Thrilling vehicular action at 3 mph.
May 14, 2020 10:35 AM   Subscribe

SnowRunner [Game Trailer] “SnowRunner puts you behind the wheel of a huge roster of 40 customizable off-road vehicles from manufacturers like Chevrolet, Caterpillar, Freightliner and more in some of the world’s most untamed, unforgiving environments. [...] Master extreme hazards like snowbanks, ice, rivers and mud — each with their own unique challenges and physics — to get your mission completed as efficiently as possible. Huge variety of mission types await, and you can take on the elements alone or with friends online in fully synchronous four-player co-op multiplayer! Plus, with mod support.” [Available via Epic Games Store, Xbox One and PlayStation 4]

• Slow but satisfying [Top Gear]
“The previous game in the series, Mudrunner, demonstrated developer Saber Interactive’s mastery of the sort of gloopy, sticky mud you’d normally find on the way to the beer tent at a wet Glastonbury. Snowrunner adds similarly impressive snow and ice, offering a huge, brand new Alaskan environment in which to get hopelessly, helplessly stuck. Your job is to pick up contracts, delivering cargo, towing other vehicles and eventually building a miniature empire across the three separate regions. The meat of the game though is the moment to moment challenge of juggling diff settings, switching to your low ratio box and slowly inching your way up an ostensibly gentle hill. This is not a game for the impatient, even when you’re making good progress you’re travelling so slowly that you’re in danger of being overtaken by continental drift. When you’re stuck, it can be positively maddening as you sink further and further into the filth, tyres spinning fruitlessly in the mire. Those moments where you somehow extricate yourself from a seemingly impossible position, though, will have you punching the air in grim satisfaction.”
• Snowrunner Is The Strangest Driving Game I've Ever Played [Kotaku]
“Snowrunner begins in the flood-ravaged town of Black River, Michigan. Thanks to the weather, bridges are out, powerlines have toppled, and dirt tracks have become quagmires. Even the few actual roads that criss-cross the map are part-submerged by swollen mountain streams, their slick surfaces making even the relative safety of tarmac a place where speed is punished rather than praised, my truck skidding wildly at what I considered to be relatively modest speeds. Thankfully, much of the ‘action’ takes place off-road, on dirt tracks so churned up by the weather that Michigan starts to look more like the Western Front than the Midwest. It’s in those swamps, where your back wheels spin uselessly while those at the front swivel desperately in an attempt to find some kind of purchase in this sea of mud, that Snowrunner must get its make-or-break moment. Despite the rural setting and extreme weather being reminiscent of any number of Dirt Rally or Forza Horizon titles, fans of traditional racing games will find almost nothing for them here. Rather than power, the key to success is patience and problem-solving.”
• SnowRunner makes it fun to get stuck [Venture Beat]
“I didn’t get 20 feet before the truck stopped moving. It’s made for the highway, so it doesn’t have all-wheel drive or anything to deal with such terrain. Getting stuck was inevitable. And while that sounds frustrating, it’s not. It’s exciting. I immediately began thinking of ways to get my truck moving again. At first, I found a few trees for my winch, but my load was so heavy that I ended up bending the trees in half. So instead, I got into my Chevy, drove it down to the mud patch, and started the laborious process of dragging the big vehicle out of the muck. Thirty minutes later, I’d finally dragged both trucks back onto something you could call a road. That victory was so satisfying. SnowRunner is a game about finding a way to pull yourself through situations that a kinder game would treat as a fail state.”
posted by Fizz (36 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This game seem like a perfect Jon Bois scenario where he attempts to break the game. Can't wait for his analysis.
posted by brent at 10:50 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Think of this like the Dark Souls of truck simulation games. YOU WILL GET STUCK. There's a kind of perverse joy in conquering something so slow, so difficult, and so taxing. It is oh so satisfying to complete a delivery of equipment, to slowly get yourself out of a muddy rut using a winch. It's also kind of perfect for right now because the scenery is beautiful and that's the game. Different trucks delivering different things while trying not to get stuck. It is what it says it is. And I love it.
posted by Fizz at 10:51 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]

Mod support is already available on PC but it's coming to console soon and I'm looking forward to driving around as a giant octopus.
posted by Fizz at 10:53 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

The ancestor-game Spintires (I gather it became Spintires: Mudrunner which became just Mudrunner, and there were some publisher tiffs and titlefights or such?) was one of those things I got on a whim and ended up really enjoying. Not so much slow as it resets the usual game metrics of accomplishment: getting across that half-kilometer of terrain might take thirty minutes but is more satisfying than racing through a hundred.

