There are a number of ways to get lost in Spintires: MudRunner’s massive open levels. It could be because you underestimated the terrain when you decided to take a shortcut and found that the vehicle you bought with you didn’t quite have the horsepower necessary to climb that one steep slope between you and your destination, or it could be because you utterly and hopelessly got yourself stuck in a pit of mud. What is true for both cases though, is that they can be extremely difficult obstacles to overcome if you’re unprepared.
The basic concept of Spintires: MudRunner is fairly simple. Each of the game’s different levels assigns goals, most of which revolve around delivering items from one point to the other, that need to be completed by the player, and you are given absolute freedom on how to approach them. You can take the proper paths, take the off-road dirt paths, or even try your luck by completely going off the rails through streams and stretches of forests. The point is to reach the destination by any means necessary, and it is incredibly refreshing that there is little to no hand-holding involved through the entire process.
Which is also why when you first start the game, it is recommended that on top of a basic tutorial, you complete a set of rigorous challenges that are meant to help you get a better grasp of all the mechanics. Because this is not an easy game, and mastering it can take tens of hours over the course of multiple different sessions. It also doesn’t help that the driving can be slightly janky at times, which beings the entire experience down a bit. It’s not terrible, but it could use a lot more polish.
Each of the vehicles in the game functions in a distinct way, with their own handling and power. Some of these also have special settings that allow them to preform better in specific situations, and learning how to utilize them is key to properly getting around the landscape. There are also a multitude of different attachments for each vehicle, from specific mods that are unique to particular jeeps and trucks, to shared attachments like trailers and carriages of different capacities that add another layer of challenge to traversal when equipped.
Each of the game’s maps are also fantastic diverse places to just drive around in, featuring everything from open fields, swamps, expressways and even abandoned residential apartment complexes. The numerous different environmental barriers you encounter in them from steep hills to creeks to muddy roads also means that you can expect to get stuck quite often during your playthrough, which is why each and every vehicle in the game comes equipped with a winch attachment. This is perhaps your most useful tool in the entire game, as it can attach to virtually anything from trees to the ground in order to pull you forward, ensuring that you’re never stuck anywhere for too long.
You also have to keep track of fuel, the requirement of which is different depending on the consumption of each vehicle, as you drive around the maps accomplishing tasks. Failure to keep track of it and not refilling from the gas stations located in each level can lead to you being stranded in the middle of nowhere, risking all progress made until that point. Vehicles are also very susceptible to damage, and great care has to be taken to keep them in shape.
Luckily though, you can switch to another vehicle at any time during the game. Any car already unlocked from the get go, or encountered in the open world, can be switched to almost instantly. This allows you to potentially attempt to mitigate any damage to your overall progress by allowing you to both assist stranded vehicles, or to just continue forward with a fresh new ride.
In conclusion, Spintires: MudRunner is a fairly challenging game that will appeal to even the most hardcore simulator fanatics. It can get exhausting to play at times, especially when you keep finding yourself plunging headfirst into obstacle after obstacle on your way to accomplish basic tasks, but most of the time it pans out well. It’s not exactly fast paced, and it’s not exactly thrilling, but it hits that sweet spot right in between. It’s a very rewarding experience, and you can expect to lose a lot of time just driving around it’s levels.
Spintires: MudRunner is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC. It was developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review copy was provided by the publisher.
Spintires: MudRunner Review
Spintires: MudRunner is a great title for players who like to challenge themselves. It’s not exactly a typical racing game, but it will nonetheless appeal to players looking for their next dose of hardcore driving simulators.