Tank Mechanic Simulator is part of the popular mechanic simulation series. Only instead of cars and trucks, this time you are working on tanks, many of which have not been driven, or even freed from a prison of mud, for over 60 years. In a sense, this follows on the Plane Mechanic Simulator game published by PlayWay, which let you fix up historical aircraft.
Tank Mechanic Simulator lets you get up close and virtually personal with all the war machines you’ve read about in your World War II history books. There is even a little story. You play the recent inheritor of a tank mechanic shop and museum, and are starting out to make a name for yourself. You are new, so the first jobs you take on are small and not particularly challenging, befitting a new shop owner. You start off replacing some small peripheral parts and cleaning tanks, but eventually start replacing whole assemblies themselves. In addition, you occasionally go out into the field for the recovery of old tanks utilizing metal detectors, ground penetrating radar, and even drones.
The visuals are fairly good for the tanks and the shop itself. The field trips you take show the primary focus being on the mechanic side of the game. The ground cover, foliage, and water effects are fairly rough.
Each individual tank presented here however is lovingly recreated and true to reality, showing individual parts and allowing the player to interact with most of them. The parts lists for the tanks represented in the game are fairly extensive, but do not go into exhaustive detail. For example, you will not be ordering a gross of a specific size of nut or bolt just to reassemble a tank you have recovered from the field. It is more of a matter of broader strokes to accomplish a build.
While working in the shop you will be soothed by the radio playing classic rock tunes without any vocals. It acts as a nice back drop as you look through parts on the computer, as you search for the tool you just dropped into the pit beneath the tank, or as you sit back and admire a job well done.
The sounds of the tools working on the tank, and out in the field, are appropriate and somewhat satisfying as you watch rust and paint disappear as you clean the tanks down to the steel gray they had off the assembly lines. You also get to paint the tanks after cleaning them up, and it’s amusing to see these machines in bright red primer before laying down the next layer.
If you are looking for something exciting to play, this is not the simulator for you. It is fairly slow paced and methodical as you execute each function of a tank repair job or extraction. The extraction jobs could do with a little more hunting added to them, perhaps a description of the location rather than handing it to you on your tech pad. Right now you just walk or drive over to the area where the tank is said to be located, indicated by a grayish circle on the map, head directly to the center of the circle with your metal detector and plant a flag when the beeping is at its highest pitch. At that point you can choose to go grab your shovel then/or use the tech pad to call it in.
Eventually you will even be able to take your tanks out for a spin on the range, a true test of whether or not you’ve put everything back together correctly.
If you like tanks in general and want to simulate getting your hands on one, and if you find a little bit of Zen in the process of repairing things, I recommend Tank Mechanic Simulator. I found it satisfying as each project got more and more in depth until you ended up hunting the last iota of rust to get the indicator bar all the way up to 100%.
Tank Mechanic Simulator earns 4 out of 5 GiN Gems. We enjoyed bringing these historic beasts back to life, and think that you will too.