The wide open world, sandbox game named SnowRunner is an extreme simulator of driving in harsh terrain, which lets you take the reins of a wide range of vehicles, including advance pickups, off-roaders and trucks. Let’s get driving!
Your task is to take the cargo from point A, and bring it to point B. However, in this case your route goes through extremely harsh terrains covered with mud, swamps, and – which is a new feature – snow and ice.
Nevertheless, in SnowRunner your success doesn’t depend on hitting the gas. All the time, you have to cleverly operate mechanisms such as 4WD or differential locks (which makes all the wheels rotate with the same rpm, but hampers the steering). However, we’re not allowed to overuse those amenities because they strongly impact the fuel consumption.
Despite there’s a lot of fuel being consumed, the game purposely lacks many petrol stations. Every vehicle is equipped with a winch, which could be attached to another vehicle or tree. This feature can really save you, if you get stuck deep in the mud, or if the hill turns out to be too steep for you to drive up.
In comparison to the previous game (MudRunner), which hit the market in 2018, the developer introduced a whole lot of improvements, which makes SnowRunner an outstanding game. This time the cargo involves different items such as planks, bricks, toolboxes, and some bigger stuff, including pipes, concrete slabs, and even containers. You need to receive the cargo from specified plants or warehouses, and put it on the proper semi-trails.
There are three lands to choose from: Michigan, Russia and Alaska – those lands are divided into three or four smaller areas. E.g. in Russia, we find swampy terrain and quarries. Don’t let the name fools you – only Alaska involves snow and ice. Michigan is the easiest as there are many tarmac roads. However, in Russia, we find mainly mud roads and swamps.
In each of the three above-mentioned lands, you’re allowed to have one garage located exclusively in the first, smaller area. All the purchased or gained vehicles can be stored or transferred between the garages. There’s another new feature to the game. For every completed task, you get cash and experience points. Earned money can be used to purchase vehicles/semi-trailers, mechanical/visual upgrades. The experience points enables you to level-up the driver, which is needed to unlock advanced vehicle upgrades such as tires. At first, you only have access to tarmac tires, and along with another level-ups we get the access to all-round, off-road, mud and chained tires. I had to cross the oceans of time to get the chained tires. I needed to spend a whole week driving for several hours each evening. Don’t expect, you’re gonna hit the roads of snowy Alaska the minute you have the game installed.
Apart from delivering cargo, there are many special tasks like rebuilding bridges. To make it happen, you have to deliver concrete slabs and builder squares. Clearing a path blocked with stones is one of those things you need to deal with right away. It would shorten the route to your destination. You may take a break from delivering cargo, and help the local folks – you can haul the damaged vehicles and semi-trailers, which got stock, or just, take a vehicle from point A to point B.
I’m more than happy that the developer finally opted for the improvement of cockpit mapping, it’s way better in comparison to the previous game – in MudRunner there was just a dark dashboard with a few indicators. SnowRunner includes many licensed vehicles like Caterpillar, Ford and Hummer. Each vehicle has a beautifully mapped cockpit. Moreover, you can look around – which, to my mind, is a great thing because, finally you can look through the window to precisely back the vehicle.
One of the best features of SnowRunner is the brilliant physics of distortions on the soft terrain. The game also needs to be praised for outstanding performance of vehicles suspensions, as well as for the distortions of soft tires, which cave into obstacles such as rocks.
Another great feature is that every stone or log you find on the road acts as a single object, which is impressive, and makes the gameplay far more difficult. Vehicles/semi-trails careering is also worth mentioning – just like in real life, your vehicles gets careered over 45 degrees, and you’re screwed.
Once again, the developers took care of day and night cycle, which is smooth. The dusk slowly sets in, and the dawn welcomes you with a breathtaking sunrise. What is more, you can manipulate the time by setting it up to six hours ahead, and add some variable conditions, including fog, rain or snow.
To sum up, SnowRunner is better than MudRunner in every way. It has three magnificent locations: the Russian mud, swamps, battered tarmac in Michigan and Alaska covered with snow and ice. Your skills will be put to an ultimate test of driving vehicles in extremely harsh environments. It’s a fantastic real all-terrain driving simulator.
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