As its title implies, Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder is not an exercise in high art -- this game is so decidedly low brow it's almost a moustache.
Not that there's anything wrong with being low brow -- we're as big a fan as any of a well placed fart joke or kick to the groin. But Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder's fairly uninspired gameplay leaves your enjoyment of the game to rely too much on its cast of crazy characters and situations, which sadly just aren't up to muster.
Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder takes many of the same gameplay elements of the original, and sees you driving a large truck around from town to town delivering goods for profit. The plot of this sequel involves family matriarch Ma Jackson, who at the start of the game gets jailed for tax evasion. This leaves the rest of the Jackson clan -- typical videogame hot pants-wearing heroine Bobbie-Sue, dimwitted Cletus, redneck Earl and smooth talking ladies man Rawcus -- the responsibility of raising enough money to bribe jurors on Ma's trial to ensure an acquittal.
After choosing your character at the start -- there doesn't seem to be any advantages/disadvantages with choosing different characters -- you're let loose on Hick State County to drive around. Each city has a trading post where you can buy goods, with each type of good able to be sold in other cities at varying levels of profit and loss. All a player needs to do is load up their truck (with goods with decent profit margins, of course), drive to the appropriate city, sell their goods, buy new ones, and so repeat.
When on the road, control over the trucks is fairly simple thanks to an arcade-like set-up and gameplay. Realism's not the order of the day here -- your truck will be running into other vehicles and taking down street signs virtually the entire trip. While the trucks can take plenty of damage, most of your blunt work can be performed using your trailer, which can be swung left and right as you hurtle down highway. Along the way, you'll have to avoid the police, UFOs, bikers who'll try to steal your load, and more.
While the idea of driving a rampaging truck around a large open environment sounds appealing in a Dukes of Hazzard-type of way, the gameplay in Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder falls decidedly short due to a lack of variety and some strange game mechanics.
Driving around quickly becomes dull in Big Mutha Truckers 2. With each town's trading post clearly showing each good's profit levels in every other town, there's not much thinking required at all, despite the dozens of goods available for transport. It simply becomes a matter of delivering goods over and over again until you make enough money to bribe a certain juror. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And while there are secret hidden roads to be found around Hick State, the game never really gives you a chance to explore thanks to the omission of a free-drive mode. Every time you get into your truck, you're given a tight time limit to make your next destination, making exploration practically impossible (unless you choose to ignore the timer and lose all your bonuses).
To its credit, the game attempts to break the monotony with the inclusion of mini-games which can be found in each city's casino. Players can use these games to gamble and hopefully make some quick money. Bonus missions will also occasionally pop-up -- these bonuses get you out of your truck and into other vehicles, usually as part of checkpoint-style races. These missions could involve picking up aliens before the local press discovers them, or driving a movie star around various photo opportunities.
Like the rest of the gameplay, however, these bonus missions and mini-games aren't really that compelling. And even the game's trailer park humour falls decidedly short. While there's plenty of dialogue to be found, most of what the characters have to say is just plainly uninteresting or worse -- not funny.
The look of Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder is no standout, but it does feature some vibrant graphics and nicely detailed character models. There's also been a bit of effort made with sound -- players can choose from different radio stations while driving GTA-style, with genres ranging from rock and roll to country and more.
On the plus side, Big Mutha Truckers: Truck Me Harder is a budget title, meaning you can probably justify the poor gameplay away and focus solely on price. Just remember to lower your expectations as well as your brow.
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