If you took Death Stranding’s delivery-based gameplay and traded its oppressive post-apocalyptic setting for a tropical toy town with overblown physics you’d have Totally Reliable Delivery Service. In a similar vein to Goat Simulator and Human: Fall Flat, this game is shambolic by design in order to derive maximum humour from the resulting unpredictability, but it takes it to such an extreme that it’s not always easy to identify where the deliberate wonkiness ends and the unintended rough edges begin. As a result, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is just as likely to trigger fits of laughter as it is to spark fits of anger.
Up to four players, either locally in split-screen or online, can cooperatively tackle 100 different deliveries dotted around an island-based sandbox. I say up to four players but what I really mean is a minimum of two, because although Totally Reliable Delivery Service can technically be played solo, it is a vastly inferior experience when you don’t have additional dopey deliverymen bumbling along with you to either help or hinder your progress.
Deliveries can be tackled in any order and your success in completing them awards you a gold, silver, or bronze trophy, some cash, and a cosmetic item to customise your character with. I didn’t really find any of these rewards particularly compelling, though, especially the cash which seemingly can’t be spent anywhere, and my only real motivation for undertaking each delivery was the chaos that would typically unfold en route between each dispatch zone and reception point.
Each character’s right and left hand grips are controlled by the corresponding trigger buttons, and these same basic interactions are employed to carry boxes, grab other players, or manipulate the physical controls of vehicles and other machinery. However, an inherently tipsy sense of equilibrium and a blobby body shape means that even the most straightforward tasks quickly spiral into silliness as you struggle to shunt a fragile box into the back of a delivery van without inadvertently reducing it into a pile of packing peanuts.There are a number of different vehicles to help ship your consignments, from forklifts and speedboats to helicopters and hang gliders, as well as a solid variety of different delivery types. I particularly enjoyed the urgency of the bomb disposal requests – literal TNT Express jobs – where the slightest jolts had explosive repercussions. Elsewhere, the delivery that required a motorised launcher to sling large fish into the upper deck of an air traffic control tower was as hilariously absurd as it sounds.
But while Totally Reliable Delivery Service’s pool noodle character limbs and exaggerated physics conspire to create no shortage of laughs, it all seems a bit too slapdash beyond the slapstick. Getting your character stuck inside objects is an annoyingly regular occurrence, and it’s particularly aggravating when it happens at critical moments – like when you’re just about to offload a delivery inches away from a drop-off point and your foot falls through the flatbed of your truck, leaving you to feebly flail back and forth like one of those inflatable men out front of a used car yard as the clock continues to tick.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is also hampered by some pretty horrendous pop-in when playing on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, resulting in even more moments of disparity instead of hilarity as you pilot some precious cargo in a helicopter bound for a snowy mountain top only to plough into a towering bridge that suddenly sprouts into existence a short distance ahead.
Technical issues aside, my biggest disappointment with Totally Reliable Delivery Service is that, despite the fact it’s clearly more fun with friends, its mission design hasn’t really been crafted with cooperative play in mind. There’s rarely any need to work together to achieve your goal, as invariably what happens is one person drives the delivery vehicle while the others just hang off the side and try not to fall off. I certainly feel that Totally Reliable Delivery Service would really shine if it were to emphasize a more Overcooked-like level of coordination in order to complete each job.