Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: Xbox One
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 28/04/2020
Traversing the Region
I would say that I am a simulation game aficionado of sorts, having played MudRunners before, as well as other games in the genre like Farming Simulator, Construction Simulator and EuroTruck Simulator. For some, the driving simulation style of games just never clicks. For others though, the gameplay is relaxing and enjoyable, despite frequently finding myself careening down a hill or tumbling over an embankment.
SnowRunner takes what works for the game before it, MudRunner, and mixes in the other games I mentioned for good measure and more often than not, it works better because of it. MudRunner introduced the world to hazardous driving conditions through thick bogs, sliding through water and mud, and downpours. SnowRunner takes that mechanic and opens the game up into an open-world simulation game that stretches across a few areas of the world, each with a few interconnected regions within them.
Hooked and Winched
You will quickly see that the main crux of the game is progression and slow, methodical progression at that. With not much to your name in terms of vehicles you own, it’s your job to find downed trucks and haul them out of the muck and mire to bring them back to your garage and restore them so you can use them in your fleet. Along with vehicles you will find upgrades which can be used to enhance your vehicle’s performance in high water, thick mud, keep you from sliding on ice, snorkel underwater, and more.
It’s in these bits of progression points in the game where you will feel accomplished in ways that can become similar to how you feel once you meet a boss fight in Zelda or find a new location in Assassin’s Creed. Speaking of The Legend of Zelda, you are equipped with a tow cable which can be used to winch your way forward along trees and poles that are dotted along your paths. You can even winch yourself to a friend in multiplayer or bring one of your own vehicles to help winch you out of a tight spot.
Tasks and To Dos
One main difference with SnowRunner is the interconnected world and overall larger map design as opposed to smaller primarily lumber transportation style missions found in MudRunner along with its smaller more sparsely dense maps. As you complete tasks around the maps, you are placed in you will slowly open up quicker routes from point A to point B, along with unlocking more missions and objectives which can be completed to upgrade your vehicles and your fleet.
Tasks found in SnowRunner feel a lot like the smaller contract and work projects in Construction Simulator. Similarly, you have larger projects which coincidentally help open you up to other regions in the maps, as well as lead to other areas through tunnels. Those areas are easily accessible so you will need to complete the job by bringing supplies, rebuilding bridges, removing rockslides, fixing downed power lines, recovering fuel, feeding farmers, and more.
A breathtaking view
If there is one area that SnowRunner exceeded my expectations was in its world design. The game is lush and green in areas, as well as full of reds and oranges in the fall foliage. Mud and dirt muck up your truck’s body, dings and dents occur whenever you bump too hard into a railing or other vehicle, and the water and rain look amazing as it beats against the side of your trailer. The mud and snow deformation under your tires is SnowRunners “platforming dungeon” of sorts, as knowing your route and planning ahead is just as important as knowing when to push forward or when to use another vehicle to pull you out of the deep dirt and snow.
There are 40 unique vehicles to discover, upgrade, and customize in the regions all over the game. Trucks can be outfitted with engine upgrades which will come at the cost of higher fuel consumption but may boast more power and thus the ability to push through denser mud. Chain upgrades for tires will help reach your destination safely on the snowy maps in the game and when travelling over ice. Deciding on whether or not you want to carry an extra load of lumber or steel with you may save you a trip, but it could cost you in weight as you sink through the mud.
It’s better with friends
I haven’t had much time online with my friends, but I can tell you already that SnowRunner is a better game with friends. My two friends and I have already played a few hours together where we divided and conquered the first region both together and separately on some tasks. While one of the guys decided to hit up the watchtowers which help to open up the map visually as well as show us new tasks to be completed, the other two guys worked on repairing a bridge and some downed power lines near the farm.
As we played together, we were able to assist one another by pulling each other through the mud and also by helping load and unload the proper supplies to its destination quicker than if we were doing it alone. One word of caution though, as you progress through the game the host is the one unlocking tasks and contracts, the other party members simply gain money and some upgrades which can be taken back to their single-player game. While this isn’t ideal, I suppose it keeps you from jumping in on a lower level person’s map with higher levelled vehicles and just moving through the regions too quickly.
A journey I’ve enjoyed
SnowRunner is one of those games that doesn’t deserve to be as good as it is or as fun as it is though it very much is. The simulation genre is often a head-scratcher as it entails playing games of jobs we most likely would find boring or tedious. If there’s one thing, I have learned while playing SnowRunner, or MudRunner, EuroTruck, or Construction Simulator, it’s that I would be dead on the first day if that were my real-life job. (Of course, I hope I would have had training first). If my time with SnowRunner is any indication though, it’s that driving and doing work in a game can be fun and good for the soul.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Snowrunner from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/snowrunner/9n299qjph574?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.