Driving simulators can be approached from so many different angles, but yet it seems like there is always some portion of the genre that goes untapped. From racers to truck driving simulators and more, there is a lot to be had and more to be explored. Games such as the Dirt series or Forza Horizons that give us a bit of dirt track and mild off road racing, but no one has developed (to my knowledge) a game that was a true off road oriented game. That’s where Spintires: MudRunner is a first of its kind. Mudrunner is what I would call a true off-roading game, being very detailed, making it almost true simulator game. Set in the marshy, water downed bog areas of soviet era Russia, you will be using soviet era Russian trucks to navigate through the vast wooded swamp environment in order to complete various challenges
Mudrunner has several different modes to get your off-roading fill. The single player mode has a similar set up to a sand box style mode where you can complete the tasks anyway you want with any vehicle. There are 6 different map choices with various tasks from loading up logs to take to the lumber mill to fixing broken vehicles or moving them to specific places. You have the option of playing single player in casual mode or hardcore mode. In hardcore mode things get much harder in difficulty. In hardcore mode, damage to your truck will slow the motor down and increase difficulty in steering, navigation is limited to only a few waypoints (Which can be set in the map mode in causal), and other increased difficulties. The challenge mode where you are presented with one set objective and everything needed for the objective is easily available to you, and once completed you move on to the next with a 3 star rating system. I did not get a chance to play the multiplayer side of Mudrunner but it is the similar set up to single player although you can have up to 4 people in the lobby all able to drive each truck. I believe this would be great fun (if I had some friends to play with). There is a great amount of detail in the gameplay. All of the vehicles functions like using a winch, engaging four wheel drive, parking brake, locking the differential and has the option of shifting gears for different situations make it incredibly immersive. You can upgrade your trucks at the various garages that are scattered around the map. Certain trucks have different attachments than others but most are able to pull trailers or be outfitted with logging rigs, cranes, fuel tanks, or repair boxes.
Controls for MudRunner are pretty straight forward and similar to most driving games. The use of the winch is pretty easy and can be used on the fly. When using the winch any applicable points are highlighted and you simply connect and winch in while you’re using the engines power to free your stuck truck. The winch can be linked to other vehicles to tow them as well. There is view you can go from the cab of the truck that show the wheel actual steering with all working gauges for fuel, speed, rpms and selected 4x4 or differential locking. The overhead camera view isn’t bad when you aren’t in a forest but it can be quite annoying and finicky when trying to figure everything out. Graphics wise the trucks and trailers are very well detailed but the environment is not the greatest. I’d compare these environment graphics to 360 days but where MudRunner excels is the physics of the game and specifically the physics of the mud while driving. You make roots in the mud while driving and fling mud while going, which is really fine details in my opinion. The physics might almost be too good where driving through some of the bogs feels like it takes forever because you just trying to paddle through all the mud. That is what my biggest complaint about the game is how it takes such a long time to get from point A to point B for the challenges with really no straight paths you have to basically crawl through parts of the map because the mud is so dense but I guess that’s what it would be like if you were in a similar situation in real life (also I’ve never been to Russia or tried to go off-roading so I’m not the most knowledgeable person on that lol).
Overall I thought MudRunner is a solid game with a real feel for off-roading and mud bogging that anyone can pick up and play. It is definitely not for everyone, as most simulation titles aren’t, but for those intrigued by the concept or actually appreciative of the subject matter there is some fun to be had here. For those looking for a change of pace, or just a reason to get dirty, Mudrunner is a good choice for you this holiday season.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7/10
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