If you’ve not been introduced to the absolute joy and horror that is the /r/OSHA subreddit then boy are you in for a treat. It’s filled with tradespeople getting up to all sorts of nonsense on the jobsite and, as you’d likely expect given the game I’m looking at today, many of them involve the trusty forklift. The amount of dumb things people think up to do with these never fails to surprise me so of course when I saw Forklift Extreme: Deluxe Edition I figured it’d be a fun take on all the things you shouldn’t do. Whilst there’s certainly that aspect to it the game tends more towards a simulator/speed run style game, focusing on completing the assigned chores quickly whilst making as few mistakes as possible.
Your mission is simple: move the highlighted things from where they currently sit to where they need to be all the while avoiding bumping, crashing or destroying anything else in the process. Given it’s simplistic appearance you’d be forgiven for thinking this is some fly by night physics simulator that’s just itching to send things to space at the drop of a hat but no. Forklift Extreme instead prefers to tend more towards simulation than it does physics based chicanery, clamping down on any particular movement that could have you end up rocketing out of the level at light speed. Challenge comes from doing tasks at speed, more intricate loads and using different kinds of equipment to ensure you don’t drop everything unceremoniously on the warehouse floor.
The simplistic art style helps cut through the visual confusion that could easily overwhelm a game like this, what with all the very similar looking elements and numerous camera angles to view them with. Whilst I only explored a couple of the levels the others I’ve seen in videos on the Steam page show there’s been a lot of love put into each of them, each having their own unique visual style. Performance is good, as you’d expect, even when you start to get tricky and try to break the physics engine in new and exciting ways.
Whilst I’d say that, overall, Forklift Extreme tends towards being a simulator more than anything else it’s clear that it’s meant to be a light hearted take on the whole thing. Whilst the puzzles are challenging to do, especially within the allotted time frame, the inclusion of silly things like the in-game currency, “palette boxes” and unlocking new rigs are certainly a thumbing of the nose towards their more sinister implementations in larger AAA games. I can see why this game found its home on mobile first, as it’s definitely designed to be consumed in small doses over a long period of time rather than doing a couple long sessions to smash it all out.
I’ve definitely noticed a trend with these games to tend more towards the Twitch/speedrunner crowd rather than the light-hearted physics based hilarity generators (ala Goat Simulator) of years gone by. I can definitely see why of course, catering to that crowd is a solid play for getting more exposure, but it does mean that much of the core game is focused towards that and thus it feels a little less welcoming to those who perhaps don’t want to spend countless hours on it. To be sure the pick up/put down nature of the game does help somewhat, but I definitely found myself getting frustrated at not being able to complete some of the earlier challenges without sinking (what felt like) an unreasonable amount of time in them. Maybe I just need to git gud…
I will say though that, given the game has quite strict guard rails on its physics engine, breaking it was probably by far my most favourite part of the game. Initially I just focused on getting myself jammed into places and then seeing what I could make happen which, unfortunately, wasn’t a great deal. The game definitely knows when you’re trying to make something happen that, let’s say, isn’t exactly OSHA approved, and appears to limit your forklift’s motions to accommodate. This means the usual approach of jammig things together, stacking things up high, or just generally trying to get the engine out of it’s comfort zone usually just gets you stuck more than anything else.
However that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bunch of fun to be had otherwise. I noticed in a couple levels that the roller door moved when I put things up against it. Given the levels are quite small early on I figured that, maybe, there were some expansion areas dotted around the outside to explore should I be able to get there. As you can see from the below screenshot, yeah, you can totally get out of bounds by stacking things under the roller door and then yeeting yourself out of it. There’s a drop down to the floor there but, given there’s no fall damage in the game, you can then go about your merry way. Nothing out there can be interacted with though (even though they do have colliders on them, stopping you in your tracks if you try to say, run over the people) and should you drive off the edge you’ll find out that the engine noise is tied directly to the velocity of the forklift, which is fucking hilarious when you’re moving at speeds the game never intended you to. I know that breaking the game shouldn’t be the point of playing it but hot damn, did I have fun fucking about with it.
All in all, whilst I didn’t spend a great deal of time really playing through Forklift Extreme I did fall for it’s charming visuals, challenging gameplay and, of course, stubbornness to bend to my evil will. To be sure this is made for a very particular crowd, one I don’t count myself in anymore, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a couple hours of lighthearted fun in here for the general crowd to enjoy.
Forklift Extreme: Deluxe Edition is available on Android, Nintendo Switch and PC right now for $13.99. Total play time was 96 minutes with 38% of the achievements unlocked.