The simulation genre has developed a bit of a bad rep due to there being a sizeable amount of “simulation-imitation” games that don’t have any business calling themselves a simulator due to being extremely simple and/or downright bad. Car Mechanic Simulator on Switch is definitely one of these types of games. Actually, I’m not even sure if I want to consider this a “game.”
Due to my love of sims, the YouTube algorithm has picked up on my watch history and occasionally recommends new videos to me. Car Mechanic Simulator had popped up a few times, but I never paid it much mind. But when a request to review the game came into my inbox, I finally caved and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Well, I think this title has actually managed to achieve something I’ve encountered on very few occasions: It’s one of the few titles that I consider to be a “nothing game.” As in, there’s literally nothing of value here.
No hope for this rust bucket
As the name suggests, your goal is to take on the role of mechanic and fix busted up cars. You buy old cars that have been locked up in barns, throw on a new coat of paint, swap out the rusted parts, and then put the car back on the market to sell. Wash, rinse, and repeat—that’s literally all there is to this “game.”
There’s not much in the way of actual gameplay here due to the fact that so much of it is automated. Taking the rust off the cars is done with a few twirls of the analog stick and a simple button press. The more “complex” part of the repair process is dealing with rebuilding the internal parts, but even that’s a snoozefest of rapid button presses. All you do is buy the needed parts off of a list (which is annoyingly not alphabetized), and then you proceed to spend the next few minutes holding the A button to unmount the old parts and slot in the new one. Progression is next to nothing, as the only real change is that cars gradually become more complex, so the number of parts you have to buy and swap increases. It’s not more difficult, just more monotonous. All the while, there’s a single looping music track that plays. It’s the perfect representation for the mindlessness that this “game” has to offer.
After I completed 30 repairs in just about three hours of playing (which is the amount you need to unlock all the toolboxes, though it doesn’t make any notable difference), all I could think to myself is: “Why on Earth is this so popular?” YouTube videos of this “game” have hundreds of thousands of views, after all. So, this got me to finally check said videos out, and it resulted in quite the revelation.
One man’s trash is still trash
Car Mechanic Simulator on Switch is actually a port of the ridiculously simplified mobile edition of the game rather than the full-fledged console/PC versions. As vapid as the mobile edition is, at least it’s free-to-play. This Switch port, however, will run you $15. There are so many other games on the eShop that cost the same and/or a bit less. I implore you to take your money anywhere else, rather than paying for what is literally nothing more than a mindless button masher. You’ll have just as much fun watching a gameplay video—simply because there’s no fun to be had at all.
I don’t know why the developers thought this was a good idea, but all I can think is that this was just a really sad attempt at making a quick buck off of unsuspecting buyers. So, allow this review to be a warning: Avoid Car Mechanic Simulator on Switch. Just download it for free on your phone if you want it that badly. But trust me, even then, your time can be spent on much better things.
A review code was provided by the publisher.