There are very few objectively shit games. The actual amount of games where you can legitimately say “Wow, this is an actual piece of garbage. I’d rather take a brillo pad to my testicles than play this.” is, as a percentage of all games released, very low. 

In a perfect world, we’d all be a bit more objective and balanced and would be able to take something, see the value in it but observe that there are elements of it which make it unappealing or even unsuited to their tastes and therefore not bad, as such, but not compatible with their gaming mindset. 

It would be better if people could go something like “I can see the obvious merit in this piece of electronic entertainment, but it is not for me.”  instead of repeatedly mashing their face against the keyboard in a fit of vitriolic rage and spite.

All of this is basically me saying Main Assembly is not a bad game but it’s also not a game I enjoy.

Main Assembly is a physics based sandbox creation game. You’re given a box full of components with which to build all sorts of contraptions, vehicles, and machinery. You can then either go to the Sandbox mode to build something incredibly daft that may or may not work (depending on your grasp of physics), or have a stab at the decent enough challenge mode where you have to design and build a robot to complete a list of tasks. Complete the tasks and you’re rewarded with new components to build with, as well as cosmetics to put on your admittedly adorable controller drone.

Chill af.

And the scope of what you can build, while I would say it’s not vast at the moment, is very impressive nonetheless. Mainly it’s just ground and flying vehicles, although a quick look on the Steam workshop shows some people having a good go at making mechs and robots.

The aerial vehicles are particularly intimidating with various propellers, boosters and engines available but also the ability to program the vehicles, which (as my pea brain understands it) is necessary to at least get them to move.

Programming land based vehicles is simple as assigning keys to functions (A/D for steering, W/S for accelerate and brake), but this uncovers the inherent problem with Main Assembly for me; I don’t enjoy any of that and it makes me feel stupid.

Oh there are some actual, objective problems with the game; like the fact the tutorial pretty much gives you the very basics and then spits you out to figure out most things for yourself. It’s a bit like showing a non-driver the basics of how a car moves and steers, then putting them behind the wheel with the engine running and then releasing the handbrake at the top of a very steep hill. And that’s just the creation part, it’s probably best I don’t try to explain the programming functions.

 And then sometimes it will just forget the basic programming for steering and you have to reprint your vehicle back at the start of the course you’re trying to finish. Or if you change the components the programming is forgotten and you either have to delete and reapply the offending parts or reprogram them.

 The camera is temperamental and it can be something of a chore to work in the 3D space to shape your creations to your vision. Trying to extrude something often sends it the wrong direction and you’re constantly tweaking the camera angle.

 Plus the physics, as is the case with most of the games like this, do not work well with your stupid creations. What do you mean my winged monster truck won’t fly straight? It’s not that heavy!

The physics model is something I really can’t comment on because in the context of aerodynamics, kinetic motion and a whole load of other scientific principles I am unbelievably out of my depth. However I do know that your creations shouldn’t spin wildly out of control when you spawn them in because something has made the physics shit the bed.

I only put the forks on. I did not like that at all.

 The way you shape your creations in the game is strong and versatile, despite camera niggles. Extruding and bending the shapes has made for some incredibly impressive models on the Steam Workshop already. There’s a variety of materials you can apply to your creations to increase or decrease weight plus all sorts of joints and brackets to unfetter your inner mechanical genius.

And that’s where this game lies, with those that want to strike out in a certain direction to achieve whatever bonkers invention springs into their brain, and for those people it’s grand. 

To be honest a review of something like this, an early access physics based creative sandbox type dealy, is a bit superfluous to requirements. They’re constantly updating it and improving it so most of the criticisms should be irrelevant eventually, and it’s the type of game you’re either going to be on board with as soon as you know if its existence or you’re not going to be fussed.

If you’re like me and your enjoyment comes from being given a defined objective and the tools to achieve that objective there’s a chunk of game here in the challenges that’s enjoyable and satisfying, but ultimately frustrating due to the lack of tutorial about how the advanced mechanics work. However if you like that AND you’ve got the whole mad inventor shtick going on in your head it’s a good toolbox for your ideas to spring forth from.

Liked it? Take a second to support Mental Health Gaming on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!