Tank Mechanic Simulator is part of the popular mechanical simulation series. Only this time you are not working with cars and trucks, but with tanks, many of which have not been driven for over 60 years or have even been freed from a mud prison. You can find out in our test whether we have made the old rust bins work again.
In a way, this follows on from the Plane Mechanic Simulator game published by PlayWay, which allows you to repair historical planes. There are also completely different simulators in this direction, such as the Car Mechanic Simulator or the House Flipper Simulator in which houses are bought and renovated. In the Tank Mechanic Simulator, however, we go to the big guns and try to get old tanks running again. You can now read whether we succeeded in doing this.
Historic tanks and ugly surroundings
With the Tank Mechanic Simulator you can experience all the war machines that you may have read about in history books about the Second World War up close and personally. There is even a little story. You play the youngest heir to a tank mechanic's workshop and museum and are starting to make a name for yourself. You're new to the business, so the first jobs you take on are small and not particularly demanding, as it should be for a new shop owner.
At first you start out by replacing some small peripheral parts and cleaning tanks, but eventually you start by replacing entire assemblies yourself. In addition, people occasionally go into the field to salvage old tanks with metal detectors, ground-penetrating radar and even drones. The look is pretty good for the tanks and the shop itself. The excursions you take show that the main focus is on the mechanical side of the game. The ground cover, the leaves and the water effects look poorly detailed and washed out in direct comparison - as if you had taken your old Amiga out of the basement, dusted the device, made it work and installed a tank workshop game.
Handicrafts calm you down - so does the music
However, every single one of the tanks available in the game is lovingly and realistically recreated, showing individual parts and allowing the player to interact with most of them. The parts lists for the tanks shown in the game are quite extensive, but do not go into detail. For example, you won't be ordering a gross weight of a particular nut or bolt size just to reassemble a tank that you salvaged from the field.
While working in the store, you will be calmed down by the radio, which plays classic rock melodies without singing. It feels like a nice relapse when you look through parts on the computer, look for the tool you just dropped into the pit under the tank, or sit back and admire a job well done.
The noises made by the tools you can hear on the tank or in the field are appropriate - not necessarily realistic - and give a satisfying feeling, even when you watch the rust and paint disappear as you clean the tanks down to the steel gray that they had off the assembly lines. You can paint the tanks even after they have been cleaned - and it is quite amusing to see these machines in a bright red primer before the next coat is applied.
Tension curve in the tank workshop? Nothing!
It must be clear that if you are looking for something exciting to gamble, this is not the right game. It's pretty slow and methodical, and the tasks are repetitive a lot, mostly it's a tank repair or extraction that needs to be done. The extraction tasks could even be a bit frustrating since there is no description of the location, only the tech pad roughly shows the location. You walk or simply drive into the area where the tank is supposed to be, which is indicated by a gray circle on the map.
Once there, you have to take the metal detector directly to the center of the circle to plant a flag when the beeping is highest. At this point you can choose whether you want to grab the shovel or whether you want to summon the rescue object with the tech pad. Finally, it should be mentioned that you are even able to do a round of the shooting range with the tanks, a real test of whether you have put everything back together correctly or not.
A certain entertainment factor cannot be denied to the game, but the presentation has to be weaned off - with the exception of the tank models themselves. The latter are clearly the focus of the game, the rest is probably only built in so that the steely monsters are not screwed together in a themeless nirvana must or roughly to orientate oneself to heaven - represented in the game by a gray-blue haze - or earth - represented in the game by a brown-green mat.
Shallow entertainment is what you can most likely attest to the game. There are no challenges, but there are tasks. However, they are done quickly and then repeat themselves at regular intervals. They rush past the players like a quirk in a tank chain. If you like that and really want to pick up the wrench yourself, you should spend a few hours of fun with the De Generals' Tank Mechanic Simulator due to the lack of alternatives, everyone else should better get behind the wheel of another virtual tank and break what breaks should be made.
To be fair, it has to be said that the Tank Mechanic Simulator is a real indie project that the Polish developers are gradually designing in small steps until it is ready for the market. Because nowadays “indie” can no longer be equated with “hobby”, the quality of the simulation game should still overtake the broad mass of gamers. At most, casual gamers can take a look.
Number of players: 1
Age: from 0 (USK)
Long-term motivation: medium
Developer: De Generals
Year of publication: 2020
platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
Languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, Russian, Chinese
Cost: 17,99 Euro
You have to be very clear if you like tanks in general and are not averse to simulations and if you want to find some inner peace during the repair, the Tank Mechanic Simulator can definitely be recommended.
We found it satisfactory, as every project went into more depth, even if the repairs tend to be repeated, until you finally chased the last bit of rust to bring the indicator bar down to 100%. The simulation game probably contains far less game than you would expect from similar titles. It's an absolute niche work - that's a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because there are playful alternatives to stupid tank battles at all. Curse, because Tank Mechanic Simulator has no less stupid gameplay to offer.
Most players will not touch the Tank Mechanic Simulator with a pair of pincers, but real fans - primarily real fans who play video games occasionally - are happy that you can finally play around with tanks without having to blow the machines overboard. The Tank Mechanic Simulator is arguably the best tank mechanic simulator currently on the market - but it may be the only one.