I have no real depth of knowledge when it comes to monster trucks. Near as I can tell, after seeing them on the TV, it seems to be a matter of mashing the gas and aiming. Thanks to this nifty little Xbox game that landed on my doorstep called Monster Truck Championship, I now have a much better idea.
It works like this. You mash on the gas . . .
. . . and then, seemingly very far away from you, two toilets flush simultaneously, dumping about eight gallons of high-test into a supercharger the size of a microwave that’s bolted to a block the size of a washing machine.
The resulting eight successive mortar blasts fire pistons as big as a man’s thigh and with near-diesel levels of compression up navel artillery comparable bores, transmitting crushing levels of force through femur sized con-rods to a crankshaft that has to be out of an ocean-going tug.
Then there’s a clutch in there somewhere and a bunch of whirling transmission bits and such. Then onto drivelines – one fore, one aft – before finally what your foot asked for anywhere from 0.000001 seconds to 71 hours earlier is transmitted into the dirt via tires the size of hot tubs.
You ever fire a flintlock? It’s sort of like that. There is a huge and seemingly endless chain of events from when you squeeze the trigger to when you hear and feel the “whoomph!” And, much to the credit of Monster Truck Championship, the game faithfully seem to reproduce that.
Monster Truck Championship Features
Online mode for up to 8 players.
16 customizable vehicles with over 50 options.
25 circuits in different cities across the United States.
5 types of events: Race, Time-Trial, Drag Races, Freestyle, and Destruction!!
Realistic driving and physics, including independent front- and rear-wheel control, and adjustment of different mechanical elements, including the suspension, gearbox, and engine.
In Career mode, you manage your truck, sponsors, and technicians to improve your performances and earnings.
All About The Money!!
The game is relatively tech-heavy – which is great. You get to (actually have to) monkey with your truck. Improve this, tweak that, and so on, or you won’t win. And if not winning is not enough, that also corresponds to you not earning.
See, Monster Truck Championship isn’t just about driving monster trucks, no. The keyword here is Championship. The goal after starting at a beginner level is to work your way up. And, just as in any other form of Motorsports, speed equals money. So, with your monster truck and its delayed set of reactions and big spongy tires and mountainous levels of power and torque, you have to go out and win. Take home the iron, put the scratch back into the truck, and back into the team.
You get to hire team personnel along the way. And, since this is 2020, you have to get and deal with sponsors. It’s been said that Motorsports sponsorship is a shallow fetid bog swimming with vipers and rank with the lowest forms of life, and this may be true, but there’s also a downside. Luckily this game is focused more on driving and having fun with your truck than dealing with sponsors.
Monster Truck Championship Gameplay
This is where Monster Truck Championship has another technical card dealt in its favor. They don’t have to map out miles of sky, like in a flight sim, or miles and miles of track and tress, like in a driving sim. So Monster Truck Championship gets to focus more processing power on what that infernal contraption you’re trying to control is doing.
Monster Truck Championship seems to do that pretty well for the most part. There’s a balance point there somewhere beyond the horizon, however, which is tough to master. In Monster Truck Championship, there is a spot where the impending forward thrust will meet the steering angle – and agree with things like body roll and weight transfer – and when that happens, Monster Truck Championship is going to Hook. You. Up. and you will go downrange like a missile (if missiles had big tires).
And you must have the hand/eye coordination to aim-er-sorry, steer your monster truck (which you get to name and paint and be all goofy with) where you want it to go. It’s not easy. But it is rewarding, even the few times I could make it work.
I could get three, sometimes three-and-a-half corners in a row with my truck before spearing off in a given direction or flopping onto my side or pulling a wheelie that stood the truck on its tailgate. Forever. But to be fair, the developers say you will need to do more than punch the gas if you expect to pull off any cool aerial stunts or reach the game’s ultimate prize in becoming the Professional League Champion at the Monster Truck Finals.
Should You Buy Monster Truck Championship?
First, answer me this: Are you into monster trucks? Do you enjoy things like Monster Jam? If so, then, yes. You’ll have a blast with this game. You have plenty of options when it comes to tinkering with the trucks and modding them and making them faster. But best of all, Monster Truck Championship seems close enough to real life that you’ll enjoy it but not risk anything like killing yourself down at the fairgrounds.
If that all sounds good, Monster Truck Championship is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will be available on Nintendo Switch in North America on November 24th, 2020. Monster Truck Championship is available on Steam and also through Amazon and GameFly.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.