October 31st, 2017 came a new game developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive. Spintires: Mudrunner was an upgraded version of the windows only title Spintires for consoles.
It is pure off-roading simulation. There are very few stable roads which don’t churn up as you drive over them, so you need to be careful, but the game hosts a load of powerful all-terrain vehicles to help cope with the tough going.
The basic idea of the various levels is to stock up Lumber Mills throughout sandbox maps, but its not as easy as just jumping in your vehicle and away you go.
Starting in your garage you will start off with a basic stripped down truck. From the garage you can decide what loads you want the truck to carry and equip it accordingly. Throughout the maps, there are other garages, watchpoints, Lumber Mills which need stocking to progress, Fuel Depots and Log Stations.
To beak it down, from your start garage I always found it easier to equip my truck with parts to stock another garage. By that I mean fitting add-ons and pulling a trailer which gain points toward a new garage. Sounds confusing, but once you get into the swing of things it becomes second nature. From there I would head for the next garage on the map, delivering my load and unlocking that next garage. Once it is unlocked, it serves the same purpose as the first one, whereby you can then change your trucks add-ons.
Getting between destinations isn’t as easy as you would probably think. This is a simulation game after all, and it heavily leans on simulating real world mud physics. The heavier your vehicle, the more chance it will get stuck in deep, wet mud or rivers and deep ponds. This game does make you stop and think about what you are about to do, planning a suitable route ahead of you. If you do get stuck, there is a winch fitted to the vehicle which can be attached to some parts of the scenery to pull you out of danger, but you need to be careful as sometimes this can lead to your truck tipping and your load spilling out everywhere (that happened to me numerous times).
Along the route, there are other vehicles which can be unlocked by simply driving up to them, some more powerful than others and will make mince meat out of the heavily rutted tracks, but they will churn up those tracks making it harder for other vehicles that you may need to cover that route to get through. Also, they will eat through petrol faster than the smaller vehicles.
That’s where the Fuel Stations come in. You can simply drive up to one and fill your vehicle, or you can equip a second vehicle with a fuel tank and a fuel trailer, fill them up at the Station and drive out to assist your other vehicles which are low on fuel.
The watchpoints reveal more of the map. Once you start the level, there are parts of the map , however which are unavailable, you will see where places are, but no details on tracks to get to them. You need to drive up to the watchpoints to reveal everything in that area, but be careful how you do try to get to them, the last thing you want is to be stuck!
Once you have a vehicle equipped with Lumber add-ons, you can visit the Log Stations to deliver wood to the various Lumber Mills. These Mills usually need 8 pieces of wood delivered which sounds easy. Problem is, there are varying lengths of wood you can attempt to deliver (small, medium and long). Obviously, if you take on delivering the small pieces of wood, it will only count as 2 pieces delivered of the 8 needed, but your truck will be lighter and easier to maneuver through the terrain. The larger the pieces of wood you want to collect and deliver, the larger the trailer on your truck will be and will also be heavier causing it to bog down in the mud easier.
So that’s the general idea of the main single player campaign. You will unlock further areas once you have completed the starting ones. The game does come with a relatively easy to follow tutorial to give you the very basics of the game and a challenges section which continues nicely on from the training. Added to those options is Multiplayer which will take you online to work together with others to finish the levels. This is great, there’s no competition involved, it is purely working together driving various vehicles to help the others.
This game excels at slow speed. When you do get the chance to drive on the very few normal roads, once you start to go a little too fast the vehicles become increasingly harder to control. Crawling through and over what should be impossible terrain is what makes this game. Moving the camera around to see the tyres plowing through mud and it flying everywhere was really fun, not to mention hooking my winch onto younger trees, pulling myself slightly away from my predicament and then the entire tree gets ripped out of the ground under the weight of a heavy truck. Its all in the detail with this game, and that detail is brilliant.
The base game for me is a must buy for anyone looking for a true off-road simulation and gets a solid 9/10 from me. The graphics are brilliant and the gameplay is extremely challenging making the game last for a long time.
So, a year after its initial release and the first major DLC has dropped on us in what promises to be a great addition.
Released today, American Wilds is a brand new expansion for the game on PS4, and it brings a whole host of new content to the game. Adding new vehicles to the mix from the likes of Ford, Chevrolet, and Hummer, plus a couple of new locations. These new maps, named Mount Logmore and Grizzly Creek, are “inspired by the rugged landscapes of Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota”, and look to present you with yet more challenging gameplay.
Its business as usual as far as the gameplay is concerned and nothing has been lost from the base game. I did find the DLC even more challenging however from the standard maps, probably due to the new vehicles which have been added not all being all-wheel drive and so being harder to use off-road. American Wilds most definitely makes you plan your levels out more than the initial game did, but this all adds to a fantastic experience.
If you’re a fan of the initial game, then this add-on is a must for you.
Please note: AIR Entertainment were provided with both the base game and DLC for review. The above review is my own personal opinions and has not been swayed in any way, shape or form