Clustertruck Preview - Mother Trucking Fun

Published: February 23, 2016 9:00 AM /

Previewed By:

Clustertruck Header

Clustertruck is, in essence, a first person platformer set entirely on the world's least reliable platforms. You must make it from the start of the level to the finish line without touching the ground. In fact, the only things you can actually stand on happen to be rather large semis. Semis that happen to have terrible drivers and are bound to the shoddiest laws of physics you can imagine.

Naturally, the situation has a way of getting out of hand rather quickly.

Clustertruck is currently in a very early alpha, basically just consisting of a few levels to give players a sense of how the game is progressing. There is a key rebinding menu, an options menu that is just some text promising options will be added at a later date, and a surprisingly large option showing off a few power-ups that can be unlocked in the full game such as double-jumps or air dashes, but sadly those aren't available at the moment. All you've got are a surprisingly large selection of levels all about running, sprinting, and jumping across automobiles to make it to the finish line.

Clustertruck Launch

The game's momentum is probably its most frustrating aspect, yet it's also the most brilliant. Most of my losses came from overshooting jumps, which lead to me trailing right over the trucks and landing square in the street, an instant lose state. However, when I managed to get a hang of the breakneck speed of the jumps, I found myself being able to chain together some really amazing stunts. A particular highlight was jumping at a truck that had been launched in the air, using the surface of that truck to propel myself even higher in the air, and basically gliding across the entire level. The fact that you can latch onto the sides of the trucks really helps keep that forward momentum going, giving you a second to turn that impending doom into a launch pad that propels you skyward until you're higher than anything else in the game. It's this sort of pure chaos where you find yourself doing less thinking and more acting, trying to make split second decisions to save yourself from the unspeakable fate that is falling off one of the trucks and having to restart the level.

Thankfully, levels have that Super Meat Boy quality to them where you can restart with just the press of a button in the absence of load times, and none of them take longer than a minute to complete in a successful run. On top of this, you have the option to slow time to help plan decisions, but once you've made your jump it's usually far too late to alter your course. While it's true that dying is frustrating, that feeling never makes players hate the game or the controls. Every death is absolutely your own fault once the training wheels come off. The game's graphics are a real pain, as they are pleasingly simple, yet ruined by the terrible amounts of bloom lighting. It got to its worst in a snow level that literally hurt my eyes, and I couldn't tell where the road ended and the horizon began thanks to everything except the trucks blending into a blinding light blue glow.

Despite my hardships, I managed to complete the alpha of Clustertruck in nearly one hour flat, and I saw a surprising amount of variety throughout that time. In the nearly two dozen levels offered, I jumped across trucks while lasers threatened to cut me into chunks, leapt through rotating wheels of instant death, and survived a grinder of moving platforms and swinging pendulums. Every level in the alpha provided a new challenge, which I was more than happy to take on. Clustertruck is a fantastic platformer so far, and I'm curious to see how the title will evolve and improve before its launch this Fall.

Clustertruck Lasers

Clustertruck was previewed using the current alpha up for download on the Clustertruck subreddit.

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