Garage Band: Car Mechanic Simulator 2015

In the week that Project CARS released, I’ve spent far more time tinkering with the innards of motors than I have driving them. Just as I often prefer the time spent equipping and managing a squad of mercenaries to the bloody business of combat, it turns out I enjoy playing mechanic more than I enjoy the thrill of the race. During a weekend of ill health, I shied away from drama and spectacle, but did manage to fumble the lug nuts of Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 [official site]. It is absolutely delightful.

Kickstarted to the tune of $22,000 CAD, the game recouped its budget during its first eight hours on sale and has now received its first free DLC in the form of a European Youngtimer. It’s one of the rare ‘Simulator’ games that is far more than an exercise in absurdist tedium and improves on last year’s excellent release, with a stronger structure to support the lovely bodywork.

This is what you will spend your time doing.

As well as completing random jobs, as people come to you with their ailing vehicles, you can visit auctions to buy run-down cars to renovate and sell on – or build a collection of motors that you (sort of) built with your own two hands.

It’s the kind of game that I’m likely to start playing at the end of a day’s work (nothing more relaxing than pretending to do somebody else’s job for a while), only to find myself proudly finishing off a vintage restoration at 3am. I’d like to pretend I’d be listening to informative podcasts or interpretive car-jazz the whole time, but I enjoy the clicking and cranking sound effects too much to turn them off.


  1. Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

    As always, game music proves to be crucial to me. And this game is one of those games(space engineers too is a bit like this, but also its UI) that irritates and gives headaches.

    Seriously its bloody awful. I mean, world of guns has some slightly cheapo music as well, but at least its lower quality background music has some sort of charm to it. This game has gamebreaking music however(for me).

    • SIDD says:

      No option to turn down background music volume?
      (curious as I’m considering getting the game, but if I’m stuck listening to horrible elevator muzak then it might be a deal breaker for me too)

      • AbigailBuccaneer says:

        You can turn down – or preferably off – the music.

        The game provides you with a steady stream of mediocre dubstep. This is a game in which the aesthetic is wrapped up in macho “cars! grease! mechanics!”, but the actual gameplay is calmingly methodical and repetitive, and for me at least the music goes very well with the aesthetic but horribly with the gameplay.

        I’ve not played a lot of the game, but I can confirm that it’s infinitely improved by muting the music and putting on some soft ambient stuff.

        • SIDD says:

          Dubstep? *sigh* of course … but glad it can be muted!

        • Churba says:

          I was a mechanical apprentice in the past, and I’ve worked as a delivery guy for both junkyards and parts stores, so I can tell you one thing with utter confidence – I’ve never, ever, EVER walked into a mechanic’s shop that had a radio on, for them to be playing dubstep. It’s always, almost without exception, the local rock station, or some CDs/ipods/what have you of songs that would seem utterly normal if played on a local rock station.

          The furthest I’ve seen them stray from that was two shops that were all young blokes out in the workshop, where it was a mix of Rock and 90s Hip-Hop.

  2. Jonty says:

    As somebody who has previously worked as a car mechanic, I feel this gives an overly idealistic view of how easy it is to remove components. Would be more realistic with an RPG-style battle system to defeat seized nuts, recalcitrant wheel bearings etc.

    • J Arcane says:

      It does rather simplify the process, it’s true. Thanks to the interface I’ve had a spark plug change take as long as a suspension rebuild, and it doesn’t factor in stuff like parts delivery times, customer attitude, or unfixing someone else’s half-assed patch job.

      Still, its enjoyable nonetheless as a kind of automotive themes puzzle game, and I love the Fast n Loud angle they’ve added, I just wish it didn’t take so much grinding away on routine maintenance jobs to get to.

    • joeroyo says:

      I’m curious, ignoring the lack of the more frustrating and time consuming aspects of car mechanics, how accurate is the game when it comes to the problems/solutions and the accuracy of the cars systems etc? I.e. By playing the game am I actually learning about the internal workings of my car as someone with no car mechanics knowledge?

      • AbigailBuccaneer says:

        I’m no mechanic, but it seems to be fairly accurate according to what I know about cars.

        At the start of the game, each job gives you a description of the symptoms and a list of the parts that need replacing. Eventually (I can only assume as I didn’t play enough to find out, but it’s heavily implied), it removes the parts list and gives you only the symptoms.

        So it’s at least aiming for realistic mechanics with a learning curve.

      • Hone McBone says:

        I haven’t played this series but from the video it’s simplified & generalised, if you attempted something similar on your own car you’d find everything has a lot more bolts/washers/gaskets/circlips/grease. Also the order you’d be removing things is different & actually getting to components is a real hassle sometimes. Saying that though you’d get a decent understanding of the different parts & their locations. The easiest way to compare is looking at one of the many how to guides for car repair on youtube.

  3. Orija says:

    Sewage Cleaner Simulator when?

  4. hygroovy says:

    Do you actually get to drive the cars at all?

  5. Synesthesia says:

    (nothing more relaxing than pretending to do somebody else’s job for a while)

    Why is this? It’s bewildering.

    • Emeraude says:

      Games are extension of will. There is probably no single human activity you can’t turn into a game because of that – working retail ? Let’s see who can get the best item-per-minute !

      The difference with work is that there you have to deal with the wills of other.

      You can enjoy playing Densha de Go, because it’s the simulation of a work activity you can do on *your* terms. You start when you want, you stop when you want, and you don’t have to deal with customers and coworkers interfering with what you want to do pr how you want to do it.
      Any constraint you face within the game is one you’ve accepted subjugating yourself to, and actually want to.

    • X_kot says:

      I would suggest that part of it is the prospect of immediate proficiency in a craft that usually takes years to acquire in real life. Take Rock Band, for example: sure, the whole rocker lifestyle is appealing, but so is the fact that you can plink your way through “Smoke on the Water” ten minutes after first turning it on. Performing even a mediocre version of that on a physical guitar is more grueling and less glamorous.

  6. Axess Denyd says:

    Looks kinda interesting, but I am very, very disappointed in the lack of an impact wrench sound as the lug nuts are removed.

    That seems to me to be *the* iconic sound of someone working on a car.

    Now I need to figure out what they’re called in the UK. Probably a Stevenson Spin Key or something.

  7. Wisq says:

    Playing this now. The only thing that disappoints me — and this might be me misremembering the 2014 version — is that I seem to recall it used to let you do certain boneheaded things, like putting the car back together only to discover you’d missed some key internal part and you had to take it all apart again.

    This version seems to have a very strict hierarchy of parts, such that, while you might forget something at the top layer, you’ll never be able to put a layer on top until you completely fill in the lower layers. For example, you can’t reassemble the engine unless all the pistons are in place, and you can’t put the exhaust manifold back on until you’ve replaced the iginition wires.

    I agree it’s a good change for approchability, but it does eliminate some of those fun/frustrating “epic d’oh” moments.