Totally Reliable Delivery Service
Developed By: We’re Five Games
Published By: tinyBuild Games
Category: Multiplayer, Simulation, Action
Release Date: 04.01.20
Have you ever wondered why UPS or the Post Office seems to muck up your package every single time? Totally Reliable Delivery Service for the Nintendo Switch offers a theory; maybe every single worker there functions according to the same physics as an inflatable arm-flailing tube man. It’s… a thought, anyway. From We’re Five and tinyBuild, TRDS sees players taking the role of a deliveryman tasked with ferrying packages around town in a variety of vehicles and other, less conventional means of conveyance. It’s meant to be primarily a multiplayer experience, but you can try to solo it if you want by setting up a local game and not having other players join. I’d recommend sticking with multi, though.
Physics-Based Gameplay Does Not Always Mean Logic-Based Gameplay
The one thing about this game that you need to understand from the get-go is that it is supposed to feel unwieldy and seemingly random; the whacky, erratic movements of your character are part of the game’s zany charm. The physics of the game are fighting you at every turn; every time you change direction your momentum doesn’t change course one bit. Every time you lift an object, the force of it will throw you back every time. Go ahead; try and drive a vehicle without flipping it over at least once. It can’t be done – unless maybe you’re some kind of wizard? I guess wizards could do it, but there aren’t any wizard characters in the game, although you can get a long, grey beard, which is pretty close.
Confounding pretty much every action you can take is the game’s unconventional control scheme. Moving around and controlling the camera is pretty standard; you just use the thumb sticks. Moving your arms, though, is a bit more complex. Each trigger controls an arm; holding it will cause your avatar to grab whatever is nearest with the corresponding arm. Hitting the bumper while you’re grabbing something will lift that item up; sometimes over your head, but almost always behind your head somehow, once the momentum of lifting it is taken into account.
Rubbery-Boned Weirdos Make For Poor Manual Laborers
So between the offbeat control scheme and super-exaggerated physics, you get a game that never works the way you expect it to, but almost always ends in an entertaining mess. I played the game online, mostly, because I can’t have friends over to try it out with (thanks, COVID!). Still, even with a bunch of randos I couldn’t talk to, I had a blast trying to figure out how to jankily move packages from one point to another. From a teammate and I holding onto each other (and the package) for dear life as our cart careened down the street towards our destination, to figuring out how to load and fly a helicopter across a river, I had an absolute blast figuring stuff out.
Part of me wonders if I wouldn’t have had more fun being able to talk to my friends. On the other hand, I think not being able to verbally communicate added a lot to the chaotic nature of the gameplay. Moving to a spot where I thought we should move and trying to communicate directions using only the game’s awkward flailing movements made finally getting everyone together to solve a problem that much more satisfying. At one point we were loading a cage onto a luggage ramp and firing it at a billboard (the game wanted us to do it, honest!), and I was laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of the situation as loud as I would have with my real-life friends, which I have. I do. Shut up, Mike.
Things are expected to go wrong. Don’t let it discourage you, like it almost did me. The first time I booted up the game, I dropped the very first package into its mailbox and my arm got stuck. I tried pulling, jumping, and twisting to get away for a good ninety seconds, but that sucker was friggin’ stuck. This was within one minute of starting the game, mind you, and I thought it was already breaking. Not a good look, for sure. But when I went into the menu, I saw that there was a quit option as well as a reset option that just transported me back to the starting point. It actually made me smile that the devs had to have thought to themselves “our physics are so broken we don’t know what the heck can go wrong. Better put in a reset button to cover our asses.” That was the moment I really “got” the spirit of the game.
If I Have One Complaint, It’s Not Enough Mustaches
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is an indie game, with indie graphics. It doesn’t look as good as the triple-A releases from bigger devs, but it does manage to build a simple and extremely charming aesthetic that allows its visuals to pass muster. The town you roam is colorful and cheery, although a little sparse in places. The bright palette still makes for a pleasant setting. The adorable, pudgy character avatars are highly customizable. There are quite a few customization options available from the get-go, and more become available as you deliver packages.
Honestly I didn’t even remember what the music sounded like until I booted the game up again to check; it’s cheery and fun, but doesn’t leave much of an impression. The focus is on the gameplay and having fun with other players over the art direction anyway, though, so it’s tough to knock a game when the devs knew what they wanted to emphasize most – and how to do so properly.
“Totally Reliable” is an Ironic Moniker, In Case That Hasn’t Been Made Clear
I got off to a rocky start with Totally Reliable Delivery Service; getting stuck within a minute of starting was not encouraging. I could not be happier that I stuck things out a little longer, though; finding different pick-up points and trying to wordlessly figure out how to move packages around town with an assortment of internet randos was a rewarding and entertaining experience. It should be even better with friends. Almost as fun was cycling through the game’s assortment of mustaches in the character customization screen. There’s some good ones in there. I mean, there are clothing, hair, and accessory slots, too, but the mustaches were the real draw. For anyone who wants an outstandingly unique multiplayer experience or a sublime mustache selection, I can’t recommend TRDS highly enough.
Buy Totally Reliable Delivery Service
Digital – $14.99
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*A game code was provided for review purposes.