Looking for some of the best truck games on PC? Trucks and truckers have become mythologised in pop culture like modern-day cowboys, transporting crucial cargo across harsh, lonely landscapes and spending days in their own company. Translating that experience into a video game has taken many forms over the last couple of decades, from Mad Max-like highway battlers to fully fledged simulation games where journeys take as long as they would in real life.
HARD TRUCK 2: KING OF THE ROAD
As truck games go, Hard Truck 2 tries to tick all of the boxes. There’s plenty of management and sim elements when it comes to managing your jobs, running cargo, and hiring an ever-growing workforce, but there’s also a lot of racing and aggressive driving – think of it as Euro Truck Simulator 2 meets GTA 5.
With 12 different trucks to choose from, ranging from tiny lorries to 18-wheel big rigs, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to escaping the police speed traps. Despite the simulator elements, you can happily speed through an uncharted dirt track or bulldoze your competition out of the way. All that matters is getting the cargo to its destination time.
This one is, er, not really a truck game at all. However, there are trucks in it and it does have ‘truck’ in the name, so we feel inclined to challenge your preconceived notions of what truck games are all about.
Clustertruck is the kind of platformer you’ve probably dreamt up as a passenger in a car, staring out a window and imagining someone parkouring across the horizon. The only safe places to land on this speeding highway of death are the tops of trucks, but as you progress through the game the obstacles become increasingly outlandish so that by the end you’re avoiding slow-motion explosions, swinging axes, and gravity shifts.
AMERICAN TRUCK SIMULATOR
ATS is effectively a sequel to Euro Truck Simulator 2, which you’ll find below. As such, a lot of the mechanics, physics, and the general pace of this truck sim game are the same. The one key difference is the setting, and that’s a big deal in a game where you spend hours looking out of a window. The American states of California, Nevada, and Arizona have been painstakingly realised, from minor details like the signs that illuminate a run down stripmall to major landmarks like the Las Vegas Strip. After several hours coasting through a desert highway, the bright lights and narrow streets of a city like San Francisco feel like an adrenaline shot.
You’ll start off as a trucking freelancer, able to take on jobs from haulage firms and start assembling some savings together so you can buy your own rig. Once you’ve got the funds, there’s suddenly a lot more to consider, and the true ‘sim’ elements start to kick in as you’re charged with managing everything from fuel costs, where to sleep, and even getting the right insurance.
EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2
The forebear to ATS is a little less polished – though SCS Software has confirmed a major graphical overhaul is on the way – but remains one of the most convincing truck sims around. Almost everything that makes American Truck Simulator great was first built in Euro Truck Simulator 2, from the surprisingly engrossing RPG mechanics and management systems, to the realistic and weighty handling.
Europe boasts plenty of distinct challenges for truckers that just aren’t present in the United States – narrower roads, differing international road rules, roundabouts. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is also older than ATS, which is generally a good thing in the sim community as it means there’s more content, like map expansions and truck brands. The base European map is also much larger and more densely packed than its US counterpart, so if you’re after greater variety, then Euro Truck Simulator 2 might be the best option.