Monster Jam: Steel Titans developed by Rainbow Studios and published by THQNordic is a fun, albeit hard to master, look into the world of monster trucks and provides fans with the ability to take the reins of their favorite vehicles while competing in events and arenas across the US.
Controlling a vehicle in Monster Jam: Steel Titans is quite different than other racers, so I was thankful that the game starts you at Monster Jam University for training before throwing you out to the wolves in the competitions. While the basics of driving are not hard, the huge tires and insane suspension on these vehicles make them feel almost weightless, leading to turns and other maneuvers handling far different than they would in Forza or other racing games.
This is particularly evident in turns. I learned early on to take turns slowly, focusing on when I needed to brake to allow my vehicle to slide correctly to cut the corner without going out of bounds or worse, toppling over.
But be aware, you will flip your vehicle. It’s so easy to do and occurs so often that it’d be in your best interest to figure out early on how to use the flips to your advantage to rack up extra points. Thankfully, you can recover easily from most flips by holding in one button and spinning, which is actually quite fun to pull off and I found myself doing at any chance.
After you complete your training or whenever you feel the urge to dive into the game proper, you will be presented with multiple choices. Career, Career+, Quick Play, or Split Screen.
Career mode is where the meat of the game is, allowing players to begin with basic outdoor racing tracks where they will compete for the top ranks before being allowed to move on to the Arena Trials, Arena Championships, Stadium Trials, Stadium Championships, and finally the World Championships.
Each race ramps up the difficulty in gradual amounts, eventually requiring you to place in certain ranks or to garner specific amounts of points, the highest score, or to perform specific tricks before being allowed to press on.
Players will compete in circuit races, waypoint races, freestyle tricks, and more throughout the many arenas and stadiums available. I found the Waypoint races to be my favorite due to the chaotic open world aspect they provided compared to the more subdued indoor events.
Circuit races are the basic drive around the track against other vehicles race, while waypoint races have you outdoors and chasing waypoints, and the freestyle sections have you indoors pulling off as many tricks as possible to garner the highest score. The variety of missions helps keep the game from feeling too repetitive as you work your way up the ranks.
After each match there is a post race report which summarizes how well – or how badly – you performed. Rewards are given for performance, including special bonuses. These rewards can be used to unlock new vehicles or to upgrade your existing vehicles.
Speaking of vehicles, there are 28 trucks and 17 additional downloadable trucks available, so players are sure to be able to find their favorite vehicle and to customize their vehicle of choice into something that fits their playstyle.
While there are quite a few races to complete in Monster Jam: Steel Titans, players mileage of entertainment will vary based on how much they enjoy the available races. While you do continuously work your way up into larger arenas, the core of the gameplay remains the same. You will find yourself completing circuit races, freestyle tricks, and waypoint races repeatedly, albeit in larger arenas or areas as you progress. While fun, I did find myself becoming a bit wary the longer I played – but I’ll be the first to admit I am not normally a fan of racing games.
That said, I enjoyed my time with Monster Jam: Steel Titans and found it to be quite hilarious to play along with a friend or even to just watch others play as chaos will almost certainly ensue for first time players as they wreck every few moments while learning the controls.
For fans of Monster Jam, racing simulators, or those just looking to blow off some steam, look no further than Monster Jam: Steel Titans available now on PS4, PC, and Xbox One.