Mudrunner: A Spintires Game is a semi-sequel to Spintires which debuted on PC in 2014. It’s exactly as its name suggests, a Spintires game involving mud, lots and lots of mud.
If you’re not familiar with Spintires then that could be forgiven, while the original game did well it never cracked the major markets but it did well enough to spawn this title and make the hop over to console.
The idea is simple, you’re tasked with completing missions and tasks such as picking up and delivering timber, refuelling and repairing vehicles or hauling trailers around a sandbox environment using nothing but big, hulking Soviet-era machinery, mainly bloody massive trucks.
It sounds fairly simple and it would be if not for that sandbox environment we mentioned, it’s this that gives the game it’s difficulty, not the tasks you have to complete. The entire area is drenched in mud, deep, pooling, thick mud, mud your truck cane just about make it through given enough skill and manoeuvring.
It’s here the game challenges you, the vehicles are heavy and lumbering and under the hood of the game is an incredibly realistic physics engine and the mud literally threatens to swallow your truck. There also steep rocky hill climbs to master and raging rivers to cross using nothing but your speed and winch to survive. All this turns mundane delivery missions into nightmares of precision movements and planning ahead.
Even the vehicles fuel and cargo can act against you, for instance, if you’re carrying large amounts of liquids in barrels a sudden tilt to the side can topple your truck due to the shift in weight within the barrels. The same goes for logs, to much side to side movement will build momentum and send you rolling into the dense woodlands.
Now all this may sound stressful and in a way, it is but Mud Runner finds a way to keep you interested and coming back, despite being a brutally unforgiven game. There is hardly any room for error and you will be punished for the slightest miss calculation but you’ll want to try again and again to get it right.
Over the course of the single-player mode, you can unlock other vehicles, reveal parts of the map and genially do as you please, earning points to unlock add-ons for your garage and being able to perform more tasks. There is also a single player challenge mode which pits you against some extremely testing scenarios, complete with bonus objectives.
Add to this the open world multiplayer where you can join other players and collaborate with (and rescue) and you have a tidy little game on your hands. A good simulator and a damn good challenge too. There is also room for expansion with more vehicles and add on’s that could be introduced.
All in all Mud Runner is a fun spin-off from the main game and a great introduction for console players, it also won’t break the bank as it’s priced lower than a triple-A title, meaning you can treat yourself to an early Christmas present.
The game does, unfortunately, have its downsides, the UI is pretty terrible and hard to navigate with a controller, the devs seemingly having opted to port over the PC version rather than tailor make one for console users, The map screen is also fairly dire and hard to navigate. The biggest offender, however, is the camera, opting for a free camera rather than any fixed options means you’re constantly moving the camera to see a different angle and while we can see the idea behind this, the mechanics of it just don’t hold up to the task meaning a lot of time is spent getting it set in the right place, the cockpit view also leaves much to be desired. It’s a case of getting used to it but it’s a bit of a turn off at first.
If you’re looking for something a bit different and truly challenging then you could do worse than picking up Mud Runner, it keeps you busy for a while as there is no such thing as a short go with this game, it takes time, patience and skill to master these behemoths of the Soviet-era and one false move could mean hours of work undone.
Mud Runner: A Spintires Game is available now on PC and Consoles (PS4/XB1)