Blearily I woke up and started to scroll through Facebook, you know how it is – sometimes you just need your cute Cat video fix. I stopped at a friends post, it was a video of her son talking about his idea for a new video game. That friend was Brenda Romero and her son Donovan was painting a vivid picture of mutants, tacos and guns. This idea became Gunman Taco Truck and I knew I had to try it.
It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where we find that after a scientist clumsily placed his mug on a big red button, seven atomic bombs were unleashed upon an unwitting population. This results in mutant creatures being created and a ‘Mad Max’ style wasteland emerging. One of the survivors is an enterprising Taco Truck driver who sees new flavor opportunities in the new mutant population. So he sets off to feed hungry wasteland dwellers in his heavily armored Taco Truck across the USA, hoping to reach Winnipeg in Canada.
The story is told through an engaging cut scene which sets to tone for the graphical design. It’s a bright and detailed world which screams fun. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the comic book style approach to the game and the visuals just popped. There are two phases to the game. As you travel around the USA you can park your truck in whatever city you are visiting and serve Tacos, fuel up or purchase upgrades for your trusty truck.
When serving the Tacos, a lineup ensues with each customer demanding a form of Taco. As you progress your handy recipe book will assist you in preparing each of these tasty meals to a high standard. Keeping customers happy is one way to earn lots of cash and some extra dollars in the way of tips. If you take too long or you don’t get the order correct your customers will let you know how dissatisfied they are with your service and leave.
The second part of the game is where the gunman title comes into play. Getting to these locations is a often a challenging and dangerous journey. You and your truck have to brave the terrors of the road and gain ingredients for your Tacos by blasting mutants with your trusty machine gun. Soon angry wastelanders appear and evil cops determined to shut you down with nail tacks on the road and rocket launchers. Luckily you can also upgrade your weapons to make your truck a culinary powerhouse. This is achieved by shooting metal objects like signs and toxic bins and collecting the scrap. These can be used to barter for repairs, upgrades or even shiny new trucks at various outposts.
I’ve played the game around 5 times now, each failure making me thirsty for revenge against the mutant hordes and determined to get to Canada. On my first playthrough I found myself contemplating my customers as my truck exploded around me. That last stop, I didn’t have enough cheese for that one girls Taco. I swear she was so angry that she could have blown my head off there and then. Next time, I need to buy more cheese and rockets…lots of rockets.
The most enjoyable aspect of the game for me was the need to plan through each action. I was initially expecting a blast-fest which wouldn’t provided much of a cerebral challenge but I was wrong. This is a blast-fest which makes you think strategically. You can’t travel from city to city which out considering how far away it is or what kind of garage or store might be present. Also you must consider how many ingredients you have left for your tacos.
Travelling along you will find that these challenges escalate, gas prices rise and you need to sell more and more tacos to keep mobile. There’s also mini bosses you will encounter and if you don’t upgrade your truck at the correct time combat can become extremely difficult.
All of this adds up to an enjoyable, accessible and well designed Roguelike game. It’s not a simple distraction but rather an addictive and challenging romp across the wastelands. Humorous, visually attractive and it gave me a greater sense of why living in Canada will be important for the impending Taco apocalypse!