The latest in the ‘simulator’ genre of games, Food Truck Simulator sets out to have you become John Favreau of your own destiny. Sadly, ‘Chef’ this is not unless Chef was a fairly drawn-out slog riddled with bugs instead of molten chocolate lava cake.
As the son of a food truck legend, with your Dad passed you take over his food truck and set off to become a legend in your own right. The story, in a similar fashion to a lot of the narrative elements in these ‘job’ games has a much stronger link through the start, where you build up your empire, get into a fight with a rival food trucker, and have to start back from scratch as your building is set on fire.
The slightly odd voice acting is all really window dressing for the meat and vegetable tacos of the game, which is driving around and setting up shop, receiving orders and making the food. Mechanically it’s sound, but in practice, it’s not great. Driving your truck from A to B to pick up food, then to C to sell it is like a poor man’s GTA, with some pedestrians who you’ll send flying and others who will cause your van to hit a solid stop.
Decisions are to be made along the way, with amounts of food of different types to be purchased, and manually stored in the correct locations. It can be annoying if you make a mistake and put your meat in a drawer instead of a fridge, but then this is a simulator after all. And this is no more true than when you move on to prepare the food.
All of the elements are structurally sound. Take each element out of its location in a first-person mode, add bits to the grill, cut the bread, cut the veg, and then build it. But there’s some logic which is just odd – want to put the tomato on the burger which is in the bun? You have to put it on a plate, then move the plate literally right next to where it sits, and then you can put the tomato on the bread. But only if the bread is not on the breadboard, and on the table, rather than in the takeaway box. Each meal you make is quite literally a bit of a chore, only for a happy customer to shuffle off and you get the next order.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the number of little bits to do to assemble each meal, whereas in similar games where you’re cooking bits it’s either a lot more simplified with the make-up of each dish (Overcooked) or the mechanics (Cooking Fever). Food Truck Simulator addresses this in part by seriously limiting the number of dishes you can make – burgers, pizza, sushi and French fries. That’s it!!
There are actually more bits of equipment than there is the food you can make. And you’ll spend more time cutting food than anything else – a precise mouse moment is required to line up the cuts, but they always are cut in the exact same slices anyway. Luckily there is a drawer for sliced food, so I spent a while slicing up lots of stuff and drove off to my next location giggling at my prep. When I arrived, all the sliced food in my drawers was gone.
This brings me to the bugs. There are a lot. Driving (as mentioned previously) is hilariously bad. Prepped ingredients go missing. And the main one is the deleting save situation, where you have to continually start over, and over again. The devs are aware, and this should be addressed but after my fourth time playing through, I think I’m done.
Food Truck Simulator has taught me that running a food truck is not for me. I think I’ll stick to watching Favreau in Chef.
Reviewed on PC
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