Clustertruck’s main story (only objective) is to simply get from start to finish of every level as fast as you can. You take control of a parkour daredevil in the first person point of view who must jump to different trucks in order to get to the finish line. However, the major catch to this is that you cannot touch the ground, walls, ceiling, or anything for that matter, or you die. It would seem simple enough if the trucks didn’t go sporadically in different directions, crashing into each other, doing flips in midair and sometimes explode right in front of you. The randomness of the trucks makes it pretty damn difficult and frustrating to complete a level, but at times, the randomness does work in your favor as well. Many people may find this factor to be more of a detriment to the game, but the variability of the trucks truly does make the game more interesting in the end. If there was not any randomness with the trucks, one strategy to beat a level will always work, whereas the randomness will keep you constantly engaged and on your toes for every level.
After completing a level, you will gain points that you can use to spend on a variety of upgrades to assist you in getting through levels. For example, I used the jetpack for about 90% of my playthrough, because it was super useful in getting that extra boost I needed to land on a truck, rather than missing my destination by about a couple of pixels. You can also score bonus points, which are awarded based on how fast you complete a level, and style points, like having a certain amount of air time or bouncing off of a truck that is in midair. The upgrades that you can buy are extremely useful and a lot of them are situational, so be sure to choose wisely. Also, if you’re going for the achievement to complete the game without any upgrades, all I have to say is good luck to you.
The controls for Clustertruck are as natural as you can get with a platformer. WASD are your movement keys, Shift is to sprint, Spacebar is to jump, your mouse is to look around, and depending on what upgrades you get, you will be using either Right Click or Spacebar to activate it. One thing I can guarantee off the bat is that you will be holding down Shift until your finger feels like it’s about to fall off. The intensity each level has makes you want to go faster to get to the finish line, so it’s pretty difficult to take it down a notch and play the game slowly. These are all of your controls, and, like I said earlier, all it takes is one mistimed jump and you will definitely be dead.
A key aspect of gameplay that really caught my attention was the various types of obstacles you are faced with as you progress through the game. These obstacles start off simple, like the ground for example, but progress to be jumping through wheels and lasers and dodging giant boulders, all while trying to stay on one of the few trucks going the same way as you. The variety of obstacles kept this game very fresh to me. The only sad thing was that I beat the game in less than three hours, and I was just hoping for there to be so many more levels to the campaign. Although I was disappointed by this, the community maps that were created by users brought back my excitement. In all honesty, I really liked some of these user created maps better than the ones in the campaign, and some of these maps will really push your skills to the limit, so be warned.
Overall, Landfall Games truly understands the meaning of a good platformer. Clustertruck was executed extremely well with minor hiccups and glitches here and there, but there was nothing too major to the point where the game becomes less fun. Truly, the only thing more I could ask from this game is an extended campaign or something of the sort.
- Game pulls off platforming aspect beautifully.
- Great music, coupled with incredible level design.
- Fast paced and makes you work for the win.
- Game’s randomness can sometimes get in the way.
- Too short of a campaign.
- Even the slightest mistiming will lead to a death.
Reviewed on: PC; Also Available on: PS4; Publisher: tinyBuild Games; Developer: Landfall Games; Players: Single-Player; Released: September 27, 2016; ESRB: Everyone; MSRP: $14.99; Official Site