Let’s move stuff from here to over there!
I moved from NYC back to Michigan right after 9/11. My mother’s rationale was, that no one will ever attack Michigan, and she had a point. But, I was out in NYC living the dream, studying theatre at one of the premier schools in the country. What was I going to do now that I’m back in Michigan? Well, my uncle own a safe and vault company, and they needed an IT guy. I had always been good with computers, so I started off being their webmaster and IT support dude. It was ok, pretty boring to be honest. The cool thing was, when things were slow, I got to learn fun things like how to crack safes. However, one of my favorite things to do, was to drive the forklift.
In real life, driving a forklift is actually kinda cool. Here’s this large heavy object that you could never move by hand, and yet you pull a lever, and there it goes, straight up in the air. Driving forklifts is super fun, since the steering is in the back. It’s almost like you’re always driving a car in reverse. This is because the turning radius is much tighter with a rear-steering configuration. This is essential for getting into and out of tight spots, or lining things up just right. It’s also extremely dangerous at high speeds, and especially under load. Still, it was super fun, and I really enjoyed it. But alas, if someone had a job as a warehouse worker, and all they did day in, and day out, is drive a forklift, and move things from here to there, I can only assume that it would get boring.
Enter Extreme Forklifting 2.
When this game finished downloading and booted up, I was legit excited. Sure, I didn’t smell the fumes of propane exhaust in the room, but hey… this could be fun!
For starters, the production quality is very polished. The graphics are great, and the textures are superb. The menu is easy to navigate, and the controls totally not shabby, once you get the hang of them. Remember, most people aren’t used to steering with the rear wheels, The faster you go, it gets exponentially harder, and you spin out. The soundtrack and effects are great, on par with the visuals. Overall, the look and feel of this game certainly show talent and skill on the part of the devs. Then, you play.
So, I’m not sure if the promo video on the Steam store was intended to include some sarcasm, but at one point in time, it says something to the effect of “Experience the glamorous life of a warehouse worker!” As a matter of fact, on the list of Features, two of the bullets are “Pick pallets up!” and “Put pallets down!” In those last two quotes, you have basically experienced the entire game.
Upon my initial go at the game, I figured that the simple tasks I was being given were merely an introduction to the controls à la tutorial. However, 20 pallets in, and there was no change. You certainly can’t accuse the dev of false advertising, though. The entire game is picking up pallets here, and moving them to there. I suppose what I’m getting at, is the novelty wears off real quick. In order for a game to be successful, there needs to be some sort of tangible progression, something that provides goals that appear out of reach, and are just barely achievable. These ‘epic wins’ are what drives us to spend hours in front of a screen slaying internet dragons. But, there is no such epic win here.
Sadly, with the fit and finish that Extreme Forklifting 2 has, I was really let down that they didn’t take an opportunity to add some non-realistic things to the game. I mean frankly, we play games to escape reality, no? Sure, there is a time trial mode where you drive from point A in the yard to point B, but that’s really it. Even simple things like a map editor, and the ability to share the maps you’ve made with other players would have made a world of a difference in this game. Moving things from point A to point B just gets super-old, super-fast. Even the crashes in this game were underwhelming. When I happened to tip over very slowly, the only thing that happened is I got a Steam achievement for Wreck!. I mean, if we’re shooting for realism, why not have a ragdoll driver fall out, and the propane tank explode in a firey blaze.
All in all, for two bucks, you can get a hot dog and a Slurpee at 7-11, or you could pick up Extreme Forklifting 2. Frankly, I think the dev has the talent to make the game actually extreme, and do some fun crazy stuff. What about moving things that blow up? Moving and stacking oddly shaped objects? Assembling some kind of cool tower of stuff that you can knock over in a sandbox mode? For now, though, the game should just be called Forklifting. I’ll toss a 5 at it because of the production quality and attention to detail, but alas, cannot give it a higher score because games shouldn’t get boring after five minutes.