Big Mutha Truckers Review


Trucking is one of those professions that is glorified in movies and song far more than its true mundane reality deserves.  Now it is also the subject of video games, and Big Muther Truckers (BMT) demonstrates that hauling something from point A to point B over long stretches of highway is not necessarily as exciting as it is made out to be.

Screenshots
Keep on truckin'!

The basic premise of BMT is that the old matriarch of a family of backwoods truckers is going to retire from the business.  She wants to pass the family business on to one of her four offspring, but wants to make sure that it goes to the most deserving of the bunch.  To determine the most fitting heir, she decides to hold a contest in which the trucker who can generate the most profit over a sixty day period earns the right to take over the company.

The contest takes place in fictional Hicks County which is home to five cities.  The cities are inspired by real world locations such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York, but the resemblance is mostly a passing one.  The game's box claims that the cities are "expansive", but in reality they are far from being so.  They are more along the lines of glorified intersections, so most of your time will be spent on the open highways.  Once you pull into a city's central location, you can select from one of three locations to visit: the store, bar, or garage. 

The store is where you buy commodities to haul between cities for profit.  The game uses a simple arrow indicator to let you know if the local prices are high or low compared to the prices in other cities, so you just need to pick a low-priced cargo, pay for it, and it will be loaded onto your truck automatically.  Cargo comes in three varieties, dry, liquid, and refrigerated.  The latter two will earn higher profits, but require you to buy a special trailer to carry them.

The bar is home to a bartender who will dispense a tip on a good that is in high demand in one of the other cities, and occasionally offers you a special mission.  The missions are mini-games that involve making a series of short-range deliveries in a set amount of time.  Completing a mission successfully will reward you with a cash bonus.  Once you've played a mission in the game it is available as a standalone mini-game, but they are mundane enough to give you little motivation to replay them.  The bar is also home to a loan shark that will loan you money at a high interest rate and a slot machine you can use to try to increase your bankroll, but you'll hardly have much motivation to spend time with either.

The garage is where you refuel and repair your rig.  Running out of gas or taking too much damage when on the highways will result in a tow back to your last stop and the loss of a day's delivery.  You can also upgrade your rig with various things such as fuel boosters, engine and brake upgrades, and trailer extensions to allow you to carry more cargo.  The upgrades are very pricey, and outside of the trailer extensions have no noticeable effect on the way your truck handles out on the road.. 

Once you are ready to leave town, the game clock advances one day and you are taken to the map screen.  From here you select which city you want to visit next.  You'll also be challenged by random truckers to race to the location of your choosing, and you can either accept or decline the challenge.  The stakes of the race are tied to the distance of the race and the first one to reach the destination wins the bet.  In either case, once a selection is made you will be on the road.  If you chose to accept the challenge, you'll see the other truck pull out of town just ahead of you.  The competition pretty much drives a straight and steady race, so it's just a matter of keeping your truck on the road to come in first place.