Monster Truck Championship (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Racing game
Developer: Teyon
Publisher: NACON
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Monster Truck Championship (Switch) – Review

Site Score
Good: Large amount of customisation options
Bad: Awkward physics
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)

WIth Monster Truck Championship, publisher NACON is set to deliver the smell of gasoline, roaring engines and high octane stunts of these powerful vehicles to a console near you. NACON isn’t a lightweight when it comes to racing titles, but since monster trucks are a different breed of car than WRC’s rally vehicles, we were intrigued by this new title. We took place behind the wheel of these vehicular behemoths to find out whether Monster Truck Championship is a competition worth participating in. 


There is no actual story to be found here. Career mode probably comes closest to any semblance of a narrative but even so, it’s only there as a framework to present the various arenas. 


It’s hard to really judge Monster Truck Championship on its graphical merits as there is such a huge disparity between the screenshots of the Switch version and those on other platforms. From what we can see, the Switch port is very poorly optimized. Graphics have been toned down to cram the game onto Nintendo’s hybrid console. Even so, the game’s graphical performance is still very bad. While we can’t outright compare this version to the PS4 or Xbox One releases, we’d be surprised to see the framerate tanks as much as it does here. During races with lots of trucks on screen, it becomes especially noticeable just how bad performance is. Given the extreme gameplay precision that is needed sometimes, Monster Truck Championship can become an exercise in frustration simply because of the terrible framerate. As such, if the game interests you at all, we highly advise you to pick up the title on any platform other than the Switch. 


The main thing to note here is how barren the soundscape is. While you’re racing, there is a complete lack of music, for example. This feels like a bit of a throwback to racing games of the late 90s, but we felt that this is a very strange choice in 2020. We don’t expect Nacon to fork out the cash to add licensed music to their title, but even a generic rock soundtrack would’ve been better than nothing at all. What is here is the sound of roaring engines while you’re performing stunts or racing, of course, but even this sounds underwhelming given the size of the vehicles. 


While most people would define Monster Truck Championship as a racing game, there are several elements to it that make it feel like a simulation game as well. No matter how you look at it, however, there are plenty of things to do here. The core experience is in the Career mode, of course, where you’ll be able to enjoy monster truck action in 25 arenas. There is a decent variety here: you’ll not only race against other monster trucks, but you’ll be challenged with performing stunts as well. Career mode is structured around events, with each event providing five different challenges. These challenges include race, drag race, time trial, freestyle and destruction. Before you can start your lustrous career, however, you’ll need to get to grips with the trucks. There are some basic tutorials provided, but most of these are structured around simply trying stuff out, with the game telling you what you need to do but not telling you how to do it. This hands-on approach is fun at first, but a little more guidance would have been welcome, especially during the later challenges. 

Of course, a game like this is really defined by its physics, more so than a standard racing title. Doing stunts is an essential part of the monster truck experience after all. Unfortunately, we felt Monster Truck Championship failed to truly deliver on this. Controlling a truck simply doesn’t feel like you’re getting behind the wheel of a powerful four-wheeled monster. We’d refrain from going as far as to say the game is a ragdoll physics experience but it does get very close at times. In the early stages, you’re likely to tip over your truck simply by making a U-turn, and it really takes some time to get used to maneuvering in such a way that you can navigate a course without ending up upside down. 

Things get slightly better as you progress through the game, as you grow your funds and earn new upgrades. Speaking of upgrades, this is where Monster Truck Championship really shows its strength. There is a tremendous amount of customization in play here. You’re not just looking at cosmetic and mechanical tweaks, but cash can also be spent to enhance your racing team itself, adding some depth here that you won’t find in most other racing titles. Team upgrades modify your overall stats and are independent of the individual trucks you’ll be driving along the way. Each team member brings their own specialties to the table. For example, if you’re short on cash you should look into hiring a logistics manager. This guy will then lower the entry fee for any races you wish to participate in. You can also earn sponsors, but this is slightly trickier than just hiring them, as you’ll need to complete certain objectives to show a sponsor just how good you are to earn their approval.

There’s a decent amount of content here, and monster truck fans will find themselves easily spending dozens of hours if they’re completionists as things get especially tricky on higher difficulties. If you’re only a casual fan of the whole monster truck experience, however, we’re not sure if this title is worth your time as it’s not all that accessible. While a huge part of the issues we have with the game can be traced back to poor optimization for the Switch version, others, such as the awkward physics, seem inherent to the base experience. 


Die-hard fans of monster trucks are going to want to pick up this game, but if you are one of those, chances are Monster Truck Championship was already on your radar anyway. For the rest of us, the game is probably a bit of a mixed bag. The large amount of content and deep levels of customization are fantastic, but the game’s lack of accessibility and awkward physics do mean that you’ll need to really put in some work if you want to master the ability to drive a monster truck. Either way, we’d advise you to steer away from the Switch version and go for any of the other platforms instead. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Monster Truck Championship (Switch) - Review, 4.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

1 Comment

  1. […] again, we advise reading our earlier reviews first. For the handheld version on the Switch, click here, for the PC/PS4 review, click here. We were quite eager to see how this one fared on the […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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