Wreckfest - Everything a grown boy needs TNG

Updated: March 21, 2022

Reuse titles much? Yes, indeed. But there is a reason to that. What do you get when you combine the powers of Carmageddon and BeamNG.drive (for which the aforementioned title was already used)? You get Wreckfest! A game dedicated to wholesale competitive vehicular deformation in a splendid display of soft physics arcade. Childish enthusiasm for wanton destruction intensifies.

My Steam wishlist popped a notification. There's this game you added, y'know, back when you bought BeamNG, so maybe you want to try it? And try I did. Fast forward about 300 hours of crash, boom, joy, and here I am, writing a review of this splendid mind-and-body detoxifier. Let us delve into details.

Teaser

A fest of wreck

There be racing simulators. There be soft physics engines. But rarely there is a good combination of the two. BeamNG provideth, but it's more of a demo than a fully fledged, self-contained game with a proper story. Well, some folks sat down together, remember there used to be an awesome game called Carmageddon, which itself is based on a cliche, B-quality 1970s Dystopian movie called Death Race 2000 (and since remade, yes). The idea is that you race, but also physically destroy your opponents.

With the pointless yet addictive grace of Goat simulator, and the stunningly beautiful graphics of what modern technology allows, Wreckfest allows you to explore all those hidden primal urges that make boys want to see things break, shatter, burn or explode (ideally all at the same time). You can start a career, slowly earning experience points (EX), credits (CR), and mastering a progressive scale of challenges, including races and demolition derbies. Or, if you don't want the slightly restrictive framework of a career game, you can play solo matches against AI, or join online servers. Everything goes.

First event

Your very first event in the Regional Juniors Challenge (career).

Lawnmower

The earned scars and money allow you to go into the car market and get yourself new, faster and more powerful vehicles, as well as purchase upgrades for your existing stock of vehicles, including bigger engines, race shocks, armor plates, and cosmetic touches. I found this aspect of the game quite fun, too. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment when you finally rack up enough EX to get a mighty V8 engine for your rig, or perhaps a powerful roll cage, side bars, and crasher bumpers, which provide strength to your car, something you do need for Last Man Standing matches. On top of that, you can also tune your vehicles, so they respond better on asphalt, mud or gravel.

Car upgrade

Beautiful immersion

I must say, Wreckfest is done exquisitely well. The music is great. Hard and metal rock riffs that instantly evoke the spirit of real-life monster truck events. The graphics are lovely, from sunset glare to dust and tire tracks on rally circuits to random bits of debris and wrangled metal flying everywhere. Oil spills, rubber smears, broken glass, fire, and stunningly designed wreck-a-dromes, each offering a new, clever, unique experience.

Destruction 1

Destruction 2

Destruction 3

Wreckfest offers a colorful display of cars for you - from the veritable lawnmower to a school bus, which you can pit against combine harvesters, skull-adorned trucks, and a whole range of Mad Max models, each with its own selection of angry, twisted grilles, horns, rusty metal, and crazy paint jobs. Not surprisingly, there is a Thunderbowl track, too. And for those heavy on nostalgia, Carmageddon's Bleak City is there, complete with DOS-era graphics.

Bleak City

Everything works. The AI opponents can be clever and tricky, if you want them, and they have funny names and avatars. You can easily mistake them for real people. There's a definite sense of depth and chaotic, manic intensity, which go beyond the actual scope and size of the game. You feel like you're part of a realistic experience, focused around high-octane destruction and fun.

Race 1

Race 2

I played the career a little, and it was interesting enough for me to persist - normally, I don't care about careers in most games, and always go for sandbox, skirmish or solo missions, whatever they may be. Wreckfest seems to be an exception. Similarly, playing standalone races or matches is also quite engaging, and you don't feel anything is repetitive (even though it clearly is). Finally, a couple of friends and I joined for some online sessions on a private server, and this also proved to be a blast. You can have only human players, or you can add bots, and the fun continues.

Destruction 4

Summary

Deathmatch

I soon managed to get to Level 35 or so, which is where you unlock any remaining level-based tech, including vehicles and upgrades. And then I went back to the career mode, because it's fun, and you do need to play the campaign events to get extra perks, like the Harvester, Motorvan and School Bus, which cannot be bought, only won. Quite delightful, colorful and varied enough not to be boring. Of course, once you do get the bus, you can buy an upgraded 400-V8 engine, and then it's not only big and powerful, but also rather fast. At the moment, I'm gently racking up my experience to Level 88.

Tournaments

But there's more! You can also play tournaments and gain fame. While careers happen only once, tournaments run all the time, with daily, weekly and seasonal challenges, bringing yet more variety to the game [sic]. Lots of quirky stuff, and as it happens, until very recently, it all happened in the snow (winter fest). You get racers, demolition derbys and special challenges, like using a toy-like car that fires giant snowballs, which can wreck a car with just one hit. Crazy and totally cool. Now, we're in the middle of an early spring tournament, and the roads be dry once more.

Snowballs

Gold medal

With fame, you can buy special vehicles that are not available in the regular in-game store. We're talking really special stuff like the ultra-famous Doom Rig or the Battle Bus. Indeed, I invested a handful of hours completing a handful of winter tournament challenges just to rack up 30,000 points of fame so I could buy this awesome doomsday-styled truck. It is glorious indeed.

Doom Rig bought

Doom Rig

Conclusion

There. Wreckfest is almost a culinary combo, designed to tickle all your senses, with a layered bouquet of tricks. The game is simple yet complicated, it allows you to invest yourself all the way in, or step back and just have a little bit of post-work relaxation. It features beautiful sounds and visuals, and it's balanced just the right way in every aspect.

The most important thing is not to take things too seriously. Wreckfest isn't supposed to be realistic, so don't expect a simulator-like experience. It ain't about that. Yes, you can compete, but you will be focused on drifting and crashing more than how well you tread the perfect racing line. There is something really deep and primitive in the human brain, which definitely allows one to want to see things disassembled violently, over and over. Wreckfest offers innocent escape and indulgence, wrapping the monkey instincts in stunning look-and-feel, the best of which the computer technology can offer today. And for that, I am grateful. This is an awesome game, and you should definitely get it. The end.

Cheers.

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