Truck Racing Championship
Developed By : N-Racing
Published By : BigBen Interactive
Category : Racing
Release Date : Aug 20, 2019
It’s very easy to break down racing games into two big categories. Cart racers, and simulation ones. From there you could be more exact and break them down even further, but it’s not all that necessary. Between the two, I always find myself favoring the simulation style (don’t worry, I still enjoy plenty of the cart styled one as well). And I thought I’d seen it all for the different simulation racers. Street cars, NASCAR, bikes…so imagine my surprise when I discovered the existence of a game built around racing un-trailered semi trucks. Such was the case for Truck Racing Championship on the Nintendo Switch.
Focusing on the real life European Truck Racing Championship, the game features just over a dozen tracks, almost two dozen of the actual teams, and twice as many trucks and official liveries. All of these things can be used in a handful of modes, including quick races, a single championship, an entire career, split-screen multiplayer or time trials.
The big draw in for the game is it’s career mode, much like any simulation sports game. Here, you’ll enter the ETRC scene as a new up and coming driver. You’ll have zero funds, zero experience, and at first you’ll need to rely on other drivers needing you to fill in for them in a single race. Provided you do well in these guest appearances, you’ll earn more of them, as well as your own bankroll and eventually build up to buying and running your own team.
Your events will operate off a calendar, bringing you from race weekend to race weekend, sometimes only allowing you to practice on a track, while others will you bring you to the full race weekend including practice, qualifying, and the race itself. Even with the races set to 100% distance, they don’t go on for very long, so a full race weekend won’t sink too much time from you.
What shocked me the most about this was that driving these big trucks didn’t feel entirely different from any of the cars in other simulation games that I’ve played. Granted the trucks take longer to get up to speed, longer to slow down, and feel like a snail in molasses going through some of the tighter corners, but it’s all relatively the same when you compare the size of the vehicle. The one thing, though, that was entirely new and is still something I forget about, is that your brakes need to be manually cooled down. If you forget to do this, they will overheat which makes them more prone to breaking, so keep an eye on those temperature gauges.
Before you can get into the career though, you’ll need your license. There are 15 different tests, intended to teach you the basics like handling the truck at high speeds, controlling the braking, cornering, and even learning to cool the brakes. There’s two careers you can participate in, the ETRC, and a World Series, but both are off the table until you pass all these tests and get your license.
Outside of the career, Truck Racing Championship feels just like any other racing sim game. In fact, even the career doesn’t offer anything out of the norm. The only thing unique to this entire game that I had personally never experienced before was the need to cool the brakes.
One thing to make note of is the default rule set of the game, by way of things that are considered being aggressive or attempts to cheat. There are various small pillars set up around the track, just off the track itself, and if you hit one of these you’ll incur a warning that, if enough stack up you’ll be forced to take a penalty drive through the pit lane. Another of these warnings occurs if you strike another driver too hard. Yes it’s racing, and rubbing is going to happen, but the game has a line that should not be crossed.
These rules can be tweaked on and off if you wish to do so, and it just might be something you want to do. For a specific example, while approaching a corner, I misjudged it and had to slow down a bit more than I’d anticipated. This caused the truck behind me to plow in, sending me sliding sideways off the track into one of those warning pillars. I ended up being warned and penalized for both of these instances.
I do have to say, despite some of it’s short comings, this game surprised me in the fact that it was still fun to play. If the penalties were completely cemented in and unable to be changed, my feelings would be completely different. Racing big semi trucks is something I never thought I could do period, let alone actually enjoy doing. But, Truck Racing Championship changed my mind about that. It’s different, and it will definitely surprise you with how much you’ll enjoy it. You wouldn’t think a big truck like this could spin out in the same sense of a race car, but you would be horribly wrong. A game like this might be “easy” to judge by looking at it, but it’s very much one that deserves an actual chance, so don’t write it off too quickly.