SnowRunner is the latest game from Saber Interactive. The sequel of MudRunner is my current stay-at-home relief. With big games such as Final Fantasy Vll also released not too long ago, it is this truck driving sim that actually took most of my time. The first entry in the series was good, but also disorganized and clearly a first pitch for something admittedly niche. The addiction to SnowRunner comes as a surprise. As a long time gamer, racing games and sims really haven’t been my jam. I can count in three fingers those I really appreciated in 27 years. SnowRunner though is not a “racing” game, the average speed you’ll go is probably 3 MPH. There is something very rewarding that makes every suffered trip and delivery worth it. Many things in common here with even Death Stranding, which I also ended up loving. Showrunner is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
SnowRunner – The Slowest yet Most Fun Traversal
On paper, SnowRunner sounds like the most boring game ever, a chore even. Trying to quickly explain the basics of the game won’t easily sell it to anybody, understandably so. You go from A to B driving heavy trucks through extreme off-road conditions. The beauty of all this is in the skills, planning, and even strategies you need to come up with in order to be successful. Very often you’ll face the decision of either take the short harder route or easier but much longer path.
No matter what you choose there will always be complications that the game throws at you. It is vital to choose the proper vehicle, accessories, and trailers. This game is HARD, you can easily fail just 2 feet away from your destination. Slipping and rolling down a slope after long minutes of struggling throw deep snow will make you consider turning off the game altogether.
The fun starts when everything comes together. You start the game with very basic vehicles, and as you complete objectives you’ll unlock upgrades to better your trucks and scouts. The more you upgrade the more locations you can reach and harder deliveries can be done. In that sense it almost feels like a Metroidvania for truck sims. Activities vary from simple deliveries to rescues, explorations, and even some time trials. The game is gorgeous, vehicles present great detail and the environments are beautiful to look at. The game has a dynamic weather and day cycle which makes the objectives even more unpredictable to deal with.
Watching the tires digging and cutting through mud and snow is oddly satisfying if not hypnotizing. If you get stuck on your path you can get creative and try to get you out of the problem with a multitude of solutions, if you remember them of course. You can try to use gear speeds to gain additional friction or attach the winch to a tree and pull yourself out. If worst comes worst dispatch another truck and let him help you, just make sure to not get that stuck as well! Even though incredibly frustrating at times, when the game flows it is an incredible chill and relaxing experience. Many times I found myself playing the game while catching up to a podcast or having a movie on the side.
Micromanagement has its satisfying aspects as well. Part of planning a route is considering how much gas you carry and how often you can stop to a station to refuel. Do you want to securely purchase a trailer or go out of your way to get one along the beaten path?
The Addiction of SnowRunner
SnowRunner will always make you question what approach would be best to utilize. Inventive, planning and caution combined with a fair amount of improvisation create a very sweet package. Customizing and upgrading your favorite vehicles is fun and purposeful, giving a sense of genuine growth. Watching four wheels pulling through terrains that would intimidate anybody feels empowering. The physics engine really shows its muscles and at the end of the day that’s the ultimate selling point. Michigan, Alaska, and Taymyr make up for a huge playground containing hundreds of hours of off-road driving, even in co-op!
Have you tried SnowRunner? What did you think about it?