Quick Look: “Jalopy” – Zany European Mechanic/Driving Sim?!

Jalopy is a game with an interesting history and interesting premise, coming to us via Minskworks and Excalibur Publishing. Minskworks is actually pretty much a one-man endeavor, powered by Greg Pryjmachuck (developer of the popular Formula One series), intent on giving its players a realistic spin on car ownership, maintenance, and driving all in one experience.

The game is set in June of 1990, with the premise being that the unnamed main character’s uncle wants to use the changing climate of Eastern Europe as the catalyst for him taking a cross-continent road trip to visit his homeland, which he has not seen in over 41 years (mistakenly I said 11 in the video…Oops!). To do this, he plans to teach us how to drive an old, but lovable Laika 601 Deluxe, but before we even get to take the vehicle onto the road, we will have to assemble its engine parts, clean it up, put on a fresh set of tires, figure out the proper gas-to-oil mixture for its little 10-liter fuel tank, and then read a basic map and plot our course to Berlin.

You might think that once you’ve gotten through all of that you’ll be good to go out there on the road, but the game really builds off of the basic lessons you learn back at your uncle’s garage in the first twenty or so minutes of gameplay by tossing at you crazy drivers, difficult driving situations, and wear and tear on your vehicle and its parts. Unlike so many games where you don’t mind going 100 MPH down the highway and slamming into half of the signs (or drivers!) that you encounter, here doing that would have devastating consequences. It’s a road trip, it’s a lesson in patience, it’s an appreciation for what you have, and it’s also a journey.

In many ways, this will be one of those experiential games where the journey and what we learn from the uncle (and ourselves) will hold just as much meaning as taking care of this old beat-up car.

The game throws in a procedural mechanic as well, with both the layout, routes, and scenarios we are given coming at us by random, ensuring that no two drives will be exactly alike.

The gameplay video here is based on a “Pre-Alpha Press Build” of the game, so anything that doesn’t look quite right will hopefully be straightened out on April 14, when the game gets released on Steam.

So, if you enjoy what you see here, head on over to Steam and check the game out for yourselves!

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