Indie developer Sos Sosowski admits he creates “terrible” video games like his old school point-and-click game McPixel (2012). And while there’s certainly a thick layer of objective terribleness slathered on top of Mosh Pit Simulator, after playing around with the physics-based sandbox I’ve come to admire the terribleness of it all in recognition that it isn’t so much a game as it is a window into the mad inner world of its creator.
Mosh Pit Simulator Early Access Details:
Developer: Sos Sosowski
Available On: Steam (Vive, Rift, Windows VR)
Reviewed On: Rift
Release Date: January 31st, 2019
Note: This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game only at its current Early Access state and will not receive a numerical score.
Gameplay & Immersion
Mosh Pit Simulator isn’t a simulator in any sense of the word, let alone one that you might associate with a mosh pit at a concert. It’s more of an open world experience that doesn’t really have objectives or goals besides the ones you create for yourself and share with the Internet; e.g. stick five rockets on a floppy naked guy, put the guy in a van, activate rockets, and watch the cartoon violence in all its beautifully bizarre splendor.
There’s rockets that zoom off into the distance, gearboxes for weird spinning creations, and activator boxes that you can attach to either to get them working. You’re warned a few times too that the physics engine might break and crash the game if you go too wild, but it’s ultimately up to you to find and push that boundary by gluing everything to everything else and sitting back to see the result.
Mosh Pit Simulator does feature a story mode, but it’s less of a game and more a tutorial-like story experience that urges you to do specific actions after a prompt from Sososwki himself who’s dressed as a mad scientist, albeit with the casual affectations of someone who’s a bit bored of teaching you how the game works.
The story is pretty loose too, something in the vein of the wildly improvisational ‘interdimensional cable’ bit from Rick and Morty. There’s an illness that has changed the world’s population into boneless flop-abouts, and you have to follow a weird scientists instructions as he poofs into existence every so often in the form of an old CRT television. Just my sort of weird.
Sosowski shows up every step of the way to interject with an order, or a message of a job well done, something I’ve seen a thousand times in games that hamhandedly want you to shoot a room full of baddies for reasons that are ‘important’ and then move on to do the exact same thing a million times over. Instead of shooting robots, I punch naked people out of a fourth floor apartment and smash all of their furniture and throw that out too. Why? Because I can.
On the surface, you might call this a bad attempt at creating a game in earnest, although after playing through story mode—which took about a half-hour—it became clear to me that Mosh Pit Simulator is 75% WTF, and 25% commentary on how contrived and confining games can really be, and how they oftentimes miss the point of delivering fun by constantly telling you what to do and how to do it.
“Ok. This is the first floor,” Sosowski says shrugging and scratching his head. “The place that you’re supposed to go is on the top floor. Uh… but I think you’re probably going to destroy everything in this room before moving on. So… go ahead.”
It’s this constant checking-in and lackadaisical narration that underlines just how meaningless of a pursuit it all is—all the while you’re ambushed with giant chickens falling from the sky, naked people brazenly jiggling around, and riding a helicopter that has two street lamps and fire hydrant for rotor blades.
That said, there is a beginning, middle and end to the story mode, and plenty of laughs along the way as you fall prey to Sosowski’s gentle, weird, but ultimately hilarious personality. It took me about 30 minutes to complete.
Mosh Pit Simulator is still in Early Access so there should be new content and fixes coming as the year progresses. At this point though—outside of the novelty factor of punching, destroying and making things—it’s personally difficult to find a definite reason to fire the game back up. I think putting missions in the open world section of the game that are equally as absurd as the story mode would really help flesh out the action into something more appealing to people who want a full package, something similar to the stupid achievements you can get in Goat Simulator (2014).
As for the visual aspects of Mosh Pit Simulator: it looks comically bad, which no doubt lends to the hilarity, but also has the side effect of dampening immersion by a pretty large degree. The whole game comes off more as a first stab at using a 3D game engine, resplendent as the creator’s intentions to make a truly terrible game may have been. Thankfully it’s really self-aware of this fact.
Sticking my head through the wall of the elevator, a TV pops up out of nowhere and Sosowski scratches his head again. “It’s pretty tempting [to explore where you shouldn’t], but this elevator shaft is pretty ugly. Please don’t tell anybody what you saw, ok??”
Locomotion is surprisingly varied in Mosh Pit Simulator, offering teleportation, smooth locomotion with snap-turn, and climbing, which is accomplished by grabbing onto the world. Climbing doesn’t work perfectly, although it gets the job done so you can scale a building, fence, what have you.
I say ‘surprisingly’ because the joke is never on you when it comes to comfort like I thought it might going in. You aren’t tossed around without care, and all artificial locomotion in the story mode is well-handled, including riding cars, helicopters, and space ships. There is one moment that has you twisting in space for a minute or two, which I didn’t personally find appealing from a comfort standpoint, although it’s slow enough to only be slightly jarring.
When talking about comfort, we rarely refer to the game’s content, sticking only to the nuts-and-bolts of how you move and how the game treats you. I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the hordes of boneless naked people flopping about though. These aren’t anatomically correct in any sense, and serve as more of a grotesque puppet than a representation of a person. I never felt I was being assaulted, or that I didn’t have control over the situation—after all, you have super human strength and can toss one of them clear through a plate-glass window, or well over the horizon if you want. Still, some users may find this off-putting, but I doubt you made it this far to be surprised by any of that.
Currently, Mosh Pit Simulator offers a steaming pile of WTF and not much else at the moment. Seeing the game grow into a more mature offering with missions and other objectives would be fun —even if that goes against the ethos of the game as it is now. In any case, there are a few really genuine laughs to find in Mosh Pit Simulator and we can’t wait to have more as the game marches towards its full release hopefully sometime later this year.
Note: This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game’s current state, and will not receive a numerical score.