It looks like I'm headed to virtual Alaska in the near future to do unfortunate things to the landscape but mostly vice versa!
posted by Drastic at 11:03 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]

This game seem like a perfect Jon Bois scenario where he attempts to break the game. Can't wait for his analysis.

"Breaking the Game" is more the domain of Monster Factory. Bois only does sports games.
posted by sideshow at 11:08 AM on May 14

I have not played this, and can’t imagine that I will unless it shows up for free on PS+, but I have been weirdly fascinated ever since I heard about it and I’m just so pleased that it exists.
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:09 AM on May 14

Also, for anyone interested in giving this a test, Spintires: MudRunner is now available on Gamepass. It's not SnowRunner but it has similar gameplay. If you have an Xbox One or a decent enough PC, Microsoft's monthly game service is not a bad deal.
posted by Fizz at 11:09 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Is there a campaign where you just drive your lifted 4x4 to Wal-Mart and back and never take it off the pavement?
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:11 AM on May 14 [12 favorites]

Is there a female drivers mod?
posted by Wetterschneider at 11:22 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]

I want this game, except instead of trucks it’s Mario karts and you are Lakitu dutifully fishing your friends out of canyons and piranha plant jowls.
posted by oulipian at 11:31 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Sadly no. I've searched and not seeing that option. Character creation is absent from the game, and I understand why, they likely wanted to put all their priority on the driving, environment. That being said, it would have been easy to just make the character in the truck gender neutral. When you switch to the inside view, all you see are two hands covered in gloves. Unfortunately it's default white-looking bro inside the truck.
posted by Fizz at 11:31 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]

mud season....the game!

glad it scratches that gaming itch for some people, but I was kind of confused on why it was being advertised at 1 am on adult swim the other night.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:32 AM on May 14

Is there a David Ryder mod to customize the name of the driver?
posted by stannate at 11:35 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I love the game concept and can't wait to play this.

That said, watching a tanker truck turn over in a stream on the demo video was bone chilling. Kind of disturbed by the glorification of expanding extraction infrastructure, recreational streambed destruction, turbidity events, etc.

I'm actively trying to reconcile my reaction with three decades of "shooting virtual people is ethically fine, dad."
posted by head full of air at 11:40 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]

This looks like fun, but I need the character creation DLC so I can choose the morally unforgivable act my driver committed prior to taking a job as a truck driver in the most hazardous conditions on Earth.
posted by Dmenet at 12:24 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

The other odd thing about this game is that unless you pay with co-op or multiplayer, you're completely alone. It feels like you're the last truckdriver on the planet. It's a weird experience. Maybe I'm too early in the game and some other NPS drivers will show up, but from what I'm seeing so far, I think it's just you and your truck and a hellscape of an environment filled with swamps and treacherous mountains.
posted by Fizz at 12:27 PM on May 14

I have Mudrunner and Euro Truck Simulator. I am LAUGHABLY bad at all of them, like, can barely get past the first mission type bad. I am usually TOTALLY KICKASS at racing/driving games but these simulation type ones vex me to no end. this looks fun but i know it will be a waste for me to buy :(
posted by capnsue at 12:29 PM on May 14

I've played Mudrunner quite a bit and what I really enjoy about it is how as you learn to play it starts to become almost a puzzle game. You take a look at the terrain, you try to get some clues about how it will behave and how you might even be able to modify it to your needs, for example: that depression is probably a bog that the jeep will get stuck in, but if I pull down a few small trees with the winch and drag them into the bog, they might give me just enough purchase to get through it. I've never done off-road driving myself, but the mud physics are satisfyingly convincing. I'm looking forward to trying out Snowrunner!
posted by WaylandSmith at 1:16 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Can you have a plumbing truck and choose a male, anachronistic Italian stereotype as the driver?
posted by SoberHighland at 2:02 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

I used to keep long play-through videos of the original Spintires game up on one monitor while working. They're strangely soothing, almost meditative. The grumbling rumble of the big engines, water and mud splashing, the struggle of some random person as they slowly drive a truck across the wilderness. It's like a warm, weighted blanket thrown over the background gremlins in my brain.

Maybe all that says more about me than the game, though.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 2:50 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I've been playing this! It seems quite improved from its predecessors, by the way, so I think it's worth buying Snowrunner instead of Mudrunner.

Dark Souls of truck simulation games

That's hilarious - my friend said the exact same thing. I guess it's a common sentiment. But it actually came up again when we were talking about taking a shortcut vs the long way around. Let me make it easy for you: the shortcut is the long way. You'll flip, you'll get stuck, your friend will come and they will get stuck, you'll get another truck and spend 15 minutes getting there, lining up, winching... you should have taken the main road in the first place.

