The fastest and easiest way to get from point A to point B is through a straight line, but in video games it is often more interesting to take a detour. Especially if it’s SnowRunner style. Because Saber Interactive’s off-road (and dizzying physics) driving simulator turns even the simplest of tasks into very intense challenges and, in the process, confronts the player with the colossal force of nature itself. Encouraging you to be careful and reckless.

The sequel to MudRunner (and rightful heir to Spintires) retains and expands everything that works wonderfully from the original, betting emphatically on the driving heavy machinery in extreme environments. To manage to give its deserved place to every inch of ground on which we put our wheels and to make each trip, far from being tedious or routine, a great adventure.

A niche game? Rather a very different way to experience off-road driving. Snowrunner It’s a departure from the tangent against traditional speed betting or classic competitive challenges, so the gaming experience is much more in line with Human: Fall Flat or a sandbox than Forza. Horizon 4, Dirt 5 or Euro Truck Simulator. Although there is a bit of all of them overall.

Because what makes it exceptional Snowrunner it can be summed up in two concepts: its way of transmitting to the player an almost tangible driving sensation and in doing so, promote their creativity to adapt to mud, torrential waters, snow or ice. Most of the time with several tons on the trailer or a large load suspended from the crane.

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That said, no matter how skilled you are at the wheel, getting stuck, being subjected to different terrain or getting trapped and with your wheels buried in deep mud is part of the experience. And, as a rule of three, to get out of these circumstances, by skill, taking into account the physics of our vehicle or by pure chance, wake up a very special feeling of triumph.

SnowRunner: the return of off-road driving in extreme environments

The plan was meant to be simple: He had to deliver a simple load, metal beams, near the old bridge to rebuild it. My truck, a GMC 9500, was nearly pristine and with a full tank and the whole trip – between which I pick them up and get to my destination – would take me about ten minutes or less. In playing time, of course.

Seven minutes later, I find myself with half a vehicle at the bottom of a river, the load completely wet, which is the least, the engine has stalled and only one question in my head: How the hell do I get out of this?

The open secret of why Snowrunner has continued to receive praise since its launch on Steam, PS4 and Xbox lies in your physical system, which not only simulates the reaction and behavior of each of the 40 vehicles in the game and the different slopes and obstacles of the terrain, but also gives mud, snow or water what can be considered realistic behavior . Or, at least, absolutely believable.

And although Snowrunner invites us to be reckless – being fair, its environments constantly challenge us – at some point the planning phase is no longer optional: no matter how hard you are behind the wheel, sooner or later you will have to be more selective with the vehicle you are using and in the process, stop doing the goat and play with the handbrake and put chains on the wheels.

We could debate the importance of having an analytical capacity when it comes to fully penetrating a terrain – literally swampy or if it is based on improvisation and hopefully better results are achieved by carrying a load on a very dangerous slope. In all cases Snowrunner it makes the simple interesting, the complicated makes it believable and, in so doing, transforms the simple into an experience.

And, in the process, Snowrunner is crowned by the fusion of the passion of driving with the creativity of the sandbox. Especially because, the more we play and advance, the more our possibilities will open up, the more our map will expand and, of course, our contracts will end up being softer and more stimulating.

Ahead, more than a dozen environments spread across Alaska, Michigan and the Taimyr Peninsula (in Russia) begging to be conquered. Some of them leave those of the MudRunner original in terms of size and possibilities. Interconnecting the different areas through tunnels to give the impression of an open world.

Now, the best part is that Saber Interactive clearly knows how to derive exceptional benefit from it: in addition to the classic transport, rescue, towing, repair or exploration missions, there is also the possibility of transporting colossal machines of enormous tonnage.