Let’s taco bout this game.
Genre: Action, Indie, Strategy
Developer: Romero Games Ltd.
Publisher: Romero Games Ltd.
Release Date: 28 Jan, 2017
You Had One Job, Scientist
While the story is not focused on as much, it does give a short background. Showing that some scientist happened to press a button, launching nukes all over the United States. Destroying the land and mutating most of the creatures. You come in as a humble taco truck driver on the path to Canada. Why? Canada needs taco trucks and it is the perfect place to let your family business thrive. Luckily, you are equipped with a gun on your taco truck and mechanics willing to upgrade it.
Luckily, you can turn off the prologue. As hard as Gunman Taco Truck is you may not be able to see the ending anytime soon.
Makin Tacos and Takin Names
Even with the hype around Gunman Taco Truck, I only heard about it during the initial release. Somehow missing all the press talk about it and even Jim Sterling’s gameplay video. With the many games coming out constantly, it went to the back of my mind. Becoming a game I might play later on if I come across it again. Now that I have played the game for a few days I do enjoy it. Even with the simple gameplay, it hides a layer of complexity.
Even though the Steam release was before the mobile release, the gameplay does have the feel of a mobile port due to only needing to use your mouse and arrow keys to move.The gameplay can be separated into two parts: the highway and the town.
Firstly, the highway is the action packed half of the gameplay. Being a simple three lane highway, the truck will auto-drive so you only have to deal with a few things at a time. The gun mounted on your truck, which is defaulted as automatic but you can change it to manual, is used to destroy those in your path. Take out mutants or scavengersthreatening to kick your truck to death, animals on the side of the road, and various road signs and metal piles. The mutants and the side road animals can be collected for meat to use in your tacos, carne asada from cows and frog legs from the frog mutants. While the road signs and metal piles can be destroyed for scrap to use later.After a certain point, bosses will play a part toforce you to change up the wayyou play to get past them, each becoming harder and harder.However, it does get time consuming picking up the scrap and meat since you have to click again, especially if you’re being swarmed.This side is extremely important, bringing in the strategic part of the game to stress it. After getting to your destination you will arrive at a town.
When you arrive at a town, the strategy part of the gameplay comes out from the woodworks. Once you arrive, the customers will gather around cheering you and giving a short and funny quip. If you miss shooting up mutants there is a chance a horde will invade the town.Whileyou will automatically receive toppings when you begin, this is where you need to pay attention to your inventory. Depending on how far you are, you will also receive new recipes that you can view in your book. At anytime you can click your truck to make tacos as many times you desire at that town. Having a Diner Dash vibe, you need to serve up a taco accurately and quickly. Looking at the book counts as time, so you can either look at the new recipes beforehand (some of the later ones you will most likely have to) or deduct it from a picture of the taco on the top right. The faster you accuratelymake it, the more likely you will be tipped and have a good rating. Messing it up will cause the person to come back, thankfully giving back the toppings you used, taking a refund, and angrily stomping off forever leaving the town. Be careful and keep trackmuch you have of everyingredient as they will angrily stomp off if you have to cancel their order as well. After serving all of them, you will be created with a summary.
In town, there will either be a store or a garage along with a gas pump and a slot machine. You do know in advance on the map you view so you can strategically progress. The stores contains the toppings but will miss a key component, such as cheese or salsa, that you will be boned if you have none. There will be a rare time where this mystically golden fan, costing around $399, or it being robbed by a mutant. Hope that it wasn’t robbed, it will likely spell disaster unless you planned ahead for it. Garages put those scrap you collect for use. You can upgrade your truck here by getting a whole new truck with a new gun, add-ons that gives you armor, and permanent add-ons meant to help you just as sucking up the meat and scrap for you.A tip, if you need to repair your truck, upgrade it if you can. It will automatically repair your truck if you upgrade to a new one. The gas depends on where you are, ranging from $30-$110, that fills up your tank fully while the slot machines either give you scrap or money (I never really used it much unless I was 1 scrap away from a truck upgrade). I do wish there was a way to get toppings another way or get a bigger gas tank.
