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regular-article-logo Monday, 26 February 2024

An eventful trip to Canada!

Name: Gunman Taco Truck by Romero Games Lt Genre: Action, advenure, cooking Platforms: Android, iOS

Pruthvi Das Published 11.12.23, 05:34 AM

Coming straight from the legendary Romero family, Gunman Taco Truck is a “resource management, fast food sim, placed upon the bones of a clicker action” game. You convert your truck into a taco business, and set off to explore the US before you reach your final stop at Winnipeg, Canada, a place with no taco businesses.

Much of your time is split between serving wastelanders and scooping roadkill as ingredients, choosing places to travel to, and caring for your truck.

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You use the roadkill to make tacos; from normal cheese and carne asada tacos to the post-apocalyptic specials like the speeter, catfish and frogle tacos.

But the cooking mechanics are not as deep as you’d expect. It’s all drag and drop and pattern-matching. Order types never change, so if you forget how a particular taco is assembled, the cookbook will save the day. This approach seemingly encourages memorisation so you don’t waste time. Personally, this adds cognitive overload, and I wish a better design was implemented for the cooking system.

The real difficulty is in the management; running out of ingredients forces you to pass customers you can’t serve. For each botched order, you lose both your money AND the ingredients you used. The money you earn is for truck upgrades or repairs, food ingredients, and fuel for the road. On customers, you won’t serve a long line of people, but they run on short temper, so speed is pertinent.

After serving customers, it’s time to hit the road. You swipe up and down to change lanes, and tap on incoming creatures and items to shoot them into bloody gibs for ingredients or scraps. And then it’s back to cooking, repeating the loop. Scraps are another resource for purchasing mechanical upgrades.

Given the absurd themes, and elements, instances of comedy are found through easter eggs and dialogues. And the visually charming retro aesthetic weirdly blends with the underlying dark humour. So it’s natural to think that the game seems chirpy and casual.

But don’t be fooled; Gunman Taco Truck will leave you frustrated with its permadeath mechanics. You lose every bit of progress you made if you’re not careful, forcing you to restart all over again.

I believe this is the game’s core problem. It costs you an arm and a leg strike a balance between ingredients, fuel and upgrades. Not doing so can mean your chances of surviving boss fights, the overwhelming waves of roadkill, or handling disgruntled customers grow slim. Even though the game’s learning curve isn’t steep, it is certainly frustrating… and in a not-so-good way.

VERDICT: Though lacking balance, the game is one of the few original titles in the mobile market. I rate it a seven out of 10.

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