Action Indie Review

Trailer Trashers – Review | Have Friends, Will Slaughter

Finally, a game that answers the question: What would happen if we let kids play with guns?

I didn’t really know what to expect going into Trailer Trashers. Aside from the typical reviewer ignorance, I’ve also preferred to fly solo for most of my gaming career – avoiding multiplayer titles like the plague. I didn’t have access to the internet until high school, and during my formative years I never really ventured past the “Easy A.I.” mode. 

When I did face a fellow human in battle, the results often landed somewhere between “crushing defeat” and “total annihilation.” So, I reasoned that games were better off an individual pursuit rather than a friendly exercise. And, well – I’m happy to say that Trailer Trashers has proven young Jared wrong.
Trailer Trashers - Scary Kids

Trailer Trashers: A Gory Mashup Of Multiplayer Tropes

First things first, Trailer Trashers will give you an option to disable gore: Don’t let the game fool you. The cartoonish explosions and meaty remnants of former friends sloshing around your ankles are absolutely integral to the experience.

Second, when I say “trope,” I do so lovingly. Trailer Trashers doesn’t exactly break new ground, but it’s not really trying to. The game drops you into different arenas with both classic and innovative game modes and lets you run wild for a few minutes. And that’s all I need.

That’s not to say that Trailer Trashers doesn’t bring anything new or interesting to the table either. Take one look at “soccer” mode, where you control a soccer ball with your shotgun and do your best to score a goal without killing yourself. It’s a bit like crossing Quake 3 with Rocket League, in my short experience. Real-life Soccer would be much improved with the advent of exploding balls, in my opinion.

I won’t spoil all the game modes here, as it’s exciting to boot up a random game and see how twisted Trailer Trashers can be. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to love about how the developers really fleshed out multiple modes of mayhem based around a very simple gameplay loop of – shoot, run, repeat.
Trailer Trashers - Inside Level

Taking Out The Trash: Trailers’ Out Of Control Gameplay

I’m sure there are and will be, many people who master the art of Trailer Trashers and can skillfully perform its bloody dance. However, I am not one of those people – nor was anyone else whom I played with. Which I found… incredibly enjoyable. 

There’s something charming about just screwing around in a multiplayer game, and Trailer Trashers’ light mechanics and fast pace heavily encourages this. The game breaks down into two central modes:

  1. Avoiding balls of death
  2. Aiming balls of death

The entire game revolves around the simple loop of firing shots, avoiding incoming particles, and maneuvering through an arena filled with bouncing death balls. And you’ll lean heavily towards the “avoiding” part, as one touch is all it takes to transform you back into the primordial ooze from whence you came.
Trailer Trashers - Playing in the road

Your tools are similarly limited. You have your shotgun, which releases said mortal orbs, and a dodge/dash move. I think it’s called a dash officially, but I never tactically dashed into anything, only desperately dodged away.

Much like in my beloved bullet hell games, the screen rapidly devolves into a garbled mess of disembodied limbs, gyrating players, and deadly particles. In short – it’s hard to follow, and that’s part of the fun. In my first few matches, I found it difficult to keep track of myself, partially due to the similar models used for each character, but mostly because there was so much insanity crammed onto the screen at once.

Now, I must be honest – when I say “out of control,” I mean that literally and figuratively. I played Trailer Trashers on the PC, and the control scheme is both non-optimized and un-customizable. I wish I had a controller to plug in and play because I felt discombobulated and somewhat disadvantaged as I tried to hobble along with my keyboard inputs. 

The game is clearly meant to be played on a console, and preferably on Switch – and I highly recommend that you purchase the title on one of those platforms, or wait for patches to make the PC experience less painstaking. Of course, I adjusted and the awkward controls eventually upgraded to “bearable,” so if you’re really looking forward to Trailer Trashers and only own a PC – don’t let me dissuade you.
Trailer Trashers - Football Pitch

Harkening Back To Simpler Times Filled With Simple Fun

For brief moments as I played Trailer Trashers, I felt transported back in time. A time when my siblings and I would crowd around a twelve-inch tube TV as we played Powerstone 2 on our dilapidated Dreamcast. There was no rhyme nor reason to any of our movements – we just wanted to kill each other as entertainingly as possible. Trailer Trashers shares that same ethos, and in that same spirit, it should be played.

The bottom line: if you’re expecting a tense multiplayer experience with tight controls and top-notch mechanics (ala Towerfall), then look elsewhere. If you just want to shoot your friends and watch their bodies implode like flesh-filled balloons – then pick up a copy of Trailer Trashers, turn your mind off, and let the slaughter begin.

TRAILER TRASHERS IS RECOMMENDED

Trailer Trashers can be purchased digitally for PC on Steam or Humble Bundle. It can be bought digitally via the Nintendo Switch store.

Many thanks to Sakari Games for the review copy.

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