Despite how easy it seems to succeed in Gunman Taco Truck, it is very hard despite which setting you pick. You will die very early during your first few games before you can get the hang of the cycle and start thinking ahead. Despite both parts seeming like they don’t fit, it manages to use them to make a challenging game that didn’t even need difficulty settings. You need to do a good job in the highway section so the town section can go smoothly and vice versa.
The tutorial is one of the most daunting negatives. Gunman Taco Truckseems very hectic during the highway section when first going in and the tutorial does not help with toning it down.The help boxes pop up here and there while you try to shoot and dodge. Even if you try to read it and get out unscathed, the pop up boxes go away too fast. Perhaps freezing the frame during the time could have helped or putting it before it happens.
Don’t Worry, the Taco Truck is Soundproof
While the gun sounds can be a little loud without changing the volume, everything is very nice and well done. Everything is covered from each mutant type having a different sound to the customer’s voices. The squishing of the mutant bodies going under the truck, the thuds against the truck when hit, the skidding noises, even the cheers and voice lines of thecustomers are great. I looked forward to hearing around the same four lines from the customers, especially one being so funny to me. The satisfaction and dissatisfaction well voiced and bringing in a proud or shame feeling. Paired with the great soundtrack makes it even better.
Don’t Eat Your Leg Pixels Yet
The 2D pixelated graphics brings more charm to the game. Gunman Taco Truck is very detailed, allowing a background to show you what mutants you will be dealing with effectively and everything is very distinct with the colorful palette. While some do blend in well due to how small they are, you can not mistake them for something else. As you shoot them, the blood spurts out and you can run over their remains to get more. Don’t want any gore? Turn on Piñata mode where colorful stuffed animals filled with candy pops out instead. You can tell what the taco has and what ingredient it may be easily without having to hover over it. Even the customers become super detailed.
There are small details as well, your truck leaves tire marks each time you switch lanes and when you go to a town two fire tracks are left (no doubt a reference to Back to the Future). If you’re truck is damaged, holes and fire will start appearing, even your gun will stop working if your health is too low. As you progress you can also get decals to put on your truck which is a nice addition, though I do wish we can move them ourselves. I couldn’t help but crave a truck plastered with decals.
Don’t Die On Me Now!
Gunman Taco Truck runs well with a few hiccups here and there during the highway section. Some people have experienced trouble with the game crashing however. There have been some bugs I have experienced which you can read herefor more details.In short, includingnot being able to travel due to moving the map, accidentally double charging for gas, and buttons not coming off of the screen (but only happens with a certain action, don’t worry).
Which Road Should I Take This Time?
While some events are set in stone, the roads, orders, and threats you face do change. You may have been salsa rich the last game but this game you happened to be cheese rich. Or having to cancel some of the customer’s orders when you didn’t have to before. I’m not sure how randomized the stores are, as I noticed the same missing ingredient was true for the next playthrough, the robbing is random. The garage also randomize their upgrades excluding the whole truck replacement. I came across the upgrade that sucks up meat and scrap early on one playthrough but now I can’t find it in the beginning. Your strategy can also change betweenplaythroughs, slightly changing up how it ends.
Depending on whether or not you want to see the ending, Gunman Taco Truck can last a long time.
+ Variety and quality of sound
+ Complexity under simplicity
+ Gotta have one more game before I leave
+ Mashup of two different parts that go well together
+/- Some bugs can cause you to be in a horrible situation if accidentally stumbled upon
– Highway tutorial
– Salsa man, customers don’t know how much of a luxury it can be
Gunman Taco Truck is very charming from the beginning. Bringing in a simple but complex cycle of shooting up mutants and collecting scrap, making tacos, and buying more toppings and upgrades. Being an all around solid game except a few things that can improve it. The game can be frustrating, but pulls you back in so you can possibly make it to the end. Will you make it to Canada?This is a great first game from the Romero family and I won’t be surprised if they decide to make another game.