Disclaimer: This game was reviewed using a review copy acquired via the game’s PR company. This does not affect my judgement of the game, and is explained for the purpose of transparency.
Have you ever dreamed of driving a truck through the mud, attempting to deliver logs to the local lumber mill? Ever imagined what it would be like to be in a truck, stuck in a bog with no way of moving? Then Spintires: Mudrunner is the game for you! As much as I poke fun, the game itself is actually an accurate simulator.
The main gameplay of Mudrunners is split into two main sections; the single player mode and the challenges. Let’s start with the challenges as they are the easiest to explain. The challenges essentially consist of transport this thing from A to B, with various obstacles making it challenging in some way. Usual challenge shenanigans.
The single player offers the player a bit more freedom. A big, open space allows the player to go wherever they wish. The main objective is to deliver 8 logs to the lumber mill on the map, however there are other objectives around the map for the player to complete.
The smaller objectives include things like unlocking new trucks, discovering fuel stations as well as log stations for you to get logs for the lumber mill. All of these are unlocked by driving to them, and so this forces the player to drive and explore the map in order to obtain all the trucks and stations. Only part of the map is known to the player, but more of the map can be unlocked by driving towards the watchtowers located around the map.The player also unlocks garages which allow you to change the equipment on your vehicle, making it able to carry different types of log or even fuel if needs be. This can be helpful at points in the game.
It is helpful to unlock the Fuel Stations on the map. At one point while playing I had managed to get my truck to a log station and had filled it up with four logs for the lumber mill. However I only had 100 litres of fuel left (I had used 170 litres to get there). I was worried about not having enough fuel to make it to the lumber mill so I used one of Mudrunner’s handy features to help me.
In the single player mode it is possible to switch between trucks, regardless of where they are on the map. I changed to a jeep and equipped it with a trunk full of fuel. I then drove the jeep to my truck and used the fuel I had carried with me to fill up my truck so I could get the logs to the mill.
The graphics of the game are fine; they’re nothing groundbreaking but they do the job. The audio in the game is the same; the trucks sound good but again are nothing groundbreaking. The game does have some issues with the gameplay though.
The game’s main issue is the camera. The camera is very awkward to work, and regardless of how you position it you still feel that you cannot see properly. It is possible to position the camera so that it faces the front of the vehicle, or have it so that it is positioned at the back of the camera facing forward. When you have a trailer attached you can also position the camera again facing the trailer or at the back of the trailer facing forward. Yet none of these positions seem to give you a full view of the way ahead. There’s also the cockpit camera, but this itself has issues. The major one being that none of the mirrors work, something rather annoying when trying to reverse your truck into the correct position to fill it with logs.
The second issue is a double-edged sword. The game features ultra-realistic mud (or at least that’s what I’m calling it). It’s good because the mud acts like it really would when driving on it. You have to use the differential lock and the all wheels feature to traverse the mud (assuming the vehicle you’re using has those features). Sometimes you will get stuck, and use the vehicles winch to attach to a tree “winch point” and use that to free yourself from the mud. However sometimes it is possible to get slightly stuck and have no winch points. If that happens you are stuck, that’s it. End of. In casual difficulty on single player you can recover your vehicle in the garage, but lose your load obviously. For those of you who play hardcore there is no such option. In fact as I’m writing this I’m wondering if you could use a second vehicle to winch the vehicle out of the mud? This is something I’ll try and get back to you about. The reason I’m raising this issue is because it has happened to me a fair few times, once quite close to my destination and is something that can become very tedious very quickly.
Overall Mudrunner is a good simulator. It offers a realistic experience of driving (and getting stuck) in mud, but the gameplay does fall a bit flat. The awkward camera impacts the player’s experience, but even with all of this the game is still checking out to fans of the truck simulator genre.