Each level in Clustertruck is a brief, chaotic action setpiece: A convoy of eighteen-wheelers moves vaguely toward a finish line, crashing into one another and suffering all manner of Car Boysesque physics engine indignities along the way. Trucks collide, flip, float, fall, roll, and explode. (The early desert levels make it feel like these inexplicably reckless drivers are all looking to die legendary on the Fury Road). You, meanwhile, hop from truck to truck, hopefully making your way to the finish line before the way forward becomes an impassible crash site, or before you fall to the ground and presumably get flattened. (There’s no explicit gore, but come on).
Clustertruck belongs to that rich tradition of action games where succeeding without flair is a form of failure. You could ride the stabler trucks a fair bit of the way, sure, but then you’d miss out on the Style Points with which you can purchase double jumps and air dashes and other upgrades to make your runs ever more acrobatic, ever more physically implausible, and ever more ambitious. Bold risks ensure, and avoidable but repeatedly unavoided deaths.
Yes, and Clustertruck also belongs to that other, newer tradition of demanding games that viewers on Twitch can make even more demanding via direct interference—causing an on-the-fly earthquake, or picking a truck and making it explode. (The developers themselves have been using this feature to screw with their fanbase, much to the bemused maybe-delight of all concerned).
It’s a pure and goofy pleasure, a game about clutch performances by skilled players, frustrated and challenged by the slings and semis of outrageous fortune.