Sometimes you want to take a break from shooting things in their faces, assassinating bad guys, and generally saving the world. That’s what I did recently when I started playing Spintires: Mudrunner. It popped up on my radar around its release a few weeks back and it looked like it could be pretty good fun. Thrashing various vehicles across muddy fields and up steep cliffs looked like was going to be an enjoyable time.
Spintires: Mudrunner is the sequel/’ultimate’ version to Spintires and lets you drive 19 vehicles each with its own characteristics and attachments across various sand(mud)box environments. You’re free to explore them as you see fit and you can unlock new vehicles by doing this, you can also set about completing objectives like delivering lorry loads of logs. Along your travels you’ll encounter day and night cycles, challenging terrains, varying weather conditions and realistic physics all with updated visuals to boot.
You basically have 6 sandbox areas that you can play around in, each one with it’s own unique setting and feel, like the Deluge map which has a lot of water, not all of them are unlocked from the get go however – you’ll need progression points in order to unlock the other areas.
Alongside the single player ‘campaign’ there is also a challenge mode and multiplayer where you can team up with others to complete objectives and probably try and push each other off of cliffs if that’s your thing.
Spintires: Mudrunner is a very brown game with a bit of grey and green for variation, to be honest it has a pretty drab colour palette. But it does still manage to look pretty good in a lot of places, the vehicle models are all really well detailed and whilst everything is basically brown the terrain still holds a lot of detail; the water effects and physics are fantastic, and the way mud builds up on vehicles looks really good. The games sounds good too (apart from the soundtrack), trucks chug along sounding like they’re really heaving themselves through the mud and up hills and the mud and water makes for some nice squishy sound effects.
But, I do have some issues; well it’s more like two main issues. The first one is the camera, it’s so annoyingly frustrating to use, I felt like I could never really get the right angle I wanted to be able to see obstacles properly and for the most part found myself just blinding driving over things in the hopes that I would make it. Reversing a truck with a trailer on the back has never been a more frustrating experience – probably how I’d imagine it in real life actually, I just couldn’t seem to get a good view on what I was doing and would need to endlessly adjust because I’d lined up incorrectly due to the camera. The cockpit view was ok, but with the size of some of the vehicles it didn’t really feel viable the entire time.
The other issue I have is the pace of the game. I get that trudging through mud and wading through water is not always going to be a quick experience, but I’ve also been off roading and it’s a lot of fun and was much quicker. Driving along at 15 MPH for most of the game, for me, got a little… tiresome (sorry for the tyre pun).
The best parts of the game for me, came from driving the 4×4 jeeps up and down hills, balancing on the edge of cliffs as rocks rolled away from me, the car slipping sideways as I try to wriggle my way back on track, navigating along tight winding tracks; that was where Spintires shined the most for me! It was a lot quicker and honestly a lot more exciting, there just wasn’t enough of it as if you want make progess you’re going to have to work on delivering logs or the other slower aspects, in order to complete objectives. I actually found that just driving around the jeeps to be the most fun, I wouldn’t actually be doing anything objective wise, more just seeing what stupid scenarios I could over come FYI, crossing a river is not one of them…
If you like a slower paced, more methodical approach to driving around, then you’re probably going to find some good legs in Spintires: Mudrunner, there are some good challenges and they will take you a fair while to complete as you’ll be toing and froing between getting petrol, fixing broken vehicles, finding lumber yards all whilst needing to use multiple vehicles to do this. But if you’re looking for something a little more fast paced and exhilarating, then you might be left wanting with what Spintires: Mudrunner has to offer.