There seems to be a pattern now with simulator prologues, but it’s a great tool to try out a game and see if it’s worth your time. This happened with Gas Station Simulator, and I loved it. By the time the full game came out, I knew that UI like the back of my genitalia. Erm…
Car Detailing Simulator: Prologue is another appropriate title. You will be tarting up neglected cars, allowing them to hit the streets once more, exhausts raised high. But let’s make this clear from the outset: this isn’t a car mechanic game irrespective of the workshop; it’s detailing.
In Car Detailing Simulator: Prologue, a customer will leave their abused vehicle in your workshop to restore. The bodywork will be scuffed, caked in crap, and in desperate need of some love. Instead of picking up sledgehammers and torque wrenches, you have dedicated cleaning tools, and on top of that, the specialist equipment.
With almost all the cars, you have to clean them first, covering them in foam, then washing it all off, followed by a wiped down. If you don’t like the cleaning mechanics in simulators, give Car Detailing Simulator: Prologue a miss, as that’s the core gameplay.
One way of looking at it is like an airbrush tool in Photoshop (or a better equivalent), as you’ll be caressing the cars with your mouse, ensuring you don’t miss a bit. A meter shows on screen to indicate progress, but what about those hard to miss areas? Pressing the right mouse button brings up a hotspot radar, so to speak, that highlights any areas needing your attention in red.
But a glorified car wash will soon try your patience levels, so out comes the orbital polisher, slap on a bit of paste, then use a torch to highlight any areas that need work. These tools are in specialist kits that you have to buy from the online store, where money is awarded for each successful job.
Besides being rated for the work you’ve done, i.e. attention to detail and the time it takes, you get to take a photo with a selection of camera parameters and filters that can be pinned up on your work area. For fellow car enthusiasts, this isn’t as lame as it sounds, and I spent a good ten minutes taking photos of a Corvette Stingray. Well, Korvet Styngrai.
Car Detailing Simulator: Prologue doesn’t have car licensing, but it’s obvious what car you are working on. The tutorial car, clearly a BMW, has the branding altered, but you know what it is, and the modelling is excellent. The focal point has to be the cars, and they’re great. I didn’t like the UI at all and found it pretty garish and overpowering, but it doesn’t affect gameplay, it just didn’t work for me. The same for the soundtrack of Americana was a bit too cliche for me, but again, trivial.
The biggest criticism would have to be the actual gameplay, as having three stages of cleaning a car can get a little monotonous one after the other. The highlight feature helps, but the amount of time you have to circle the vehicle looking for the bit you missed can be annoying. When the detailing aspect kicks in, that’s much more enjoyable, but there’s only so much car washing one can take. Buffing, claying, T-cutting, sure, but no more bubbles!
I’m keen to try out the Car Mechanic Simulator titles, but while I’m fairly into cars, I’m more of a car tart and want something that handles well and looks good. Car Detailing Simulator: Prologue focuses on the latter, and while that may sound entirely cosmetic (it is), it’s satisfying gameplay, having the freedom to buff up your dream car, owned by someone else.
You’ll be able to play the demo from the 15th of November on Steam. Add to your wishlist, or if you’re from the future, download the demo now.