Spintires: Mudrunner is the ultimate version of the popular selling originally titled Spintires title. Now fully released on both PS4 and Xbox One and including its original home PC. Forza this ain’t, as you’ll be roughing it out through terrain that will make you think who would even in their right mind drive through here. You’ll be in the driver’s seat of vehicles that are built to stand the tough wilds of the land. It is up to you though to complete the jobs set out to you.
At the menu there are several modes to choose from. You have Casual which I highly recommend for people just starting out, then there is of course Hardcore mode which may appeal to those who like to abuse themselves even further than this game will initially. Challenge mode is where you are presented with a select number of objectives that you need to complete to progress. Finally there is Multiplayer which I will talk a little bit more of later in the review. Thankfully when starting the game, you are instantly put in a tutorial to help give you a hand with getting to know the ins and outs. I highly recommend completing this section as it is quite helpful.
Forza this certainly isn’t. Not that, that is a bad thing. I never expected a Forza experience here. What I mean by that is the flashy and fast cars that I’m used to are now replaced by heavy and slow moving brutish vehicles, and boy how big some of these vehicles can be. What I was given was a collection (19 vehicles to be exact) to make my way through rugged terrain to complete the task set out for me. Your biggest enemy here is the terrain, and at times also your petrol gauge. Getting from point A to point B requires planning. This is going be a slow, tough process but once you complete your task you’ll be filled with a sense of fulfilment. Getting a job done can be tough and you will make mistakes. Vehicles themselves have only a certain amount of damage that they can be dealt. I found though that this damage mechanic for vehicles isn’t finely tuned, as I would hit a small tree that should be nothing up against some of these larger vehicles and yet a decent chunk of my trucks percentage of health would be drained. Hopefully we see a patch for that soon.
While making your slow and tough journey through the land you’ll find yourself in situations where you may be stuck. Thankfully you have a winch that can be tied to trees in the area to pull you out of danger. Along with the wrench you can also stabilize your car’s tires and apply four-wheel mode. Be mindful however and using four-wheel drive can chew through petrol like a man down on his luck with a bottle of scotch. So always be wary and keep an eye on your petrol gauge. If it does get too low make sure to check your map for the location of the nearest petrol station. Speaking of the map, you will find yourself opening it a fair bit. While there will be markers on the road to aid you in the direction of your objective, it always helps to pop the map out to find out the safest and least threatening path.
Before setting out and depending on how many vehicles you have located around the different maps you will unlock new ones and add ons and trailers to help you accomplish each task. Pick the right vehicle and if need be trailer for whatever items you are transporting. You will want to explore every chance you get as you may come across new vehicles that you get the option to drive and add to your garage.
A highlight of the game here has to be said is its main interface. The HUD isn’t crowded and the main controls for your vehicles are put down in the bottom left and when switching the camera to inside your truck they end up showing on the dashboard, giving you more of the main screen. A nice bit of work put into the game right there. A perfectly executed and designed HUD.
A mode I certainly didn’t expect on a game like this but nevertheless is a feature added that I’m sure will get some use. Around four players can be driving around on the same map. Almost identical to single player in the sense that you can explore the map and deliver logs to lumber yards, and even with the option to save and come back to where you played last. Public and private friend lobbies can also be set up. This can be a fun group game as you can be escorting a player carrying the load and if they get stuck you can use your winch to pull them out. Multiplayer makes the game feel less lonely and empty, so I can see a fair bit of people trying this mode out.
Graphics & Sound
Mudrunner is a gorgeous world, when you’re not roughing it through mud. I can’t remember seeing better water effects in a video game before. But Mudrunner does it in spades. The mud being kicked up onto the side of your vehicle and put stuck in your tires only to be washed off when you cross a stream of water. It all works so well and looks fantastic. Small little touches that make the game look and feel that much better.
There are a few pros and cons in the audio department here. Mudrunner can be a long and tough journey at times. One that could be made much easier with a decent soundtrack. However, there is absolutely no music playing while driving except for when you are getting close to a lumber mill. My advice, create a mudrunner playlist on Spotify and get driving. It’ll really help. Sounds during the day or night change. While at night for example you may hear bugs and owls.
Spintires Mudrunner gives fans of off road sims a great title to add to their gaming library. The amazing physics that are present do a wonderful job of immersing you into the game. This is an easy game for newcomers to pick up and have a go with. All that is missing however is a bit more life in it. Outside of multiplayer the game really feels empty and can be pretty lonely out in the world driving around. I do recommend that if you can jump on multiplayer as often as you can because at least you’ll have someone else in the world to interact with. Spintires is worth trying if driving sims are your thing, if not then you won’t find a home here.