Touch Mechanic is one of those games that I have been pretty curious about for a good while now. I remember reading/hearing about it back in 2008 and I started to look for it. Imagine my disappointment when it was only released in France. I had basically given up on it until Drew saw an advertisement at GameStop a bit ago. Just for the hell of it I decided to pick it up and check it out. I mean, it seems like Trauma Center for Cars…it has to be decent. I tried to look up some reviews for this before I grabbed it, really mainly out of curiosity. Guess what? There were no reviews, and as of this writing, there are still no reviews at the major sites. Theoretically, this could be the first review on the internet for this game. Oh man, think of the e-fame that could come with the first review!
Let’s go over the basics first. There are 75 different “chapters” of the game; however you only actually get to play half of them. The other half is some horrible story involving street racing, murder, incompetent detectives, and some childish love story. The actual parts you play are quite similar to Trauma Center. You have someone explain what you need to do and the basics on how to do it and then you work. You are penalized for screwing up, but only if you do something to actually damage the car. Selecting the wrong tool/nut/part will give you a warning, but it doesn’t actually count against you. Also, any time you screw up and damage the car, you actually have to fix your mistakes before you can go on to the next part.
The parts where you actually work on the cars are really well done. Unfortunately the graphics are fairly bad, but they work enough to convey what you are supposed to do. Even though you have someone explain what you are doing, the game does seem to require at least an arbitrary knowledge of cars. They reference parts by the actual name and also expect you to understand the order to disassemble/assemble the different parts. The touch controls are really well done and nicely mimic the feel of the real tools. The only issue is that the cutting/welding parts of the game are incredibly touchy and if your touchpad isn’t calibrated correctly, you can fail a level pretty easily.
Where the game shines the most is with your own personal car. As you progress through the story, you will unlock new parts for your own car. In the world of Touch Mechanic there are four types of tuning; DUB, Donk, GT and Race. So each time you unlock a part, you will unlock all four types. You can mix and match the different types as you see fit. As you do this, you will have to enter your car into Custom Shows in order to progress the story. If you do not score high enough in these shows, the game will not continue until you modify your own car enough to get the required score. It also lets you swap between all the different parts you have purchased at will, so you can really create the style you want for your car.
All in all, it is a pretty decent game. Although the graphics aren’t that great and the story is downright terrible, the central gameplay is fun and well executed. Since I am a car person, I probably am biased toward liking this game. But as it is, I would recommend it for any car person looking for a fun game to waste time with on the DS.
(All images have been taken from the Publishers website at www.aspyr.com)