A niche title if ever there was one. If you like watching grass grow you may enjoy Spintires: MudRunner. If you like watching snail races you may enjoy Spintires: MudRunner. If you like to go fishing in a bathtub you may enjoy Spintires: MudRunner. Hell, if you get a thrill out of drinking beer from a funnel while standing on your head then you just might enjoy Spintires: MudRunner.
Developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive, Spintires: MudRunner will have you driving huge all-terrain vehicles across extreme landscapes. By extreme I mean thick mud, wild rivers, rough surfaces, deep woods, narrow pathways, fog, glaring sun, etcetera. The physics in the game are ultra realistic and there is even a dynamic day and night cycle.
Ok now I have to say that having driven some similar vehicles in real life Spintires: MudRunner falls short of that experience. The real thing is much more fun. And let’s not lose sight of what these vehicles were designed and created for. Work. Hard work. And that’s the experience Saber Interactive has provided. The game is indeed challenging. However the excruciatingly slow pace in which these powerful machines slog through the muddy landscape is mind numbing. So far each mission has taken me close to two hours to complete and at the end of each I found myself thinking “Thank God that’s over”. Operating the machines is simple enough on the Xbox controller but understanding their capabilities and limitations makes me wonder how games like this even get made. Obviously someone thought it was a good idea. Then that someone somehow convinced other people into thinking it was a good idea. I just don’t get it.
Don’t take me the wrong way. The map designs are great and provide plenty of challenges. The physics for the most part are very good. There was a few times where my truck went way past the tipping point I’m sure, but somehow managed to keep it’s wheels on the ground. The lighting effects are very realistic and the environments are highly detailed. But something about the visuals still seems a little last gen. I don’t want to pick on the developer too much here. They obviously put a lot of hard work into this game especially in the physics department. Sound design does an adequate job of bringing the heavy machinery to life even amidst the generic nature sounds in the background. One thing I don’t understand is why is there sooooo much mud. It never seems to dry out. Definitely NOT ideal working conditions if you ask me.
So in the interest of this review Spintires: MudRunner ranks pretty high on challenge. Visually and audibly it is on par with the best of last gen but you might want to bring along your Pandora or Spotify playlist. Controls are easy to grasp. Sadly, for me, it just isn’t fun. It really feels too much like work rather than a game. It sucks up sooooo much time. And to make matters worse, I’m not getting paid. Saber Interactive is a good studio nonetheless. I would love to see their physics system with mud and extreme machines in a good war game with destructible environments. I’m not a huge fan of the genre but feel they can bring something more than what Call of Duty or World of Tanks brings to the table in that regard. Or maybe Monster Trucks and Demolition derby.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.