Tank Mechanic Simulator
Tank Mechanic Simulator opens up with players taking over the running of a tank museum. It seems that your character’s father was the previous owner and after his passing the task of extracting and renovating tanks now falls to you. Thankfully your Uncle Tom is around to offer some assistance, albeit via emails, to ensure that you get off to a good start. You’ll also soon discover that the museum is just a small element of the game and most of your time will be spent restoring rusty World War II tanks to their former glory.
We have to confess that most of our experience with World War II tanks comes from either trying to blow them up or trying to avoid being blown up; virtually of course. This made the prospect of having to actually repair these armored combat vehicles a little daunting, to say the least. The fact that the tutorial in TMS is a little janky didn’t help either, but it wasn’t long before we were eagerly anticipating each new rusty wreck that ended up in our garage. The whole “mechanic simulator” genre is already very niche without adding obscure World War II vehicles to the mix, so kudos to Degenerals for making the whole experience so accessible. Don’t get us wrong, you are still going to feel a little overwhelmed initially, but with a little perseverance, you’ll soon have plenty of satisfied clients and a museum full of shiny tanks.
Renovating tanks is obviously not a cheap hobby, so your primary goal in TMS should be to make money, which is actually not that difficult. The museum you operate brings in some passive income through ticket sales, but the bulk of your finances will come from fixing tanks for clients. These contracts are accessed via email and you get to pick and choose which ones you want to work on. Once the tank is in your garage you can then separate the turret and engine from the main tank body and get to work with the restoration process. It’s easy to get carried away with this process, but care must be taken to stay within the budget of what you are getting paid for the job so that you don’t operate at loss. Generally, clients only want you to improve the condition and completeness of the tank, so save those full restorations for your own vehicles. You can use your computer, or tablet once you unlock it, to see exactly what parts your clients want to be restored or replaced and focus on these. Once the tank has been restored to the required level you can then complete the contract and get your money. Ending a contract before doing what is expected from you will result in a penalty, though, so be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.
Fixing tanks for clients is fun, but the most rewarding aspect of the game for us was excavating abandoned or broken tanks and then restoring them to pristine condition for the museum. The excavation missions pop up every now and then in your inbox and require you to visit a location in your jeep or quad bike and then find the tank that is buried somewhere in a field. You are given a map with a general zone of where the tank can be found and then set out with your metal detector to pinpoint the exact spot. Later on, you can also unlock additional scanning methods, including a drone, to streamline the process. Once you think you know where the tank is buried you can then go grab a shovel and start digging or pay an excavation crew to unearth your prize for you. From there all it takes is a bit of cleaning before loading the tank on to a truck and getting it delivered back at your workshop where the real fun begins. The whole excavation process is surprisingly fun and even features day and night cycles. Don’t be too hasty in getting back to your workshop either as a quick sweep of the area after the tank has been excavated might reveal another relic or two for your museum.
As we mentioned earlier TMS is surprisingly accessible, so no need to fret if you don’t know anything about tanks. The whole repair and renovation process is quite straightforward and if we are being very honest, much more relaxing than what we expected. Your first priority should be to get the rust off everything, followed by a bit of sandblasting. Next up you’ll want to put a primer coat on everything and then paint your tank. Along the way, you’ll discover parts that are completely broken and these will need to be removed before you can order replacement parts or fabricate your own components. Along with earning money for completing contracts, you’ll also build up your reputation, which in turn allows you to unlock new perks. These perks can be anything from bigger discounts and new tools to whole new areas, such as a shooting range. Our favorite perk is the one that allows us to swap between tools without having to walk back to a workbench and pick them up as it saves a lot of time. The perk that allows you to fabricate your own parts instead of having to outsource repairs or buy replacements is also very handy.
Overall, the whole process of repairing tanks is not quite as in-depth as other mechanic simulator games, but it is a lot of fun. You can walk around your workshop and view everything from a first-person perspective while using your tools. You can also switch between assembly and disassembly modes, which makes it easier to add or remove elements, especially ones that are hard to see or reach. Here the controls are as easy as left-clicking to select individual parts and right-clicking to remove parts. Your middle mouse button brings up a radial menu from where you can access a bunch of useful features, such as moving the tank, getting inside it, checking the status of the various elements, and much more. It’s a little awkward to get to certain nooks and crannies of your tank in the first-person mode, but once we got the hank of everything we had no issue completing full renovations. There is a bit of a learning curve initially, but the game clearly indicates where you must place what components, so you can’t really screw up and assemble your tank backward or anything. This might be a little disappointing for players who want a full technical simulation of tank repairs, but everyone else who just wants to be entertained will appreciate how accessible everything is.
Visually TMS is a good looking game and all the tanks look exactly like they should. From the KV-1 and KV-2, to the Sherman M4A3E8, Panzer IV G, Panther, M10 Wolverine, M26 Pershing, and many others, there’s more than enough tanks to work on. If TMS is anything like the other mechanic simulator titles on the market we are sure there will be plenty of new additions to the roster in the form of DLC as well. Thankfully, the developers appear to be hard at work listening to feedback and releasing patches to address issues in the game, so at least they have their priorities straight. The fact that you are not just confined to your workshop, but can go outside into the yard, visit and customize your museum, go out for excavations and even take your tank for a test drive adds a lot of variety to the game. A lot of detail has gone into the different environments as well and watching a tank go from rusty wreck to fully painted museum piece is extremely satisfying. We had no qualms with the audio either as all the sound effects are decent and the music never became annoying.
The whole process of repairing tanks is a little repetitive by nature, but we found ourselves continuing to play Tank Mechanic Simulator long after we had enough material to write this interview. It’s not perfect and might not be as in-depth as hardcore tank enthusiasts would want, but it is very enjoyable and can become downright addictive. The subject matter alone will probably scare away most casual players, but we heartily recommend this game to anyone in search of a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
*Review based on version 1.0.18.
- OS: Windows 7 (64-bit) or newer
- Processor: Intel Core i3 2100 / AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 570 / Radeon HD 6970
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 8 GB available space
- OS: Windows 8.1 (64-bit) or newer
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 980 / AMD Radeon R9 Fury) or better
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 12 GB available space