Spintires – The Verdict

Spintires – The Verdict

Nick first talked about Spintires back last September when he played the tech demo. The full game was finally released recently, and I’ve been spending a lot of time exploring the maps with the World Cup in the background in the past couple of weeks. The only trouble with that…it drowns out some of the awesome sounding trucks that are in this off-road, mud simulator. Despite the footballing distraction, I’ve decided on my Verdict, read on…

You take the role of a delivery man on one of several mud and tree filled maps tasked with driving around some 1980s era Soviet heavy vehicles. You choose your truck at your garage, one of various add-ons and then set off on your way to a lumber camp to collect some logs and then deliver them to your exporting camp. Sound easy right? Please, think again.

This is a simulator of mud, stones and trees..just one that isn’t that user friendly at first. When you first boot up the game, there is a brief overlay which explains some of the controls and the aim of picking up logs from a lumber camp and taking them to the objective.

Even with the big military truck, I couldn't rescue this one from this small hill.
Even with the big military truck, I couldn’t rescue this one from this small hill.

It doesn’t go into any detail on what different truck attachments do, the best way to rescue trucks from the mud or even the fact that you can switch trucks and return your stuck vehicle to your garage through the map. Some of these aspects are covered in the manual, but who jumps into reading a manual when playing a game on Steam these days?

These are minor details, but strike me of a game that is still rough around the edges and might have benefited from staying in Early Access a little bit longer.

Despite some of these rough edges, this is a wonderfully crafted title and it is the physics of the mud and the trucks which make this the highly recommended title it is. Your vehicles range from small 4x4s to traditional 1980s trucks to hulking militaristic monsters.

Each interacts with the elements in a different manner depending on wheel size, truck weight and whether it supports all wheel drive or a locking differential. It would make sense to turn each assist on every time you take a truck out of the garage. However, they eat up your fuel at a much higher rate. You might find a fuel dump located on the map, or you could choose another truck and attach a fuel tank to it which allows you to refill your thirsty vehicle.

If you get stuck in a muddy ditch, in a lake or even up against a tree when you take the wrong turn, you can easily use the map to reset your vehicle to the garage. That kind of ruins the fun though of an adventure that I have explained in pictures…

This is the fateful truck complete with an attached log trailer. I had high hopes for a successful journey.
This is the fateful truck complete with an attached log trailer. I had high hopes for a successful journey.
I managed to pick up the logs easily enough.
I managed to pick up the logs easily enough.
But when I started coming down this path...I got a bit stuck. The deep ruts in the mud were a result of my trip up to the logging camp.
But when I started coming down this path…I got a bit stuck. The deep ruts in the mud were a result of my trip up to the logging camp.
There was a hearty fuel-tanker near the logging camp. I took control and initially made a botched effort at dragging my main truck out of the mud.
There was a hearty fuel-tanker near the logging camp. I took control and initially made a botched effort at dragging my main truck out of the mud.
I realised my error and attached my tow-cable in a different position. Not much luck.
I realised my error and attached my tow-cable in a different position. Not much luck.
As night fell, I was still stuck in the mud and at risk of my rescue vehicle getting stuck as well.
As night fell, I was still stuck in the mud and at risk of my rescue vehicle getting stuck as well.
At one point in the night, the logs fell off their trailer.
At one point in the night, the logs fell off their trailer.
With the logs lost, I detached the trailer and tried to push my truck out.
With the logs lost, I detached the trailer and tried to push my truck out.
Sensing a breakthrough was close, I made the decision to pull the trailer out of the way.
Sensing a breakthrough was close, I made the decision to pull the trailer out of the way.
Fortune smiled on me and I managed to rescue my truck.
Fortune smiled on me and I managed to rescue my truck.
I felt brave enough to re-attach the trailer in the hope of restarting my journey.
I felt brave enough to re-attach the trailer in the hope of restarting my journey.
Disaster, everything suddenly went wrong and all hope was lost. I reset my truck back to the garage.
Disaster, everything suddenly went wrong and all hope was lost. I reset my truck back to the garage.

There is more to the game than picking up the logs as each map is largely shrouded in a black fog of trucking which can cause navigation issues. You can remove this fog from the map by driving to uncloaking points. Elsewhere you can find other garages which require garage points (earned through truck additions) to unlock and there are a number of trucks dotted around the level for you to find.

It doesn’t lack for things to do, the above trucking disaster took about 45-minutes of gameplay, highly satisfying until the bitter end. If you want a greater challenge, a hardcore mode prevents you from teleporting back to your garage and there is also a multiplayer mode, something which I imagine is great fun.

Yes, I>Spintires might be rough around the edges, but it is an experience and a half. Check out the tech demo if you want to get a taste for the action. I recommend you give this a try, it might surprise you.

Verdict – Headshot

Platforms Available/Reviewed – PC

Please see this post for more on our scoring policy. Review based on Steam media account copy.

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