American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled is a disappointing use of a popular license
After MumboJumbo was able to create magic with Pickers, hopes were incredibly high for American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled. After all, Pickers was inspired by the television show American Pickers, so shouldn’t a game using that actual license be just as good, or even better? Unfortunately, what we’re left with in The Road Less Traveled is a boring, linear experience that offers very little in the way of fun or strategy.
For fans of the television series, this one offers a decent amount of fan service in that you’ll travel around the country with Frank and Mike as a rookie picker. There are plenty of references to the show, and you’ll get calls from Danielle back at the office offering you leads to great locations to go and pick (just as Frank and Mike do on the show). Unfortunately, the story plays out through lengthy text bubbles, with only the occasional voice clip being thrown it at odd moments (for instance, a voice clip about how great some items are might play while you’re still reading text in the middle of a conversation).
As you’ll travel around the country, each state may have more than one scene within which to pick, but the gameplay is that of the most standard hidden object games. You’ll simply find items on a list, with a hint meter that recharges quite quickly if you happen to need a bit of help. At the end of a scene, you can activate Picker Vision to find a secret item based on the classic “hot and cold” meter system, but in reality, all you’ll need to look for is the item in the scene with massive sparkles around it.
Once you’ve collected some items, you might expect to be able to haggle with the owner to earn the best prices, but this simply isn’t the case. You’ll be asked to purchase an “Ice Breaker” item (to get the ball rolling, as it were) for full price, and can then bundle a few other items (that the game clearly marks) to purchase them for a bargain. You’ll then simply click on the leftover items, purchasing them for full price as well, with there being no actual ability to haggle. The entire point of being a picker in the real world is to buy things for the cheapest amount possible to earn the most profit on the other side, so the lack of this ability is an incredibly disappointing oversight to say the least.
Everything is automated back at the shop as well, as you’ll simply be able to travel back to the shop and look at the items you’ve purchased, which have already been sold with no further input from you. You can’t price your own items, so there’s no strategy required whatsoever. It’s simply a situation of finding the items on a list, completing some extra clicks to actually get them into the back of your van, and letting the game handle the rest. To be blunt, that’s a boring equation that does little to help this already lifeless game.
If you’re looking for a truly interactive trash-to-treasure gameplay experience, your best bet is to stick with MumboJumbo’s Pickers. American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled is a lazy use of a popular license that will only be tolerable for those diehard fans of the show that don’t mind reading lengthy text bubbles and repeatedly completing stale hidden object scenes.