I love simulation games, they let you jump into the shoes of another person and become someone else for a few hours. However, there are two types of ‘simulations’, there are the ones which get really in-depth and detailed, such as Train Sim World and Bus Simulator, then we have games like Mountain Rescue Simulator which take a casual approach to the genre, simplifying all aspects down to a single push of a button in most instances. Both formats have their audience but they both have their own advantages and disadvantages as well.
Developed and published by United Independent Entertainment (UIE), Mountain Rescue Simulator is just one of a number of ‘simulation’ games which have been both created and published by the company over the years. I personally went into the game knowing that I wasn’t going to get the same quality as the two titles I mentioned above, but I still left underwhelmed and a bit disappointed. The blurb on the store page was exciting and tempting, but it didn’t match up to the experience being presented to me.
So, let’s take a look at what I did and didn’t like about Mountain Rescue Simulator…
Mountain Rescue Simulator is more of a fetch quest than a simulator, although I guess you could call it a fetch quest simulator? It promised ‘Dramatic rescue operations’ and the chance to save people in ‘precarious situations’, but that simply meant I had to get changed, jump into one of the vehicles, drive to a marker on the map, then either pick up the injured person and take them to hospital or perform simple first-aid THEN take them to hospital. Every single one of the twenty missions played out exactly the same with the only variations being what vehicle I had to drive and the location of the casualty.
Now, I wasn’t expecting much, as there’s only so much you can do with these first responder ‘simulators’, but variety and excitement were the two key things it really needed. The game regularly repeated the same mission within the same few locations, so you get a strong sense of deja vu after only playing for an hour or two. Had the game let me go out looking for injured people, made me think about what tools to use and vehicle to take, or just been a bit more diverse with the injured people by not requiring everyone to go to the hospital, it would have been much more entertaining.
I did, however, invent my own storylines and humour. Today I’ve put out my review for Ski Jumper Pro VR, a VR ski jumping game on PSVR. I also put out Ski Sniper, a game in which you take aim and shoot skiers as they jump off the ramps – to which I said it was like a companion game. Well, in Mountain Rescue Simulator you have to regularly go to the ski ramp to tend to injured skiers, so I pretended that they were the victims from the sniper who was shooting the guys from Ski Jumper Pro VR! …It made me laugh.
As I said above, Mountain Rescue Simulator is all about completing fetch quests – which wouldn’t be so bad if the game didn’t spell it out for you. I have a pet peeve for games which tell you exactly where to go and what to do, it defeats the object of playing a game if you’re simply doing a dot-to-dot or painting by numbers – it leaves no room for imagination and exploration. That was one of my main issues with the game, you’d get a mission from one of your colleagues then it’ll literally tell you exactly what to do and where to go. Even the ‘search and rescue missions’ weren’t really a search because the game had a marker where the person was lay.
My biggest issue though was the hospital visits. Now, I’m sure that real Mountain Rescuers do take the injured to the hospital when they’ve had a serious accident, but every mission had me drive the incredibly slow vehicles to the hospital (which was on the other side of the map) then all the way back to complete it. But, it’s hard to get too annoyed with aspects like this as it’s a ‘simulator’ – I imagine their vehicles would be slow on the snow.
Once you’ve completed all twenty missions (I have, there’s no platinum though, only 100%) then the game unlocks free-play mode. However, it’s not as dynamic as you’d think (or hope for) – once in this mode, you simply go to either of the two houses at your base and one of your colleagues gives you a random mission to complete. It’s good that the game doesn’t just stop after doing the set scenarios, but without any more trophies or enticements, I didn’t feel the urge to carry on playing much more once I’d finished the game.
As I’ve said a few times, I wasn’t expecting the level of quality we see in simulation titles such as Train Sim World, Bus Simulator, Construction Simulator 2 or even House Flipper and Car Mechanic, as I’d seen a few simulation games from the same publisher before. As such, the simplistic textures, blocky buildings, robotic animations, and hip-shaking walking didn’t bother me – it gave it that stereotypical ‘simulator’ charm, the image everyone thinks of when they hear the word ‘Simulator’.
However, there were a few aspects I wish had received a bit of polish before release. First of all, the English translation and speed of the subtitles. There’s not a lot of talking outside of your colleagues telling you about the mission, but it’s clear the dialogue wasn’t translated by a native English speaker – it seemed almost like it may have been run through Google translate.
Just touching on the same thing, the actual speed of the text box (before it closes) was also not timed correctly as a lot of them closed before I’d got anywhere near the end. I presume the timing is based on the native language (which I think is German) and wasn’t adjusted for the other languages.
The final quality issue is in regards to the controls themselves. First, there was no invert y-axis option (which is essential for me so I had to use my NACON Revolution Unlimited Pro controller and force the option in there). Secondly, it seemed like there was a delay in certain actions once I pressed the button. The game also presumed you memorised the various vehicle controls so it doesn’t remind you how to do things such as attaching carts (Down on the D-pad).
What did I like?
Okay, so this review so far has been quite negative so let’s talk about what I liked. I opened this review with “I love simulators”, there’s just something about them which I find fun and entertaining, Mountain Rescue Simulator was no exception. Yeah, the requirement to take everyone to the hospital was annoying, and the repetition of tasks got a little boring and monotonous, but I found it rather therapeutic.
These types of games, for me, are great to simply put on, do one or two missions, then have a break from them for a few days. They require no skill, no thoughts, you don’t have to recall what you did last time, and time vanishes as you’re working your way through them. As such, if I have some YouTube videos lined up, or a TV show I want to watch, I’ll usually put on a simulation game and play it as I watch the show – I very rarely only do one thing at a time.
So, despite its flaws which I’ve mentioned above, my personal opinion is that it did its job at keeping me entertained – however, simulators are a niche market so if you don’t like what I wrote above, this may not be a game for you.
Despite the monotony, simplistic visuals, broken English, and hand-held gameplay, I thought Mountain Rescue Simulator had some charm to it. I’d highly recommend breaking up the game and playing a few missions at a time, rather than the whole game at once, as there’s a lot of repetitious tasks which you have to complete throughout the twenty missions. Simulation games aren’t for everyone, this is one of the lower budget titles which isn’t really ‘simulating’ the ins and outs, it’s merely emulating the experience with a more simplistic approach. It’s hard to specifically recommend the title to anyone due to the target audience for these games – if you like what you see and read above, then check it out!
Mountain Rescue Simulator£24.99
- - Simplistic gameplay which anyone of all ages and skill levels can play
- - Completing the twenty missions will take a while, followed by the endless mode
- - I personally enjoy games like this as they help me relax
- - The visuals are very basic with no physics from what I could see (driving down the side of cliffs)
- - The tasks repeated themselves, making the career mode repetitive when playing for a few hours at a time
- - The English dialogue didn't seem right, it was presented in broken English at times and the dialogue boxes close too fast
- - The game holds your hand through every missions, giving you no freedom to deviate
- - The experience was more like a Fetch Quest Simulator than Mountain Rescue as everything was overly simplified and highlighted