Team 17 has had plenty of recent success with the launches of Moving Out this year and the likes of My Time in Portia last year.
The publisher’s success shows no signs of abating with the early access launch of Main Assembly. Developed by Bad Yolk and available on Steam, this is one of the most ambitious titles in recent years.
Though the game is a Steam Early Access title, the fluidity of the gameplay immediately struck me. For someone who isn’t the most capable of capitalizing on the depth provided by the building tools, it’s easy to pick up the basics. Even the simplest builds can be radically redesigned as you tinker with the chassis of the vehicle. The framework can be shrunk, extended, and warped in a variety of ways. This extends to the exterior design too. You can put something together within a couple of minutes and take it to one of several sandbox maps to test it out.
In a sense, this is like Dreams but for building vehicles. You have the freedom to design pretty much any kind of vehicle your mind can imagine, from bikes and carts to racing cars and trucks. It’s also possible to design ones for flight too.
If you’re like me, that kind of freedom can sometimes inhibit creativity. Considering the scope of the game’s ambitious design, the intricate tutorial does a good job of presenting the information in a digestible manner. The granular detail with which you can design your vehicle is highly impressive.
There are challenges to undertake, incentivizing you to adapt your vehicles and try out others designed by the community. Completing each challenge unlocks more builds and parts to customize your vehicles. Beyond that, the main gameplay hook relies upon your interest in building something unique. This is perhaps something of a drawback for the moment, appealing more to enthusiasts than broader audiences.
Having said that, the game is compatible with Steam Workshop. One of the greatest aspects of games with this kind of freedom is the ability to forge a community. Having a strong community with diverse ideas, you can foster inspiration and encourage fascinating designs. This is just the beginning for Main Assembly. The developers are committed to introducing more customization tools, as well as water-going vehicles like boats and jet skis.
Ultimately, this isn’t my type of game, which obviously isn’t the fault of the developers. Some of the monstrosities I managed to design were more in line with Homer’s car from The Simpsons, both lacking in ingenuity and functionality.
However, Main Assembly’s tools are there to blend style and function and help you create something sleek. If you find yourself struggling, there’s an ever-growing wealth of community builds and options within the game to use or base your own model around. It’s a must-play for anyone who enjoys customization and is interested in designing and building vehicles.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.