What's funny is that this is an exact analogue to how bosses play out in the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne. They're brutal and it only takes a mistake or two to lose control and die. So unless you're really really good at the game, your best strategy is to take no unnecessary risks. You think, I can probably get one more hit in after the monster attacks... well, that's the hit that makes it so you can't dodge the next one, and you die, and come back and have to do it all over again. Doing it slowly and right the first time (or more likely, the 5th or 6th) is waaaay faster than doing it quickly the 20th or 30th time. It's the same with Snowrunner. Pick a route, minimize your risk, and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Of course, that's assuming you want to avoid trouble. Getting out of trouble is also half the fun of the game! :)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:19 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Is there an option to drive a Zamboni?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 4:53 PM on May 14

Is this where I get to make a quip about having to make a decision between 1. Attempting to ford the river and 2. Caulk the wagon and float it across?
posted by oceano at 5:39 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Ice Road Trucks DLC, please! I want to drive 15mph across a lake that is cracking ominously, knowing that if I slow down or speed up, I could plunge through the ice!
posted by LEGO Damashii at 6:06 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Well, like 15 mins into the game I got my giant GMC stuck in a snow bank so you might not even need DLC.
posted by sideshow at 6:11 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

I think I read in a review that there is in fact an ice road segment later in the game.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:10 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Actually, I went back and found that review, and it doesn't actually confirm ice roads, per se. It mentions frozen lakes and ice-covered roads. Still, they've got to do a proper ice road thing at some point, it just seems like a necessity.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:43 PM on May 14

Also, how does this thread not have the frankly amazing Death Stranding parody trailer?! #unitedwedrive
posted by tobascodagama at 7:48 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]

As I watched trailer I said "This looks great, and I'll try setting it on max resolution!" From my speakers I could hear the tinny laughter of my computer.
posted by zardoz at 8:55 PM on May 14

SnowRunner puts you behind the wheel of a huge roster of 40 customizable off-road vehicles

Behind the wheel of a large automobile, surely.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:00 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

I think I read in a review that there is in fact an ice road segment later in the game.

There are 3 locations (each with 3-4 maps) that you'll experience: Michigan, USA, Alaska, USA, & Taymyr, Russia. I can confirm that you can install tires with chains. So I'm pretty sure that there will be an ice-road section of the game at some point.

Yesterday I tried to tow something that I was obviously not set up for (didn't have a vehicle with a powerful enough engine or towing capacity). This is a game that wants you to understand that you have to learn how to crawl before you can run.

Also, if you do pick this up, do yourself a favor and turn off the in-game music and just load up your spotify and throw this playlist on. There's something wonderful about driving through the virtual mud while listening to Dolly Parton.
posted by Fizz at 5:33 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Snowrunner begins in the flood-ravaged town of Black River, Michigan. Thanks to the weather, bridges are out, powerlines have toppled, and dirt tracks have become quagmires. Even the few actual roads that criss-cross the map are part-submerged by swollen mountain streams...

Ah yes, the swollen mountain streams of ... Michigan?
posted by miguelcervantes at 8:40 AM on May 15

This looks great, all the fun of off-roading without the destruction of nature and rampant militarism and fascism of the off-roader community (at least here in Brazil)
posted by Tom-B at 9:55 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

So I've encountered some sort of bug. I'm stuck in the garage with no trucks to pick from. Going to any of the three maps just allows me to go to the Truck Store. I was really getting into it too.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 2:50 PM on May 16

> Is this where I get to make a quip about having to make a decision between 1. Attempting to ford the river and 2. Caulk the wagon and float it across?

This is getting pretty tangential, but an idea just popped into my head like a confetti filled balloon. Why isn't there a dark and twisted version of Oregon Trail? Like, have it start off similar but the various dangers would start to escalate. Snake bites on the ass, broken legs, strange and terrible diseases, mysterious quicksand, suspicions of cannibals in your party, demonic cult symbols, increasing nightmares, skinwalkers, wendigo, alien abductions, etc.

Maybe a way to build out your party from some randomly generated archetypal cast of weirdos. Hmm, maybe I should just throw together an old school text adventure game. 🤔

Sorry for the stray ramble.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 7:19 PM on May 16

A bit late to the party, but I was playing a ton of this (on PS4) up until a couple of weeks ago, and having a great time. A frustrating but rewarding (and quite zen) time. It' s on hold for a bit while my partner recovers from surgery and I entertain her by playing through the Life is Strange catalogue (we started with 2 because it was free via GamePass, but it hasn't harmed the experience) on her behalf, but yes, I'm keen to get back to it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

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