Scania Truck Driving Simulator
developed by SCS Software
Finding family friendly games these days isn’t always difficult, but finding games that will keep both you and your kids interested for more than a few days can be tricky. Games that are non-violent are still easy enough to find. However, game development has evolved and advanced so much in recent years that sometimes it’s hard to hold the attention of young gamers with a simple platformer or even a decent adventure game these days. As for first person shooters, well obviously they’re out of the question, since 99% of them are made for adults – even though parents are still stubborn enough to allow their kids to play them.
This is where simulation games, in this case a driving simulator, can come in handy. Most of them offer the hands on approach that kids just love, but some are just too hard for young gamers or casual newcomers to wrap their heads around. That’s not a problem where Scania Truck Driving Simulator is concerned though. It’s probably one of the best driving simulators I’ve played, if not the best. In a matter of no time at all, I was driving a big rig around detailed locales, attaching and unloaded trailers to the back of my big rig with relative ease. What’s most impressive is that my two young kids were able to pick up on the controls and gameplay with that same ease.
A truck driving simulator might not sound like the most exciting of games out there, but Scania is very much a game. This isn’t just another delivery simulation. The crux of Scania Truck Driving Simulator is maneuvering your big rig through a number of dangerous situations and hazardous courses filled with real-life obstacles. You’ll be put into critical situations where flooding or the aftermath of an earthquake, play a part in compromising what would normally be a direct and hazard free delivery route. Weather patterns change and the time of day elapses from the light of morning to the dark of night. This means that players will face a number of adverse driving conditions which are as fun to play through as they are challenging to navigate.
There are a number of gameplay modes in Scania. For starters there’s a Driving License mode where players learn the basics of maneuvering through tight situations. There’s a virtual recreation of truck driving competitions, just like the ones held in Europe. Another mode called Dangerous Drives puts drivers into realistic scenarios that require skill and extreme caution, in order to complete a variety of objective based truck driving events. These are particularly intense and fun since they provide a unique challenge not seen in many driving games. Included in the events is a Freeform Driving mode that allows players to explore a virtual city filled with traffic, weather conditions, and a number of optional jobs to take on, such as delivering lumber or food supplies. Freeform allows for exploration without the pressure of the other events though. So if you want to just drive around a city in your big rig then you’re free to do so. Along the way there are a number of hidden tokens to be collected for fun and for scoring points.
Speaking of points, there are online leaderboards for every event so players are welcome to compare their stats with other players around the world, or they can simply try to improve their times and not worry about competing if that’s what they prefer. There is quite a bit of replay value in Scania considering you can improve your driving skill and your course times, but you can also go exploring for hidden tokens, take up the odd delivery job, and simply enjoy the view if that’s what appeals to you. So although there are the objective based modes, there is also a lot of freedom to explore within these modes. Like any game though, the more you play and practice, the better you get. With that said, if you can appreciate Scania’s different elements, you’ll probably want to become good at the game so that you can make it up on to the leaderboards.
The are many controls to use, particularly if you’re a keyboard user. Thankfully, the controls are intuitive. You can enjoy the driving with a gamepad as well. I highly recommend the wired Xbox 360 controller because the controls worked and feel great with it. Just because one player likes a control scheme or setup doesn’t mean that another person will enjoy them. The developers at SCS Software have made sure that almost every single aspect of the controls is configurable to the liking of each player. Getting started and getting all of this set up and working is a breeze and liked the amount of variations and options that are made available to the player when configuring the control scheme. There is a bit of a learning curve to controlling your truck with some precision. It doesn’t take very long to pick up and start playing though. I mean if my sons and I can all enjoy it, at pretty much the same skill level, then the average gamer shouldn’t have a hard time figuring the basics out.
As for graphics, everything about Scania Truck Driving Simulator looks very good. There are modern racing games made by Triple-A companies with extremely large budgets that obviously look better, but graphically, Scania has a strong sense of detail. The environments look very nice. The traffic in some areas is sparse but that’s to be expected considering the number of different environments. Rain and fog look great, especially as your wipers are swiping the pouring rain off of your windshield. The passing of time and alternating daylight and darkness add another layer of atmosphere to the simulation. Driving at night poses all of the problems that real-life driving does, so make sure to use those high-beams when necessary.
The sounds compliment everything else about Scania’s gameplay. The music is nothing special and you’ll usually only hear it while in the menus. The sounds of your truck, traffic, rain, thunder, the squeal of your tires as you hit the breaks, it all sounds authentic. This of course makes it easier to immerse yourself into the game and experience what it might be like to drive a tractor trailer truck through hazardous environments and areas.
Scania Truck Driving Simulator isn’t the first driving simulator I’ve played, but as mentioned near the beginning of this review, I’d say it’s probably one of the best. This isn’t about car or truck racing, though there are timed events and scoreboards that are based on how well and how fast you complete the objectives. This is more for people who are into realism in their driving simulators, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from giving it a try. This is a title that can be enjoyed and even appreciated by a family since it involves trucks, something that many young kids like, and considering it’s a simulator, it’s also very easy to get into. I’m sure that if you enjoy driving simulators like this or have always wanted to try a simulator like this, that you’ll end up enjoy Scania Truck Driving Simulator once you give it a try.
You can buy the Scania Truck Driving Simulator at this website. There’s also a very good (and free) trial demo of the full game that offers a very large chunk of gameplay for anyone who might be curious.