Spinning the wheels.
What is this game? A question I asked myself more than once going into this review. With a name like Spintires: Mudrunners one would be forgiven to think it was a racing game in the same vein as Motorstorm. Alas, it is not. It is not a racing game at all. Instead this unique experience focuses on spinning tires (hence the name) through treacherous terrain in order to deliver goods. Yup that’s about it, but it is not as boring as it might sound.
Simulation games are nothing new. People can drive trucks cross-country and operate farming equipment. This is truly a new generation of gaming. So props to developer Saber Interactive on dreaming up the most obscure thing to simulate.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
As I mentioned this game is all about traction and terrain. Players jump into the driver’s seat of massive trucks and attempt to deliver items from point A to point B. It’s really that simple. What makes it interesting is the systems involved. Different gears give different power and players can even engage the drivelock to force all tires to spin in unison. It is a majestic dance of glorified button presses to make all the systems work together.
Fail to do the correct functions and my truck was buried in mud, unable to progress. The tutorial teaches the basics, but there are a host of challenges to better familiarize players with the deep mechanics of the game. There is a lot here, and I found myself overwhelmed and intrigued at how much it takes to keep everything moving properly.
The campaign mode serves as a sort of sandbox to play around in. Without going through the challenges though, expect a ton of trial and error. There are simply too many nuances to this game to simply jump right in. This will likely be a drawback to impatient players looking to simply spin some mud. The game requires patience and understanding to fully appreciate everything it has to offer.
What drew me in though was the world the game takes place in. It is dingy and grimy. Perfect road conditions for driving a massive truck through the elements. Everything is presented nicely and it looks great on console. The camera takes some adjusting to as it is not a traditional setup. Instead there are isometric angles to help players keep track of their terrain around them. It took me close to an hour to adjust, but after I did, I fully understand why it is setup this way. Playing with a normal camera simply would not work.
Spintires: Mudrunner is an interesting game in a genre nobody knew existed. Believe it or not, there has been previous games in this series. It is a niche title landing at an inopportune time. Released when the flow of Fall releases are not flooding the market might have helped its chances. However, anyone who digs in is sure to find a gem buried underneath the mud.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.