Games & Tech

Review: Car Mechanic Simulator Classic Finds the Balance Between Realism and Fun

Screenshot: Car Mechanic Simulator Classic

Simulators as a genre are an odd bunch. Flipping houses, fixing cars, flying, driving a bus, etc; you name it, there’s probably a game that simulates it. I’ve never been a big fan, because many include a lot of micromanaging, or try so hard to be realistic that they aren’t that fun. Car Mechanic Simulator Classic, on the other hard, manages to ride that fine line very well, so whether you’re a masochist or a newbie, I think you’ll have a good time.

Car Mechanic Simulator Classic is a simulation game developed and published by Ultimate Games S.A. The naming conventions can get a bit confusing, especially for players on Xbox One. This is an Xbox One port of the older Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 which was previously available only on PC, not Car Mechanic Simulator 2018, which is just called Car Mechanic Simulator on console.

Screenshot: Car Mechanic Simulator Classic

As previously mentioned, I’m happy to say that Car Mechanic Simulator Classic achieves a really good balance between a realistic depiction of car repair while also keeping it fun. When you’re under the hood, parts you’ve removed are automatically stored in your inventory, and when reinstalling a part, any bolts or screws are automatically put in place, with the player only needing to screw them back in. This means the game doesn’t venture into masochistic levels of realism, meaning that difficult repairs are still fun. While there are a couple minor issues, like the camera being somewhat finicky while in repair mode and screws and bolts occasionally not highlighting when you aim at them, these don’t detract from the experience.

Some may take issue with the fact that there isn’t a tutorial which shows you where every part is situated, but I actually prefer that. You can’t lose this game, per se, so you don’t lose anything by just taking some time to explore through a car’s guts, learning where everything is. It’s a lot more satisfying to find where everything on your own than it is to have a pop up that says “here’s where the timing belt is. Here’s where the spark plugs go”, etc.

Screenshot: Car Mechanic Simulator Classic

The real meat and potatoes of Car Mechanic Simulator Classic are the randomly generated jobs. These start out easy and mundane: replacing the spark plugs on a small sedan or changing a car’s oil. The jobs you can accept are limited by what level you’re currently at, and completed jobs will reward you with money and XP. Higher level jobs involve more difficult repairs on nicer cars, and pay out more XP and money. Continuing the trend of fun realism, Car Mechanic Simulator Classic tells you when you completed a repair correctly, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally sending a car back to its owner with the brakes not replaced correctly or the engine hanging on by a screw. Jobs are randomly generated and endless, so you’ll always have something new to work on.

Besides the jobs, there’s also the auction house, where you can bid on cars in varying states of disrepair. When you win a bid. you have a couple of options for dealing with your new car: you can strip it for parts, repair it, and then sell it for a tidy profit, or add it to your own collection if you’re rolling in dough.

Screenshot: Car Mechanic Simulator Classic

The only issue I can point to with Car Mechanic Simulator was that it’s not the prettiest, graphically speaking. It’s a port of a game from 2014, and I don’t believe there are graphical improvements over the original PC version.

If you love cars, taking things apart and putting them together, or want a game that isn’t going to stress you and just lets you mess around and space out, then this might be for you. It’s calming to just be able to sit back and take a car apart, and there’s a real sense of satisfaction as you learn how every car works, getting better and more efficient at fixing them. Games like Car Mechanic Simulator are niche, for sure,  but Car Mechanic Simulator Classic is a great place to start if you’re new to the series or are just looking for a nice, calm game.



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