Welcome to one of the most divisive games I’ve ever had to review: Totally Reliable Delivery Service. Never before have I been so confused about how good or awful a game is, and just quite how to score it, but here is my attempt anyway.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a game also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and mobile devices, but for this review I played the game entirely on a base PS4. Developers We’re Five Games have clearly taken inspiration from games such as Gang Beasts and Human: Fall Flat, both to its success and detriment. So, what exactly is this game all about?
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – You work for a delivery service with the freedom of a colourful open world to go and do whatever deliveries you want in whatever order you wish. Death Stranding this isn’t though, nor is it trying to be, this is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, and if you’re going to get the most enjoyment out of it, neither should you. Read on to find out why this is both the most hilarious and frustrating game I’ve played in a while.
There’s no story in Totally Reliable Delivery Service, you just design a character, spawn and go. With every delivery that you do, you earn in-game cosmetics to give you a bit more freedom to tweak how your weirdly fat character looks, with you being able to do some truly bizarre designs. So, you’re in the game, what now? Well, that’s just it – You’re dumped in the game and left on your own, which is by far the best way to start the game. Also, the less you see of the game before you play it the better because you’re in for some amazing laughs… As long as you’re playing with someone else, as we will go into a bit later.
Visually the game is super colourful at the expense of a little lacking in detail. It’s not the biggest map in the world but there’s quite a lot to do, with tons of vehicles, locations and there are even some little easter eggs to find across the islands such as a certain blue spiky hedgehog or an infamous powerful hammer. You can even play rocket league! Except there’s no ball just rocket cars, but it’s close enough. With the DLC, there are two added islands: Cyberfunk and Stunts Island. These locations are quite interesting, each adding new ways to travel and interact with the world.
Personally, I preferred the stunts DLC, just because it’s much easier to navigate than Cyberfunk and there are some nice little pickups that you can use there as well as some fun Hollywood-like sets to use for all your crazy shenanigans. It’s worth noting as well that if trying to platinum the game, while not adding any more trophies, the DLC actually makes obtaining the platinum much easier by giving you 30 extra deliveries to do, rather than forcing you to complete all 100 deliveries in the base game. However, try to not worry about trophies because it transforms your experience completely…
My advice, ignore the missions and use the option to play with up to three other friends as much as possible. I can honestly say playing this game made me laugh like I’ve never laughed before. Call me childish but having an ability to dive headfirst on the floor and fart on command was a revelation to me; more games should do it! Another silly thing that tickles me is just how wobbly your character model is. You have one seriously jelly ass and belly and it has a mind of its own as you run around the map.
Speaking of, having the freedom of the world is what gives the game the ability to be absolutely hilarious. One minute you can be flinging yourself off a Ferris Wheel across the map, while the next you can be shooting your friend out of a cannon. It’s complete mayhem and truly hilarious. I played with two friends and we all laughed so hard that our stomachs physically hurt and we had tears rolling down our faces. The wobbly physics and just how insanely broken everything is in Totally Reliable Delivery Service makes trying out vehicles and grabbing each other some of the best fun you will find in a game.
Just see how long you can last driving one of the three-wheeler cars without topping over, or how far you can fall by flying as high as possible then bailing. The fun is in trying whatever you can think of and watching it go badly wrong. Although, of course, this has its downsides…
The problem with Totally Reliable Delivery Service is, well, with the deliveries themselves. Firstly, other than trophies, the rewards for the deliveries are a little disappointing. You earn an in-game currency that lets you spend it on skins for vehicles which I don’t think even the most hardcore of customisation fans will be interested in. The cosmetics you earn for the character are fun enough, but a lot of people will want to design virtual versions of themselves, so they will also be left feeling short-changed once they’ve chosen their design. However, the biggest problem with the deliveries is in the design of the delivery process itself.
This is a game that clearly wants you to play with friends, yet the deliveries are completely pointless with friends. There’s very little you can actually do to help one another. It’s usually a case of a friend is hanging onto the side of a helicopter as you fly around in the hope that you don’t crash and blow up the gas canister you’re delivering for no apparent reason. In fact, more often than not you can end up costing each other the delivery which only adds to the frustration in the game. When you start taking the game seriously, the fun is completely sapped. The deliveries are nothing short of a pain in the arse.
When you design a game in such a way that anything can happen, anything does happen and it usually ends in rage-inducing accidents or glitches. If you’re going to play the game for trophies, checking guides to look at how easy it is, be prepared for a tricky and annoying experience. The game would actually be better served not having trophies, as going for the platinum in this game has killed off all the love I had for it when I started playing it just for fun.
Why are the deliveries a pain you ask? Where to begin. Firstly, the control scheme is intentionally very fiddly. Your triggers represent your grips in each corresponding hand, with the bumper buttons allowing you to raise your arms and your packages in the air. This is okay when it works, which is not very often. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself trying to pick up an object to transport that is actually too low to the floor for you to actually pick up. Yes, you could potentially lean over, using the ‘dive’ button to pick them up, but it much easier said than done, trust me.
Next, the game is very momentum-based. Just hopping into a car can take up most of your delivery time simply because you can’t just jump in and be on your way. You have to load the parcel in the back, get in the vehicle, figure out the obscure controls by literally grabbing the wheel and sticks with your hands, then you also have to worry about the physics within the game affecting your stability and keeping the package in the backseat. Imagine the frustration when what you’re transporting is a bomb or gas canister, which explodes when they aren’t treated very carefully. It’s hard to be careful when literally everything is designed to throw you out of your vehicle. There are even grates on the floor that explode when you drive over them which sends your vehicle and, more importantly, your package, off flying into the distance – just like Team Rocket.
The most frustrating thing though is that the game has some technical issues that also impede your deliveries. There are two major issues that you will always experience. The first is getting your limbs caught inside other objects with no way of getting out except respawning back at the start of your journey. The other is that huge amount of pop-in that happens, and I’m not talking textures or details. I’m talking about entire mountains, buildings and monuments appearing before its too late for you to dodge them. I realise this isn’t a game meant to be about striking visuals or environmental storytelling, but just having a game that functions consistently is surely a must.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is truly an enigma, what makes it so brilliant is what also makes it so damn frustrating. I would recommend the experience to all of my friends, as I really did experience laughs that I’ve never had before, but due to the frustration it caused me, I wouldn’t wish the game on someone I mildly dislike. The way to obtain the most fun is to simply mess around with other people and experiment with new and unique ways to deliver the packages, I definitely didn’t have the patience to be the postman it wanted me to be.
If you’re not a trophy hunter then definitely invite your friends, especially now during the semi-lockdown, as we all need a good laugh. If you’re buying this for the actual game then don’t get me wrong, you will get the platinum through sheer stubbornness but you’ll feel like you’ve actually been to work all day and right now, who needs that? Embrace its stupidity and you’ll fall in love for sure. Just don’t expect to feel the same after 130 deliveries. Totally Reliable Delivery Service reliably delivers the laugh, it just doesn’t quite arrive in a well-rounded package.