Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a game developed by We’re Five Games and published by TinyBuild. While the former is a relatively new developer, the latter is a publisher who came into the mainstream and found success with the “Hello Neighbor” release on all major platforms. Together they, originally, released the title in 2019 through Epic Store, but the game is catching a breath of fresh air through its re-release through Steam on April 1st. The game is being marketed as:
“(…) a ragdoll physics simulation about terrible package delivery couriers. Work together using odd machinery, useful gadgets, and the wonders of physics to reliably deliver packages to their destination.”
With the recent news that Death Stranding might get an extended edition on PS5 or a sequel, all I could think is that if you take Death Stranding and the infamous QWOP game and throw it in a blender, what you get is Totally Reliable Delivery Service.
Totally Reliable Review
Putting it bluntly, I believe that this title misses the mark, it is neither here nor there, and this indecisiveness puts the game into the limbo of the gaming world. The game feels too childish and overly simplistic to attract veteran gamers, and mechanically complex enough to be a barrier for younger gamers.
Developer, as well as a publisher, have this quirky, fun, and friendly banter going on through their marketing efforts, community management, and earlier titles, so I get where they are coming from. “Let’s create a game called Totally Reliable Delivery Service, but make it as unreliable as possible”. Mission accomplished.
There are multiple ways to play, you can play it locally in single-player mode, or split the screen with another player. You can play it online by joining a lobby, creating a lobby, or using the Remote Play function provided by Steam. Single-player serves only as a way to learn the mechanics and immediately swapped to co-op mode.
Before you do anything, the game will prompt you to connect a controller, do yourself a favor, and follow their suggestion. For review purposes, I played a couple of hours on keyboard + mouse configuration, and that experience only pushed the clunkiness of a game designed to be clunky over the edge. The game is clearly optimized for controllers, and plugging one in made the experience a lot more enjoyable. Either way, the game doesn’t go in-depth on how it should be played, and by design or mistake invites trial and error as your learning method.
The game is fairly simple: make the deliveries marked on the map, get compensated, use the money to unlock vehicles, look for collectibles, explore new areas and do it all over again. Here is where I need to give props to the developers, exploration is just effortless and natural, at no point did I feel the map was empty or that moving around was going to be tedious, every single area felt different and unique.
Aside from the deliveries, there are some mini-games, unique events, and vehicles peppered around the map for extra content. But, they are just extras that add little to the overall experience of the main game.
Different deliveries require different vehicles, and there are a lot of vehicles to discover, from buggies all the way to space rockets, there’s no shortage of them. This variety helps keep the game fresh but also throws the difficulty of deliveries all over the place. Deliveries can be as straightforward as walking and lifting, and as complex as delivering a flying package to the top of a bridge column without a landing pad. Honestly, I still don’t know how to fly a Helicopter properly.
Deliveries are divided into two styles and completing them yield gold, silver, or bronze trophies as well as some cash. The first style is Time-Trial, where the game awards you based on delivery time, and the second one is by damage, which rewards you by delivering packages as close to 100% integrity as possible. If you’re a competitive person, and a completionist, there’s a chance you’ll find the challenges a little addicting, and see yourself doing re-runs of deliveries multiple times.
Cooperating with friends surely adds to the fun factor of this game, as it provides multiple laughs about how awful everyone is at this game. It also unlocks some unique events and activities that give out unique cosmetics.
This is surely where the heart of the game resides, not so much as the cooperation per se because each player can do their own thing on different parts of the map, without really needing to cooperate. Yet, the awkward animations, controls, and physics pays off here and becomes the basis for laughter and fun, played in a group this game becomes something entirely different.
I was pleasantly surprised by the experience that I shared with my friends and family. And, having Remote Play enabled ensures that not everyone needs to own a copy of the game to be able to play. So if you are going to play this game, do yourself a favor and find some friends.
Graphics are pretty, well-designed, and fit perfectly within the game’s proposal, without demanding too much from computers, it should run smoothly on most setups. During this review, I didn’t experience any input lag, frame drops, or any problems, aside from the occasional clipping issue.
On the game design side of things, I did find myself randomly jumping and getting thrown into the air, getting stunned without any reason and frustrated that sometimes the game wouldn’t realize I had failed a delivery. This meant that I had to reset manually multiple times, or land so far away from my original delivery point that I’d have to do the walk of shame back to the starting point.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a fun game to distract yourself, but don’t go in expecting anything else. While being unreliable is part of the appeal, controls and movements just feel unnatural, and sometimes unnecessarily complex, this is aggravated by the fact the game refuses to provide any guidance or assistance at all.
After a while the core mechanics and delivery trials become entertaining, but they are not enough to keep players returning. With only 130 deliveries, 24 achievements, and an average completion time of 10-hours replayability feels low. Honestly, the main factor for replayability relies on the cooperative modes, and the amazing Remote Play features that steam offers.
The strong aspects of the level design, challenges, and exploration are lost within the single-player mode but shine by providing laughter and fun when experienced with friends. Ultimately, there isn’t anything drastically wrong or right, making this well-intentioned game fun, but unremarkable in the end.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service will be available on Steam, on April 1st.