So, being a huge fan of the television show of the same name, The History Chanelâ€™s Ice Road Truckers, developed by Slitherine, was one PSP Mini that I was interested in trying out.
But unfortunately I expected something a little more than what I wasÂ actually given. Granted, this is a PSP Mini title, so to expect a full on simulator would be a bit too much. But what we are given is little more than a truck racing game, where the player has to drive, within a time limit, from point A to point B. The actual gameplay makes me think of a lesser version of MotorStorm on snow and ice, with four simple controls – left, right, accelerate and brake. The roads making up the stages are all pretty straight forward to drive upon, with the occasional hazard making you slow down to avoid, such as other trucks lying at the side of the road, snowdrifts or other vehicles every so often, which you must overtake.
The game does very little to convey the dangers that the men and women in this profession face and instead, the game has the player doing things that you would never see on the show that it is inspired by, such as racing their chosen rig along icy roads at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour, jumping the trucks over crests and drifting around turns.
Again I understand that this game is from the Minis range on the PSP and so to expect anything overly complex would not have been realistically viable. But I would have liked to have seen something a little more involving than accelerate, brake and turn. For instance, at certain points throughout the game you come across thin ice sections of road which, while driving on them, enforces a maximum and minimum speed limit. These small sections are few and far between and, in my opinion, if the developers had made more of the game play out in this style, while maintaining the point to point time trial, it would have been much more realistic in respect to the show, forcing the player to take care on the various surfaces and such.
The visual side is give and take, with the scenery being the best part of the game. But even then, the game can be a little messy at points. The textures of the ice roads are actually pretty good, along with most of the snow. But there are a few points at which the graphics get so messy that you do not even know where you should be driving. The vehicles themselves are pretty simple, but there is no problem whatsoever in telling that they are supposed to be trucks. Sound is kept to the bare minimum, with really only the engine and the occasional squealing tyre, which made me question if a tyre makes that sound on ice or mud. If you listen carefully, you will hear the sound that every ice road trucker dreads, the creaking and cracking of the ice below your truck. This would have been cooler and more atmospheric if you were not hammering along at 60mph.
With fifteen tracks and five trucks to choose from, you would think that the game would offer a little challenge. But, sadly, you can more or less complete each route in first place on your first run through each stage. So, to sum it up, despite me being a fan of the show and wanting to enjoy this, I found myself instead playing a mediocre truck racing game that did not present any great challenge or enjoyment. Again I point out that, as part of the PSP Minis range, I was not expecting a highly detailed game, but I was looking for something that gave a little more to convey the feeling and nature of the show itself. I would love it if the developers gave it another go and sat down and watched the show before producing a game that tried to capture the essence of the show, rather than making it a run of the mill racing game.
Slitherineâ€™s Ice Road Truckers is available for download from the PSN store for the price of Â£2.49.