- Are monster trucks ever not cool?

Monster Truck Championship: First impressions

Big wheels, big jumps, big noise, but is Monster Truck Championship big fun? Ben Griffin has been playing a preview version to see.

While it's easy to appreciate the precision skill of rally and other forms of motorsport, sometimes all we want is noise, stupidity and gigantic wheels. Things you get with monster truck racing, which is what Monster Truck Championship is all about.

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As the unofficial game, this is not the game for you if you want to drive something specific in real life. But Monster Truck Championship makes up for this with a physics system that cares enough about realism.

I say 'enough' because nobody wants too realistic. It's fun to be launched off a ramp 100ft in the air, backflip a few times and then land without disintegrating into a mess of flesh and metal. Linking stunts together with a manual, Tony Hawk style, is also hilarious.

Yet these high-powered beasts feel hefty and prone to tipping owing to a high centre of gravity and all the suspension travel. Keeping them in check while racing other opponents takes practice and getting it right is satisfying.

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The realism extends to the ability to fit parts to your monster truck, which can be anything from a plain-old 4x4 shell to an old fighter plane or, my personal favourite, a toaster with toast ready to pop.

There's even tuning and customisation, ranging from different aesthetic parts to selecting a paintjob from one of many colours and finishes including matt and pearlescent. For a seemingly shallow premise, Monster Truck Championship has depth.

Playing on PC with all the settings at maximum (thanks, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti soon to be replaced by the RTX 3080), the graphics are good but not startling. It is, however, a smooth experience and detail has been added where it counts such as the cockpit-based first-person view.

My biggest issue with Teyon's game is that the steering can snake a bit, which would be fine if you could reduce the sensitivity when using a controller. It's a small change that would make a big difference and apparently the Polish developer is aware of it. Steering wheels work better.

With a number of game modes to sink your tyres into, including a career and online multiplayer, Monster Truck Championship could be a surprise hit when its 15th of October 2020 release date comes around. Note, the Nintendo Switch version arrives on the 19th of November.

Watch my first impressions video above and consider subscribing to the Tribe for more motoring and racing game content.

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