Spintires: MudRunner is the second game in the Spintrires series, a game where players take control of larger off-road vehicles in order to traverse the most dangerous and unforgiving of terrain.
The main objective of Spintires: MudRunner is fairly simple. Players take control of one of 19 powerful all-terrain vehicles in an effort to deliver a set amount of timber from point A to point B. An idea that sounds simple enough in theory and admittedly sounds pretty boring, but it’s the slow-paced nature of the game that I found intriguing. With no initial rush and in practice the gameplay can be quite difficult; this is where the main bulk of the gameplay comes in.
As you would expect from these huge off-roaders, they’re heavy; which is easily conveyed through the game’s fantastic physics engine. Mud and water dynamically react to your vehicle as it passes through. The wet and sticky mud can be seen clogging up your tires and other parts of your vehicle. Driving through water sees it rush around and realistically displace, cleaning the mud from your tires and bodywork as it does. The idea is not to get stuck, and using your vehicle’s various modes to help you achieve that goal is what makes the game fun. It’s about knowing when to go full out and when to take it slow; being able to recognise the difference could mean success or failure in MudRunner.
Being a simulator there are a couple status meters of your vehicle that you must keep an eye on. The general condition as well as your fuel consumption. A majority of vehicles allow you to enable the all-wheel drive to navigate across the vast terrain as well as enabling the differential lock in those tougher situations, but in doing so will increase the rate at which your fuel will deplete. Driving around on normal roads don’t cause too much of an issue while trying to cross a fast-moving river could cause water damage to your truck as well as increased risk of flooding the engine if you get too deep; it’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your vehicle at all times.
All vehicles also a have a built-in winch. This tool is particularly handy to help remove another vehicle from precarious locations as well as anchoring your own vehicle to a point in order to pull yourself out of potential danger. As well as this you can freely switch to another vehicle that you’ve already found on the map – handy if you’re well and truly stuck.
While overall the controls were fairly solid and translated well to the Xbox One, one of the main complaints that I have was that the steering on the vehicles seemed to be somewhat unresponsive. I’m not too sure if this is due to the nature of the vehicles themselves – after all, they’re old school off-roaders – or if this is a flaw in the game. Either way, I found it a hindrance and frustrating; many a time I found myself unwittingly in a ditch due to shifty steering.
While the single-player campaign is fun, I found that the online mode was much better. The drop in and out system works well and allows up to four players to work together on the same map. Working as a team the aim of the game remains the same but it’s nice to know either a friend or complete stranger has your back should you fall prey to a fast flowing river or should your fuel reserves run low. Additionally, the multiplayer maps can be saved and continued offline so you can pick up your progress where you left off.
Spintires: MudRunner at its heart is a driving simulator and it does this very well while looking great in the process. But if you take away the challenging terrain it doesn’t really have a lot more to offer. If you loved the first game or just want a challenging change of pace then MudRunner is a must buy. You won’t find a lot of in-depth storytelling but with a few like-minded friends, you’ll have a fair bit of fun.