STAFF REVIEW of Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 (Xbox One)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 Box art I’m a sucker for simulator titles, even with their generally terrible track record of being poorly optimized pc or mobile ports much of the time. Even still, I keep coming back for more, regardless of what odd, quirky or unique job it’s trying to simulate. Developed by Play2Chill and published by Ultimate Games, we now have Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021. Yes, you read that title right. It’s on the verge of 2024, and this is the title we’re now getting. If that doesn’t tell you the amount of effort and care that went into this port, oh boy, you’re going to want to keep on reading this review.

From its title, you can safely assume what Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 is all about. It’s you as a motorcycle mechanic trying to start your business by completing jobs for customers for payment. Continue to do well and you’ll keep earning more money. Maybe someone has a junker bike they want restored, or some will come in with requests for specific new parts or attributes like faster speed.

Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 falls in a weird spot because it is a simulator in many aspects, taking apart and building bikes back together piece by piece, but there also seems to be some inaccuracies as well. Now I’ll admit, I know nothing about motorcycles other than they usually ride the shoulder to bypass traffic at a standstill, so the beginnings were a little frustrating when I was tasked with replacing a certain part, unsure what that part is or where it’s actually located.

This is due to the lack of a worthwhile tutorial. Your first job shows you the basics, but leaves out a ton of other useful information that would have been quite handy to know. The game will teach you how to dismantle a bike, buy a few parts, and then put it all back together before leaving you on your own to play however you wish. Don’t expect any narrative here though, as you simply use your tablet to choose jobs from an ongoing rotating list, complete the job and move onto another. Finish the jobs and you’ll earn experience and money.

Now and then you’ll get a main mission which seems to unlock at certain progression points and levels. These are usually a little more involved and give you a dozen objectives for the job or so to complete. Side missions can vary from very quick headlight or handlebar changes that don’t have much of a reward, to a customer wanting a handful of completely new upgraded parts or fixes. Side missions seem to come and go quite quickly, constantly offering you a new job, but only lasting for a short time before it’s replaced with a new mission offering. This is fine, but you’re getting these new mission notifications quite often, even when currently working on a bike for a customer.

As a mentioned above, I’m not a gearhead by any means. I know the basics of automobiles like how to change a tire and refill the oil, but that’s about it. Tell me to point where a specific part is or what it does, and I’ll give you that blank stare. Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 isn’t here you teach you what each part does, where it’s located, or how it all works together. It simply expects you to know what every individual part is, where it’s located, and how to get to it to replace. This of course had me wasting quite a bit of time simply dismantling nearly the whole bike to find a certain part I need to replace, but unsure where exactly.

There are some tools to help you find broken and damaged parts, but you’re going to have to constantly wrestle against the terrible menus and controls to do so. In a certain view you can easily see these damaged parts being highlighted in red, though that’s only if you can see it from your viewpoint. What if it’s a gasket or something inside the motor and you don’t know what or where that piece is? You’ll have to do like me and randomly start dismantling the bike in hopes to find it. Highlighting over every piece and component will show it’s ‘health’ and some information of it the part which you can then decide to purchase a replacement, upgrade it, or repair it if you’ve progressed far enough.

The more you play the more XP you’ll earn, eventually unlocking perks and bonuses that will help you perform your job easier and quicker. For example, taking apart a bike completely fully earned me enough XP that I had my screwdriver skills level up and now that takes a shorter amount of time to do. There’s a whole skill tree system in place too that I’ve forgotten about numerous times, allowing you to unlock new perks and such as well, but this too was buried in menus and every now and then I would remember to check it to see what I could upgrade, like faster diagnostics or new equipment for the shop.

Career mode is where you’ll likely spend the majority of your time, but there is a sandbox mode where you don’t have to worry about money limits, simply building and fixing whatever you want. Run out of cash in the campaign though and you may need to take out a loan through your tablet. With a handful of non-licensed bikes and over 400 parts to customize with, there’s certainly a lot to delve into that might seem overwhelming at first, but in the shop you’ll have to choose which type of bike parts you’re looking for, then the category, then the individual part, so it’s not as daunting as you first realize. Don’t come into this looking for your favorite Harley, Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati or Honda bikes, though it’s clear which ones were inspired by which.

