Do you ever question why your package has a small dent at your doorstep? Or maybe you wonder why it was delivered past the expected time slot. Well, We’re Five Games may not have provided an authentic representation of what goes on in the logistics department, but they sure put together an interesting and unique experience nonetheless. Customize your character and embark on a silly series of deliveries that can and will go wrong. Totally Reliable Delivery Service (TRDS) uses frustratingly and purposefully bad controls to test your patience. Get ready to laugh out loud or rip your hair out, depending on how you handle rage games.
Your Delivery Is On Its Way
When you boot this one up, you’ll host a game, or join an online server. Once thrown into the world, you can explore and take up delivery tasks to earn rewards based on your performance. Some are time based, and others are condition based. And by “condition”, your parcel can only take a certain amount of dings and drops before diminishing in quality, thus yielding a smaller reward. Use the reward money to unlock more areas of the map, vehicles to operate, and player customization options. Don’t expect a gold medal or a high reward each time though, even at the beginning. The controls are designed for you to make many mistakes.
This another potentially polarizing title, so let’s start with the good:
What’s Totally Reliable
The world is quite fun to explore. I spent roughly half of my playtime simply driving around and seeing what is around the corner. There are many different towns, and geographical regions which adds a ton of variety to the missions. You could be driving a forklift through downtown carrying toxic waste. Or steering a helicopter over the mountains with one hand while the other holds onto the package that fell out. The inner kid in me got lost in the atmosphere when deliveries were clearly waiting for me. Your curiosity can be rewarded with hidden collectibles to find. I applaud the developers for creating an environment that is simply fun to hang out in. This leads to nostalgia and a return to the game after time away.
What’s also done well is how the optimistic music and bright colorful environment juxtaposes the hectic and stressful gameplay. It’s a blow to your ego when your package explodes feet away from the drop off box, yet the world feels so pleasant. It’s like Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy, where the calm narration does nothing to coax you after falling down a huge hill where you spent twenty minutes trying to climb. Overall, the graphics, sound, and atmosphere check out in my book. Now it’s time to shift the focus to…
What’s Not So Reliable
A title with intentionally corrupt controls needs extra attention when playtesting. I discovered some bugs while playing that made an already cumbersome experience all the more frustrating. Many times my character got stuck in the delivery box upon completing tasks. Also, it’s difficult trying to grab objects and steering wheels. There is a lack of polish in TRDS‘s collision detection. Also, when using a controller instead of keyboard and mouse, I found many of my inputs were not responding. While it’s ok for a game like this to have more control over the player than vise versa, bugs and glitches will kill the player’s motivation to progress. It was hard enough to load a cylindrical container onto a pick-up without it rolling off. Why would I even bother trying the helicopter missions without the help of a second player?
And a second player may be a fix here. Even if it doesn’t help curb the difficulty it will at least give the player someone to suffer with. Unless you are playing in front of a YouTube or Twitch audience, or even a roommate for that matter, I’m not sure that single player will be a very enjoyable experience. A few weeks ago I took a look at Aqua Lungers and had the same conclusion, but I may recommend that solo over TRDS since there are no in game issues to dictate the player’s success.
Lastly, though not as important, is the game’s sense of humor and overall marketing. It’s a very small complaint, but I don’t understand the fart and dirty underwear jokes. Is TRDS reaching out to a young audience? The controls are so difficult that I can’t imagine a kid enjoying this unless accompanied by their parent or older sibling. Maybe this title was meant for some family-friendly fun after watching Shrek with the kids. With local split screen and online cross play, there are many ways to play this game, which is a huge benefit these days. But still, I found the small bits of toilet humor out of place and not all that necessary.
Rage games are clearly not my forte. I maintained objectivity to the fullest with Totally Reliable Delivery Service and am honestly not sure whether or not to recommend. The multiplayer options lend themselves nicely and allow for accessibility, but I didn’t find many players online to fully take advantage of this. I also wouldn’t play this locally on the couch when I have much better hair-pulling titles such as Overcooked. While the atmosphere is great on it’s own, I’m not sure how long the player will remained captivated if they can’t complete enough deliveries to unlock the rest of the world. If you seek a disorienting solo experience, try Octodad instead.