Some games require the player to develop a mastery of the mechanics. They spend the whole game teaching you how to use various skills and abilities effectively and then they test you on how well you learned them. Other games tap into the reward center of our brains, providing upgrades and new content to keep us engaged. But some games go a different route. Rather than focusing on creating a particularly engaging core gameplay loop, these games focus on mechanics that are fun to play with by themselves. Maybe searching for hundreds of power moons isn’t the most fun concept, but jumping around New Donk City, controlling electricity and traffic cones, is a ton of fun. In a way, these games are a bit like toys mixed with traditional games as the fun comes largely from experimenting with the mechanics, rather than mastering them to complete some overarching goal, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is an excellent edition to the toybox of games.
Similar to games like Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat, Totally Reliable Delivery Service has you controlling a ragdoll humanoid character as you attempt to complete various, simple tasks. Delivering packages, to be more specific. You control the character’s movement as well as both individual arms and hands. This means interacting with any physical object requires precision and control.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service features a massive open world filled with different islands and tons of vehicles to mess around with. The size of the world means you’ll need to use the various cars, trucks, boats, planes, and helicopters scattered about the map to explore effectively. While challenging to get the hang of, controlling vehicles is intuitive and easy to learn despite the strange and uncommon control scheme. While your first few helicopter deliveries will almost certainly end in a fiery ball of death, you will quickly pick up on the little tricks required to fly properly. It’s here that Totally Reliable Delivery Service shines as mastering certain mechanics opens new possibilities for experimentation.
Visually, Totally Reliable Delivery Service features a low poly, cartoonish style. Similar to Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat, player characters are designed as short, rotund humanoids, arms majestically flapping in the wind. One of the first things you’ll notice is the short render distance. Islands and buildings will gradually fade in through thick fog as you approach hinting at nearby structures. Much of the game takes place high up, but low draw distance means the views are pretty unimpressive. The huge open-world nature of TRDS means that many areas were given far less attention than others. While most levels in Gang Beasts or Human Fall Flat are small and intricately designed, some areas in TRDS are plagued with ugly low-res textures and little to no environmental design. These areas are few and far between, however, as the islands are fairly packed with content. This just makes the areas that are not more obvious.
As the name implies, your ultimate goal in Totally Reliable Delivery Service is to make deliveries. Vending machines are scattered across the map which provide packages and goals as well as a vehicle to complete each delivery with. Every delivery requires you to simply bring the package from point A to point B without allowing it to be destroyed. All variety stems from the location of the delivery, the vehicle provided to complete the delivery, and the actual package being delivered. Some packages must be delivered to the roof of a narrow building while others are sent to the middle of the ocean. Some packages are small and easy to carry while others are heavy and awkward. These differences provide unique challenges that effectively expose the player to all different aspects of the game.
The heavy reliance on physics can often lead to some unexpected and frustrating bugs. Your character is unable to scale very gradual inclines without sprinting, and certain vehicles, especially the ones that move on their own, have weird and jarring interactions with the player. None of these bugs, however, were game breaking and even more serious glitches can be rectified by simply respawning nearby.
Totally Reliable Delivery service is the perfect game for your next party. Physics based gameplay and a huge selection of toys to mess with makes TRDS a humorous, laid back and, most importantly, fun open world experience. Missions provide goals and cosmetic upgrades, but they can be completely ignored in favor of simply exploring and playing with the tools provided. TRDS features tons of hours of single player fun and infinitely more options when playing with friends.