Review: In the wacky Monster Jam Steel Titans 2, old-school imagery meets new-school trucks

We take a look under the hood of THQ and Rainbow Studios’ second game in the Monster Jam Steel Titans series.

Image via THQ

Monster truck rallies may be considered niche in today’s sports world, but they still have a relatively strong following in the United States. The Monster Jam association has a national TV deal with the NBC Sports Network and runs many events throughout the U.S. on an annual basis, thrilling fans who love big stunts and wild rides. 

Monster Jam has also branched into video games in recent years, thanks to the launch of the Monster Jam Steel Titans franchise. The series’ first game launched in 2019, and a little less than two years later, publisher THQ and developer Rainbow Games are back with another installment. So how does Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 stack up? Let’s just say it’s a bit of an interesting ride.

An alternate path opens up

Image via THQ

Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 offers a much different experience compared to other racing games. Yes, the title has much of what one would expect from a game like this: online and offline racing, challenges, and a career mode that gives players a glimpse into the world of Monster Jam. However, where this game veers off is with the presentation.

Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 players will spend a considerable amount of time in the open world. Rather than having users fiddle with menus, players can instead navigate through the open world in order to access the career mode, visit Team Garages, gather collectibles that can be used to unlock new trucks, and compete in item-searching challenges that can test one’s critical-thinking skills at times. The experience offers multiple environments throughout the roaming world, and it’s coupled with cartoonish-looking structures and graphics that appear like something you would expect from an early-2000s game.

Yes, the open-world could be considered outlandish, but as far as fun goes, Rainbow Studios certainly did a solid job of offering an enjoyable experience. It might not be realistic, but who doesn’t love smashing tables, buses, and even Porta Potties with large, menacing monster trucks.

Bursting through the air

Image via THQ

Even though the non-racing experience is enjoyable, it’s not worth anything if the gameplay isn’t any good. The good news for Monster Jam fans is the racing in this game is also a fun experience. The game offers a number of different Monster Jam events, ranging from head-to-head races that involve blazing through dirt trails as fast as possible to Freestyle events in which the goal is to rack up as many points as possible by completing wild stunts.

The events, in large, are quite enjoyable, and a lot of that can be attributed to the physics engine and gameplay, which are surprisingly fluid and clean. It’s also worth noting that these events do have a learning curve attached to them. Because the game requires attention to detail and precision when riding through the dirt, you’ll want to make sure that you get familiar with the tracks in order to play well.

Divots in the road

Image via THQ

There’s a lot to like with this title, but it’s not a perfect experience by any means. If there are two things that I had a bit of an issue with, they’re the nature of the Career mode and, to a lesser extent, how the game runs on PC. 

The Career mode is not as deep as other sports-themed career modes, and while that’s understandable, it was a bit disappointing. Outside of the fact that players can unlock and upgrade trucks through the Career mode, there’s not much depth. It would have been more interesting to see a Career mode that allowed players to pick up credits to buy trucks and upgrade character traits.

On another note, we should also mention that this game may not run well on unoptimized PCs. Throughout our testing, one issue was that there was quite a bit of stuttering, and even a few outright crashes. If you plan on playing on either a gaming PC or console, you probably aren’t going to have any of these issues. But if you have a PC that’s not optimized for gaming, you’ll probably need to turn down the video quality.

The verdict

Image via THQ

THQ and Rainbow Studios did a solid job with Monster Jam Steel Titans 2. No, it’s not worth $60 or $70, but given the MSRP of $40, the price certainly seems fair with the product put forward.

The game offers a fun and open look into the world of Monster Jam, and thanks to simplistic gameplay and a wacky open-world experience, it’s a game that could even appeal to non-fans of monster trucks.

If you’re looking for a racing game but want a different experience, Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 might be worth a look, particularly if you plan on playing via a console.

Final score:

7.5 / 10

+ Smooth and fluid gameplay that hits the mark.
+ Easy-to-handle progression
+ Unique open-world experience that pushes the pace and lets users get creative
Career mode lacks depth.
Some PC users may struggle with running this game.
Disclosure: This review was written using a game code provided by the developer or publisher.