[Review] Totally Reliable Delivery Service – Nintendo Switch

Written by Abram Buehner
  • Developer: We’re Five Games
  • Publisher: TinyBuild Games
  • Release Date: 01/04/2020
  • Price: £13.49 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by TinyBuild Games

Introducing: Totally Reliable Delivery Service Switch Review

With a group of friends, it isn’t too hard to find fun anywhere. Certainly, if my friends and I were able to eek enjoyment out of the back row in our Chemistry classroom, it is fair to say that fun is a product of company, not circumstance. However, the correct circumstances certainly help. Totally Reliable Delivery Service attempts to lay the foundation for hilarious multiplayer fun. Yet, its shortcomings make the game only as enjoyable as those who you chose to explore its open world with.

Package in Transit

In the simplest terms, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a sandbox archipelago punctuated by terminals full of packages that need to be brought to various people and establishments. The game doesn’t have a story or any real direction, it just has a lot of tasks for the player to complete. All of the tasks boil down to, “find a package, find its location, and bring it there.” There can be slight variation in structure, as some deliveries act as time trials, where other, more sensitive packages have to carefully shepherded to their destination. The size and shape of the item being delivered can change too, but the overall structure remains the same.

With such a straightforward gameplay loop, the game runs the risk of feeling incredibly repetitive. And, it does. However, the feeling the repetition inherent to the game’s design is delayed by its physics engine. In the vein of games such as Gang Beasts and Human: Fall Flat, Totally Reliable Delivery Service’s charm and appeal lies within its intentionally loopy, cumbersome mechanics. The lion’s share of the fun to be had in Totally Reliable Delivery Service is derived from the game’s hilarious lack of precision and control.

United Postal S.O.S

Your character wobbles and flops around, fumbling loosely with the interactive elements of the world. Aside from a jump and a dive that both see your character limply launched into the air, the game’s main mechanic is tied to the ZL/ZR triggers. Operating your character’s left and right hands respectively, holding down the triggers allows your character to grip onto a host of things, from the packages you need to deliver to the game’s suite of vehicles. From golf carts and dune buggies to airplanes and hot air balloons, you’ll spend most of the game cruising (or more aptly, fumbling) around in these on your way from point A to point B. Considering that your character is seemingly made out of Play-Doh and the vehicles—other than the rare few which hilariously and unnecessarily explode—are seemingly made of titanium, plenty of chaos ensues during deliveries.

What matters in Totally Reliable Delivery Service is that the mission is completed, not the method used to finish the task. As such, sometimes the best thing to do is fly a hot air balloon over the delivery site and then jump out of it with the package in hand, splatting impressively on the scene, and delivering the item as though nothing happened. Other times, the best thing to do is load the cargo into the bed of a truck and recklessly drive it through a metropolitan area, crest up over a hill, and then careen down onto the beach to complete the mission. Playing around with the physics and pulling off ridiculous feats in order to reach delivery locations is the lifeblood of Totally Reliable Delivery Service.

Of course, this chaos is amplified by the game’s host of technical issues. Your character will constantly get rag dolled, clip through objects, and generally disobey the laws of physics for no apparent reason. Vehicles will seemingly refuse to respond properly, sometimes exploding when they shouldn’t, or suddenly become difficult to control. During a typical play session, there are almost always moments of sheer surprise and amusement as something occurs that seems totally broken. It’s incredibly difficult to categorize these technical inadequacies as straight-up pros or cons. They add a goofy X-factor to the experience, but they undeniably leave the game feeling ridiculously unpolished.

Cooperative Chaos

The game’s quasi-broken physics engine feels significantly more enjoyable when playing this game in multiplayer, though. Simply put, with the right people, this is some of the most fun you can have playing multiplayer on Nintendo Switch. While the game supports both local and online multiplayer, during my review period, I played mostly local co-op with my younger sister. We were howling with laughter for much of the experience as we ran packages to delivery destinations and ran each other over in equal part, hilariously crashing vehicles and getting into all kinds of side-splitting scenarios. At one point, my sister’s character clipped through a flat-bed trailer, getting her stuck six ways from Sunday. I haven’t laughed that hard for a sustained period of time in quite a while.

With my sister, neither the game’s inherent repetition or the unpolished physics engine deterred us from finding incomparable fun in Totally Reliable Delivery Service. The game’s sandbox is expertly populated with vehicles and other curios for players to get up to no good with, and its open-ended design puts the gameplay focus on simply having fun in the world. Totally Reliable Delivery Service is most effective when considered as a digital playground to have fun in. The game’s flaws aren’t nearly as damning in co-op because every stumble in the experience is an opportunity for a huge laugh.

Final Thoughts

The trouble, though, with Totally Reliable Delivery Service is that when you remove multiplayer from the equation and try the game out in single-player, its flaws are painfully apparent. It is a very repetitive game, and its shoddy engine and lack of polish is frustrating, not fun. The game’s looping music and middling visual style are also far more grating when there isn’t constant banter and laughter propelling the experience.

The quality of experience you’ll get out Totally Reliable Delivery Service is entirely dependent on who you can play the game with. While the game does present the player with a solidly designed sandbox that offers plenty of opportunity for hilarity, the fact remains that this fun is built upon a very shaky foundation. Due to these underlying problems that plague the game, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a fantastic conduit for multiplayer chaos, but not a particularly compelling title by its own merit.

Pros

  • Excellent fun in co-op with the right people
  • Solidly designed sandbox world

Cons

  • Repetitive design and structure
  • Lacking polish

Verdict

Marred by underlying issues, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a multiplayer game full of potential, but it is only as fun as the people you play it with.

3/5

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