Garage Mechanic Simulator is an auto shop simulation game where the player takes on the role of a mechanic. This game falls in the same vein as Car Mechanic Simulator, Tank Mechanic Simulator, Space Mechanic Simulator, Bike Mechanic Simulator and other titles in the Simulator series.
Ultimate Games is responsible for publishing Garage Mechanic Simulator to Switch, and has published a number of other simulator titles through Playway S.A. on PC, including Cooking Simulator, House Flipper, UBOAT, and more.
I couldn’t find anything reprehensible in this one. It’s a game about identifying car troubles and resolving them. You are only paid for fixing issues, so you couldn’t be a scummy shop if you tried.
Lifestyle simulators represent every hobby or profession I’ve considered diving deep into.
House Flipper? Yeah, I’d love a crash course on the Chip and Joanna life. Farming Simulator? Who doesn’t want to thresh and prep for the cold winter months?
Car Mechanic Simulator has long been on my mind. Lucky for me, grease monkey work is now portable, because the distant cousin, Garage Mechanic Simulator, is on the Nintendo Switch.
My main interest in a game like this is straightforward: I want to learn how cars work and where the parts are located. As an added bonus, maybe I can learn a thing or two about my ’05 Kia Spectra.
Garage Mechanic Simulator sort of accomplishes my goals, but it’s unfortunately plagued by messy UI and weird pacing.
Your shop begins as a dinky little garage, which may benefit from additions like garage storage systems, with enough room for a single car. You’ll work your way up the ranks by completing jobs from customers in order to get paid and purchase a bigger space, new licenses to work on different vehicles, and more. In theory, this is good. A sense of progression is extremely helpful in the simulator genre.
As you work through the first 15 minutes of the game, you’ll read through a few tutorial prompts that show you around the shop and how to navigate the UI. You’ll learn how to diagnose car problems, and how to fix them. After that, you’re off to the races.
But it’s a turtle race, because problems set in almost immediately.
Firstly, Garage Mechanic Simulator suffers from a weird in-game micro-transaction system.
Currency in this game is represented by either dollars or coins. Dollars are spent to purchase replacement parts, upgrade your shop and tools, and perform other progression-related mechanics.
Coins can also do some of those things, but coins also turn the game into a glorified iOS gacha game.
Do you want to ask a customer to wait 5 more minutes so you can work on a different car first? That costs coins. What if you need to buy a couple spark plugs to send this customer on their way? Wait 30 seconds or spend coins. Do you want a machine to electronically read the car and diagnose which parts are broken or need repaired? Spend coins, or else, you must meticulously tap on every single part on the car until you find the responsible parties.
It’s miserable to sit and wait for no discernible purpose. What do these coins represent, anyway? My shop’s electric bill? Paying a secretary to push back and set and appointment with a customer? Who knows? The game doesn’t tell me why the coins are there. All I know is this game loves to make you sit and wait.
Which gets into the second issue, and potentially the game killer: the UI.
You know how cursor memory makes menuing less tedious? Garage Mechanic Simulator has a quality of life change that I call anti-cursor memory.
Each time you jump into ANY menu, your cursor is immediately placed over the exit button. Naturally, most developers put the cursor over the top left option in a menu, or over the option you messed with last time you were in the same menu. Other games have trained my muscle memory, but in Garage Mechanic Simulator, I am CONSTANTLY dropping back to the previous menu. This is infuriating.
What’s worse is the touch-screen implementation. I mentioned in my Terraria review how nice it is to have some sort of touch-screen usage for Switch games because not all of them do it.
When you begin work on a car, the customer tells you (in broken English) what they think might be wrong with the vehicle. The naked car’s chassis is pulled up in front of you, and you need to cycle through wheels, engine, and chassis until you randomly happen upon the area you think is troubled. The game even comes with a great guide to home garage car lifts – which I can verify as someone who’s spent a fair amount of time tuning my car in my garage out back.
From here, the game sort of lets you tap on parts, but also assumes you know how to cycle through with the left thumbstick. Listen, I can’t tell you how it works. Sometimes pushing left on the thumbstick shows me the part I want to view, and sometimes pushing left doesn’t do anything. It’s bad! Worse, I have to tap on a part 3-4 times before the game finally figures out which part I was trying to choose.
When you happen upon the correct part, you usually pull it off the car—unless there are other parts in the way, in which case those need to be removed first. Then you either replace the part and wait 30 seconds for the parts to arrive at your shop, or play some silly mini game where you tap the screen a few dozen times to…clean the part? Or buff it out? I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not really a mechanic.
Once you’ve fixed the car, you send it off and pick another car to work on. Then you do all of that again…and again…and again…
This game is incredibly grindy and repetitive. I never felt a sense of accomplishment. Further, I never felt like I learned much at all about cars.
If you are looking for Car Mechanic Simulator on Switch, this isn’t even close. This is not a fun experience, and doesn’t have nearly enough depth to be worth your time.
Review copy provided by Mateusz Pietrzyk.
The Bottom Line
Garage Mechanic Simulator is tedious and repetitive. It's everything a bad game in the simulator genre can aspire to be.