Monster Truck Championship Switch Review

Everyone loves monster trucks, they are some of the most extreme vehicles known to man with such crazy torque they can do backflips. Monster Truck Championship is a monster truck simulator complete with racing and stunts, developed by Teyon and published by Nacon who brought the amazing WRC and TT Isle of Man games to Nintendo Switch.

The monster trucks are an absolute handful bouncing around all over the place with both front and rear axle steering that creates an entirely unique racing experience. It’s slow paced and precise yet extremely hard to control your huge beast through all the jumps and bumps and can be frustrating when you take a weird trajectory or bounce on landing. This can be made even harder with the turd of a frame rate when there are lots of trucks in your general area, however it improves as the field spreads in races. The physics on the other hand can’t be faulted, they are amazing, the trucks slide, bounce and crunch exactly how I’d imagine they do in real life.

Mid air collisions don’t end well.

You do get thrown in pretty clueless on how to play and particularly how to do tricks so I’d definitely recommend doing part of the tutorial before launching into career mode, as much as the game tries to get you to go in head first to embarrass yourself.

Get the right revs at the start of a drag race and zoom away.

There’s five types of events available; race and time trial on 6 tracks, drag race on 7 tracks, freestyle on 8 arenas and destruction on 4 arenas. Most are as they sound, the drag race isn’t your typical straight drag, you start on a platform and then have a short 20-30s few turns and or jumps to do, making a fun quick fire round. The freestyle is your stunt mode where you pull off back flips, front flips, big jumps, drifts, donuts and a few more. Mastering these few stunts will take some time and dedication and can start off very frustrating but also extremely satisfying when you link a big chain, though I found the chain ended too quickly most of the time. Finally destruction is almost the same as freestyle but with a short time limit and each individual bit of destruction adds to the score multiplier making insane scores possible. The tracks and arena are fun but it’s a shame there aren’t more. 

The first person view is mad, especially when attempting a backflip.

Career mode see’s you start with a basic truck and sends you out on 30 championships consisting of 2-5 events, slowly upgrading your truck and a few staff as well as completing sponsor objectives. There’s basic set up options for the trucks so you can race how you want added with the extremely customisable control really cements it’s simulation nature. In general the career mode and the whole game feels much like a PS2 extreme sports game that was big at the time only with better graphics and realistic physics. You really feel the damage during races if you damage your gearbox or engine but you do not really feel tyre damage except in the stunt modes. Staff can make a huge difference such as you can’t do the biggest jumps without wrecking your truck unless you’ve employed someone that increases durability. Career mode really is all you’ll spend time on, though you can do single races but there’s no split screen multiplayer and online was dead on arrival.

It’s worth playing with the setup and the game tells you what effect everything has.

The graphics are nothing to shout about, they are just about good enough not to detract from the experience. So it really doesn’t excuse the awful frame rate in the racing when there’s a lot of trucks around you and some sections of the drag racing.

Honestly I got used to the frame rate enough to enjoy some close quarters racing.

The sound design in general is like a late 90s/early 00s arcade title which really fits with the whole old school feel of the game with a pre race announcer. The trucks don’t sound as beefy as I’d like and as with traditional simulation racers there’s no music whilst racing.

Losing control in stunt events will happen ALOT!

Monster Truck Championship is a fun albeit flawed experience that I enjoyed more and more with my time playing. It is very much a niche, bare bones, budget experience but one that will be greatly enjoyed if you can put up with a dodgy frame rate here and there. It really feels like a PS2 HD remaster with updated physics. There was a day one patch to improve the frame rate but this review reflects that update. If you love monster trucks and portable game play or want to play a different kind of racing game then Monster Truck Championship has the potential to be a lot of fun. 

You can take a fast truck out for a joy ride which can be a nice change of pace.

A huge thank you to Nacon for providing the review code. Monster Truck Championship is available now both physically and digitally on the Nintendo eShop for £34.99/€39.99/$39.99.

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