As you level up you’ll gain access to new areas. Ever wanted to rummage around a junkyard and find old parts to repair or use on your projects? Or maybe you’ll find an old junker bike that simply needs from TLC to be restored. You’ll be happy to know that’s possible here. Parts are categorized into Classic, Modern, Slick, Fancy, Epic and more, with the better parts costing more but usually giving some sort of stat increase, like acceleration or handling, or simply have a more unique look to them.

You can eventually repaint a majority of individual parts, even putting stickers on them, but the controls are sluggish and confusing at best. The controls though are just one component you’ll be fighting along your motorcycle repairing career. The camera at times has a mind of its own, zooming in so far that you’re inside the table or part, or out so far away that you can’t aim to properly use the screws. The cursor moves quite quickly, so fine adjustments are difficult if you’re too zoomed out.

While Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 has the basics of motorcycle repair down, there’s also some missing things, like not having jacks to support the bike when you take the wheels off. Sure that’s looking for something nitpicky, but if you have simulator in the title, people are going to expect it to be as close to the real life thing as possible. So what do you do after you complete your job before returning it to the customer? Well, you’ll want to make sure it rides smooth right? Yeah... about that.

You can test bikes in certain sections of the map, and this was where I really got a sense of how little effort was gone into the game and the first of a laundry list of bugs I ran across. You can ride the bike you just fixed or built, but it doesn’t matter how good of parts you chose or if everything is working perfectly fine, your rider will lean close to the ground like he’s inspecting the pavement, but your bike has the turning radius of a house. Oh you crashed the bike because of the atrocious steering? No problem, just hit the reset button like it prompts to. Nope, that doesn’t work. Oh look, you're also unable to access your tablet or do anything. The game isn’t frozen, but you can’t do anything. I hope you saved in the last while because the only fix is to hard quit out and restart from your last save. Oh you forgot to save I the last hour? Well, that sucks. Better remember next time.

This is also assuming the mission you were given allows you to have it completed. I had one bike where I needed to get the handling or braking to a rank of 40. I had well over that and the objective wouldn’t update, even after reinstalling the part and buying a new one. So I couldn’t progress and had to cancel that job.

The mechanics for actually dismantling and building the bikes works quite well (aside from the camera). Let’s say you want to take off the front wheel. Well you can’t simply do that, so it’ll be highlighted red when your cursor is over it in dismantle mode, but it will show the part that needs to be taken off beforehand, either in yellow or green. If it’s yellow that means another part needs to be taken off before that one, so on and so on. If it’s green, that’s basically the start of the chain of parts you can start removing. Assembling the parts is kind of in reverse, where it will show a white ghost-like part that you can install next, so you don’t need to remember any sort of order for the parts thankfully.

When you need to change a tire you use a machine to take the tire off the rim, and then place the new tire combination together. Before putting it on the bike you need equipment to balance the tires. Great, no problem right? Well, that’s if the game doesn’t decide to bug out and just not give you your tire back. Numerous occasions I’d just combined my rim and tire to have it balanced, only for it to ‘eat’ my wheel. Now I had no wheel, so I went and bought a new rim and tire and attempted again. Nope, gone once again. The only fix was a hard close and restart. Again, I hope you saved recently.

The same issue happened when I would paint a part, only for it to disappear for no reason. Again, another reset. Then with the repair table you can fix most broken parts to reuse them, but the menu wouldn’t work in letting me add them to the list or actually accept my choices. Another reset. I simply got into the annoying habit of saving before using any of the machinery other than on the bike itself, which became a chore. Even with my new habit, I’d forget to save now and then, only to lose all that progress when I had to restart because of a game breaking bug.

Bikes themselves look decent at best, which is to be expected when dealing solely with hundreds of parts close up, though there are times the textures are muddy and blurred. The soundtrack wasn’t nearly as terrible as I expected and I didn’t have to shut it off after a short amount of time like in some other games.

Lastly, the lack of any amount of care in this port is downright embarrassing. At least a half dozen spots has portions that label the PC controls, like pressing “R”, "Left Mouse Button”, or to “Click”. The controls are poorly optimized for a controller, menus are a mess, and having to search the store for specific parts is a pain. It’s abundantly clear that virtually no effort went into porting this to console, even in its title, which is a shame, as the actual dismantling and rebuilding portions are relaxing, but the amount of game breaking bugs makes it impossible to recommend, even to motorcycle enthusiasts.

**Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 3.0 / 10
Gameplay: 1.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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