Saber Interactive / Focus Home Interactive
When I first heard of developer Saber Interactive’s new game, SnowRunner, I knew I had to try it out. After all, if it was anything like its predecessor, MudRunner, I’d most certainly be in for a good time. Whereas MudRunner is mainly focused on delivering logs to rather generic-looking resource posts, in SnowRunner, you begin within a more diverse setting in North America.
I love how, when you first boot up SnowRunner, the game drops you unceremoniously into the cabin of a rugged pickup truck in small-town USA. From there, a tutorial teaches you the basics—i.e. how to shift, how to engage your truck’s four-wheel drive, and the like. And just like MudRunner, the meticulous physics are back by popular demand, along with enhanced graphics to suit the advances in computing technology (ray tracing, etc.).
Gameplay-wise, players are tasked with a wide assortment of jobs and have strategize what sort of vehicle they think suits said jobs. These jobs take place in spots both in North America as well as Russia (Canada will eventually be added; a first for the series).
You’ll have to traverse all sorts of potentially dangerous off-road terrain in order to complete your various missions. Sometimes you’ll have to brave sludge-like mud while others, deep water. The latter requires that your vehicle be outfitted with a snorkel of some kind. There’s also the titular snow that can turn out to be a real hazard, as it can be in real life.
In some cases, you’re likely to get stuck. When that happens, you can either switch to another vehicle (if playing solo), or you can have a buddy come to your rescue. Just make sure he’s driving a vehicle that has a winch or no bueno; he might end up getting stuck as well.
SnowRunner can be frustratingly difficult sometimes, especially when you do something crazy like flip your vehicle over or fall off a sheer cliff. However, once you learn more about both the terrain, as well as how to maneuver the different vehicles at your disposal, SnowRunner can hit that nirvana-like sweet spot of simulation heaven.
Even when I was driving around in the ultimate challenge in late-game, snowy Alaska, I’d learned so much by then that everything just clicked, and I was able to rise to the occasion no matter what. This is a game that will push you to your limits and beyond.
For all of you graphics junkies out there, have no fear—SnowRunner is an absolute stunner, looks-wise. The game’s maps are also much larger than MudRunners, which lends much more of a sandbox vibe to the proceedings. These two elements combine to make it a sure-fire winner in terms of recording all of the action on video or streaming it live.
The dramatic make-it-or-break-it nature of the extreme missions and environments add a third layer that makes it compelling to watch; I’ve caught myself watching it streamed on Twitch on more than one occasion.
SnowRunner is undeniably the pinnacle of rugged, off-road driving simulation. With its easy accessibility, yet intense level of challenge, it can compel you to want to correct your failures over and over. In short, it’s an addictive title that can immerse you within its gorgeous and deadly environments. Try it out for yourself.
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