Transporting parcels grows tedious in Totally Reliable Delivery Service. The real enjoyment stems disregarding the game’s structure and just horsing around, especially with a group of friends.
Much like Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Surgeon Simulator, or Human Fall Flat, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is part of the growing ‘drunken physics’ genre. Each title provides players with a deliberately uncooperative input method, which feels like you’re controlling an inebriated character. With only a modicum of control, moving around and performing tasks is persistently difficult, and mistakes happen frequently. Naturally, this generates humorous situations, either for a room filled with friends or a Twitch stream.
But playing these games individually is about as entertaining as telling yourself jokes. Sure, there’s a slight sense of accomplishment in being able to accomplish basic tasks without failure, but gratification is woefully short-lived. Totally Reliable Delivery Service’s enjoyment is rooted in public performance, where others can laugh at every pratfall. So before even thinking about a purchase, partners (local/online) or viewers are a requisite.
Throw Those Arms Up (In Frustration)
Head into Delivery Service’s succession of missions and you’ll only find the briefest of instruction as you’re set loose in the open world. Moving your stout little character is accomplished with the left stick while your two diminutive arms are controlled with the triggers when played with a controller. If you’re using a mouse and keyboard, the default bindings are the WASD keys and the left and right mouse buttons.
Beyond the ability to jump, dive, raise your hands skyward and summon a few basic emotes, that’s the extent of the game’s control system. It’s simple but it’s obstinate enough to feel like you are relentlessly wrestling with objects and environment. And occasionally, you’ll literarily tussle with the colorful world, as polygon clipping happens regularly. Getting stuck in a motorized flatbed cart is funny, right? It’s a reoccurring punchline in Delivery Service.
To interact with objects, you’ll bring an appendage close- and hopefully a button hold automatically grabs the item. Moving around allows you to do things like ineptly carry packages or even work the controls in a car, plane, or helicopter. But everything is the game is deviously designed to create problems. Just loading a box in the back of a cart requires effort. And if the parcel isn’t properly positioned or you corner with a bit of speed, it will fly out, sending a trail on packing peanuts in its wake.
But even if you do play cautiously, the game goes out of its way to mess with you. Drive over a man-hole cover and it will explode skyward, tossing your cart and package about. Another devious trick is making the storage capacity of vehicles always a bit too small, making it feel like you’re tasked with stuffing a sofa in the back of a Honda Civic. Handles are placed on the bottom of aircraft for other players to hang-on, making an accidental mid-flight bail almost inevitable.
Improv Hot Air Balloon Sumo Matches
Totally Reliable Delivery Service’s errands will have you picking up and delivering parcels spread across its five islands and should you opt to purchase DLC, two additional ones. Expectedly, there’s a healthy amount of variety across the game’s landscape, with explosive barrels in need of transport and ramps for stunting with friends. The latter two elements allude to the autonomous possibilities of Delivery Service. Tired of the game’s fundamental assignments, a group of us started making our own freeform challenges, like seeing if players would wing-walk on a biplane or who could survive a shoving match in a hot air balloon gondola. This is where the title really shines. Ideally, the game would provide metrics for these kinds of antics. We’d love to see just how far our little wobbly character is thrown.
Performance-wise, players are going to have to deal with few issues. Across all platforms, Delivery Service’s camera can be a bit unruly, requiring periodic adjustment, typically while driving. Pop-in varies across system. While it’s largely cosmetic on a moderately powered PC, the sudden objects of objects can be an additional hazard while playing on the Switch in handheld mode. Pleasingly, the game prioritizes framerates and the limited number of polygons devoted to characters and environments means it’s fluid across each piece of hardware. Seeing a PC game that offers split-screen play in 2020 is always delighting.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service was played on Switch
and PC. Switch code was provided by the publisher.