From the title, you might expect cloven-hooved truckers with flaming arm hair, biker chicks in spiked leather thongs, and endless roads paved with human skulls. But in Hard Truck: Apocalypse, the devastated landscape looks more like Iowa. As you drive your first truck—a farmer's jalopy that's as much fun to steer as, well, a farmer's jalopy—through the countryside, you may be soothed by the blue skies and amber waves of grain, and while an occasional raider gets in your way, the tempo stays low-key. This budget-priced role-playing game leads you through an easy routine of "deliver this" and "kill that" quests, while your real objective—aside from avenging your dead family—is to make money to pimp your truck.
Hard Truck: Apocalypse looks boring by big-budget standards, but it has the same appeal as a good B-movie: It's cheap, it's weird, and it never pretends to be anything it isn't. The depopulated world and the long commutes between towns and missions make it feel vacant and primitive. But wheeling around and strafing an enemy with your latest laser cannon has its own thrills, and there are just enough close fights and curious plot twists to keep a mellow gamer lumbering to the finish.
Beyond the game: Hard Truck: Apocalypse comes from a Russian studio, and it's full of kung-fu-movie-grade translations: One character's name keeps changing from Alice to Lisa, you get cryptic missions like "The tunnel's guardians must die for the sake of high ideals!", and your hard-bitten trucker squeals, "Well, I never!" Needless to say, these are all pluses.
Worth playing for: Lull yourself into its slow pace, and the steady grind of earning money to get the next truck upgrade becomes addictive.
Frustration sets in when: Most of the trucks ride like they should be carting oranges or vending-machine refills, instead of chasing bandits. Pushing them down the road with a keyboard ain't much fun—and driving eats up almost all of your playing time.
Final judgment: Entertaining on its own terms—but there's a reason Mad Max wasn't a lorry driver.