Tonka Monster Trucks
Tonka Monster Trucks is, to put it basically, a virtual playground for your virtual Tonka truck. If like me you had a Tonka truck as a child you'll have fond memories of it. I used to push mine down the stairs and watch it roll, noisily, to the bottom and when I went down the stairs to retrieve it, it didn't even have a small dent on it and the robust yellow paintwork hadn't in the slightest way been chipped.
The game is squarely aimed at the very young gamers and offers you a quick start mode, a career mode and the options to edit tracks or trucks, print out things such as your license, screenshots and certificates. The quick start mode allows you to get into a stunt event or race quickly. One thing that must be noted here though is that the races are mere time trials as you are on your own and the goal is simply to record the fastest time. This is kind of a disappointment as it can get boring really quick with no opposition.
Career mode is where most of the time will be spent. This is were you can access the tutorial from, which is not subtitled, as well as the track editor and truck editor. In career mode each track has a challenge and if you complete that challenge then a certificate is awarded and another track becomes available to play. You can perform various stunts to achieve points. Instead of awarding you points though what actually happens is that you are awarded stars for your performance. Achieving 1 star is poor while 5 stars means you are a real crowd pleaser. As a rather nice touch you can turn on auto-tricks and simple tricks in the options menu and this makes the game a lot easier for a small child.
The editors in the game offer very limited functionality. The track editor doesn't enable you to create a track from scratch but does allow you to place obstacles in selected places upon the track. The truck editor is a little more functional. You can change the appearance of your truck as well as the engine. The editors are simple enough to use although the older child might find it a little too simplistic.
There are four methods of control that can be used. You can use the keyboard, a mouse, a gamepad or the Tonka Dig 'n Rigs Playset. The keyboard and mouse are a little awkward for a small child though and the suitability of the gamepad will depend on what gamepad you have. If you happen to own the Dig 'n Rigs Playset then you will see the game in a whole different light as it is fully compatible with it and a small child will love being able to control the truck with the small steering wheel.
Graphically the game isn't a stunner by any stretch of the imagination. The graphics are OK though and it does have the added bonus of being able to run on a low specification PC.
lack of subtitling does put a dent in the game's suitability for deaf
gamers. We mentioned earlier that the tutorial is unsubtitled and there
are no subtitles to be found anywhere in the game. The menus consist of
hotspots on the screen and these are all tooltipped (text pops up when
you place the mouse over one of the hotspots) so you can navigate the
menus OK. The game doesn't suffer too badly for the lack of subtitling
though but it is still a shame that the subtitling
Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10 Tonka Monster Trucks is one of those titles where you really need the right controller. For a small child who owns the Dig 'n Rigs Playset this title could offer many hours of fun. If your child has to rely on the keyboard or mouse though it will feel completely different to them and they may not enjoy it as much.
Deaf Gamers comment: No subtitling in the game. Apart from the tutorial mode this isn't too much of a problem though.