Survival games, open world games, crafting games -we’ve seen a lot of spinoffs since Early Access became a mainstream thing. An offshoot of the same Early Access games became primarily focused on crafting as opposed to the survival nature of the other games. Scrap Mechanic became one of the games that redefined crafting, because it became a game where you crafted vehicles from scrap. This led to games like Terratech, and eventually ones like Trailmakers, which found a balance between crafting and exploration to make the genre actually interesting to explore, yet somehow boring to play.
Made and published by Flashbulb, Trailmakers is a crafting sandbox available in Early Access for the PC and in Xbox Game Preview, and is available for purchase since 31 January 2018.
Gameplay in the current version of the game consists of two game modes – singleplayer and multiplayer. Singleplayer has two game modes – Expedition and Sandbox. The multiplayer mode allows you to connect to servers, or host your own,with several customization settings. Either make a huge vehicle battle royale arena, with lots of cannon attachments, or a race of discovery to whoever gets the most parts to assemble the best vehicle, or just a plain race to the end, where the one who takes the most creative path to victory – wins. In singleplayer, expedition is basically a gamemode where you learn the mechanics of the game by assembling vehicles, collecting parts,putting them together, and searching for better parts till you get them.
The game literally plays like a Mega-Bloks or Lego build-up simulator. You collect parts, assemble them together to make a car, and then journey onwards to find more (atleast in Expedition mode). Pull off some stunts on the world on the ramps, collect decals to get those flags and add some boasting rights, and simply roam around in the world, either in the vehicle, or on foot (which is quite a futile exercise anyways). Rinse, and repeat, till you collect all the parts on the map to proceed to the next. While the vehicle customization and tips that teach you the game are interesting at first, the game gets quickly boring as it offers little variation. Sandbox is better than Expedition, since it offers the freedom to experiment with different builds at first, but since you won’t be having the know-how of how those exotic parts work, you will find yourself in charge of a vehicle accelerating in the reverse direction – like it happened with me. In other words, the Expedition mode feels like a very long and boring Tutorial for the game.
Vehicle assembling is the real deal in the game,since it is what the game is about. You get to experiment with tons of different parts to assemble either a monster truck,or a tank,or even Thomas the Dank,err……,Tank Engine. Construct the rim with blocks, add seats, an engine with a power core, and other stuff like a cannon to fire cannonballs for self-defense, or a shield to protect your car, or suspensions to improve steering – the possibilities are limitless. However, there are certain restrictions,like the weight of components on the car, the power of the engine,the suspension used – and so on. Heavier the weight or more unevenly distributed the weight, less is the speed. You can be creative, while considering the constraints on your creation. Actually riding your creation to glory feels even more rewarding, when you race with your friends online.
The game has a planned Challenge Editor, which seeks to make custom scenarios for players to fulfill with a limited number of components at hand. That is an exciting feature,but unfortunately wasn’t patched in when I played it. Another is the Adventure Log, which keeps a track of your progress in the game, which also signify further game mode additions in the future. There might also be leaderboards for creation of the week and stuff!
The events added by the developers Flashbulb for ensuring continued interest of the players is quite good. Sandbox got fire rings to race through and chickens to kill as part of the last patch, which is quite good. Multiplayer modes are also added periodically. Official challenges are also uploaded on their site as well as social media handles,which enables you to win trophies (and make your way up the future leaderboards,maybe?)
Graphics and Optimization
The game looks pretty cool, but nothing too exciting worth gaping at. The graphics are pretty bland,to be honest. The worst part is the lack of precise graphics customization options in the menu,which only has predefined presets added for you to switch between depending on your PC’s capabilities.
The game has some optimization problems,which is seen by the continuous framerate drops experiences while playing the game, here and there. The game definitely isn’t worth playing on the PCs on the lower end of the spectrum, since it means that you will basically be playing the game at the lowest settings and still have framerate drops, making your gameplay experience worse.
If you have friends to enjoy multiplayer with, racing or fighting with your twisted abortions called “racing cars”, then it’s okay to buy the game during a sale, but otherwise it’s a pretty boring game that is sure to gather dust in the Steam library once purchased, since the singleplayer experience isn’t as good as the multiplayer one. The repetitiveness also tends to force a lot of people (including me) off the game.