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 is in the style SnowRunner. Because Saber Interactive’s off-road driving (and dizzying physics) simulator turns the simplest jobs into very intense challenges and, in the process, pits the player against the colossal force of nature itself. Encouraging you to be observant and reckless.
The sequel to MudRunner (and legitimate heir to Spintires) retains and expands everything that works wonderfully from the original, emphatically betting on the driving heavy machines in extreme environments. Managing to give its deserved prominence to every inch of land on which we put our wheels and making each journey, far from being tedious or routine, become a great adventure.
A niche game? Rather a very different way to experience off-road driving. SnowRunner It is a departure from the tangent against the traditional speed bets or the classic competitive challenges, so that the gaming experience is much more along the lines of Human: Fall Flat or a sandbox that Forza Horizon 4, Dirt 5 O Euro Truck Simulator. Although there is a little bit of all of them in the set.
Because what makes it exceptional SnowRunner it is summarized in two concepts: its way of transmitting to the player an almost tangible driving sensation and, in the process, promote their creativity in adapting to mud, torrential waters, snow or ice. Most of the time with several tons on the trailer or a large load hanging from the crane.
That said, no matter how skilled you are at the wheel, getting stuck, being subjected to the relief of the different terrain or getting trapped with your wheels buried in the 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 sheer luck, wake up a very special feeling of triumph.
SnowRunner: Return of the off-road driving in extreme environments
The plan was supposed to be simple: He had to deliver a simple load, some metal girders, near the old bridge in order to rebuild it. My truck, a GMC 9500, it was almost pristine and with the pond full and the entire journey -between which I pass to look for them and arrive at my destination- would take me about ten minutes or less. In game 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 of it, the engine stalled and a single question in my head: How the hell do I get out of this?
The open secret of why SnowRunner has not stopped receiving praise since its launch on Steam, PS4 and Xbox lies in your physics 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 makes the mud, snow or water have what can be considered a realistic behavior. Or, at least, absolutely credible.
And even though SnowRunner invites us to be reckless – being fair, its environments constantly challenge us – at a certain point the planning phase is no longer optional: no matter how good you are at the wheel, sooner or later you will need to be more selective with the vehicle you use and In the process, stop doing the goat and play with the handbrake and put some chains on the wheels.
We could debate on the importance of having an analytical capacity when it comes to getting fully into a -literally- swampy terrain or if based on improvisation and with some luck better results are obtained carrying a load down a very dangerous slope . In any case SnowRunner it makes the simple interesting, the complicated makes it believable, and in the process turns the simple into an experience.
And, in the process, SnowRunner is crowned by merging the passion for driving with the creativity of the sandbox. Especially because, the more we play and advance, the more our possibilities will open, the more our map will expand and, of course, our contracts will end up being more sweet and challenging.
Ahead, more than a dozen environments located throughout Alaska, Michigan and the Taimyr Peninsula (in Russia) that beg 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 an open world feeling.
Now, the best thing is that Saber Interactive is clear about how to get an exceptional benefit from them: in addition to the classic transport, rescue, towing, repair or exploration missions, there is also the possibility of carrying colossal machines of enormous tonnage. Missions that, in SnowRunner
Trials of fire that will require adapting to the weather, the cycles of day and night, the powerful nature manifesting through the terrain and, more recently, through the HD vibration of the Joy Cons.
Lights and shadows of experience SnowRunner en Nintendo Switch
We have become used to seeing impossible conversions parade and in portable format for the console two in one Nintendo, and the case of SnowRunner is no exception. Now, in this case there are nuances to take into account: although the visual section has never been one of the great claims of Saber’s off-road experience, the resolution and the finishes of the game on Switch are very modest. Maybe too much.
We had anticipated that when playing in portable mode, what was seen on other desktops would not be the same, but the truth is that things do not improve much when playing with the console connected to the television. Proof of this is that each and every one of the own captures that you will see accompanying this analysis.
In this regard, the version of SnowRunner offers, from its settings, three curious solutions to dampen the visual result in Switch: a motion blur system, a cinematic grain effect and a filter FIDELITYFX which promises to improve sharpness. The last two, by the way, are enabled by default.
Of course, if we are to use the interior cameras we will see that the mirrors will be of little or no help to us.
Another curious aspect of the Switch has not so much to do with the game, but with the design of the console: both the Nintendo Pro Controller and the Joy Cons lack triggers, offering instead flat buttons. That said, that will be the least of our problems if we get stuck in the snow.
For the rest, and being really fair, Saber has managed to transfer the entire experience to the Nintendo console. The physics, all the contents and the outstanding meticulousness that they have put into designing the terrain or giving a special value to each and every aspect of the vehicle that we are driving are successes shared in all editions. And, by extension, the arrival of SnowRunnerd Switch suits its increasingly interesting and varied catalog wonderfully.
That you are reading these words means that I managed to escape from those torrential waters. And it was not necessary to use the rescue function! It was neither by luck, nor by making calculated movements, but with a tightly tied cable, some perseverance, and an unusual optimism for the situation he was in.
An optimism fueled by the fact that he wants to continue playing SnowRunner. To finish the bridge that was being built and see what new challenges lay before me. What new vehicles will I have at my disposal once I have achieved it and see how they adapt to the harsh conditions of each map. Those that I know, and those that I have yet to know.
Because getting stuck in snow, mud or any nature trap is part of the experience SnowRunner. And how we are motivated to get out of these jams or to navigate adversity wisely is what makes it an exceptional game. Especially when reaching the top of a peak that seemed impossible the game itself rewards you with privileged views.
SnowRunner It deconstructs the feeling of driving, of being behind the wheel, and transfers it to the screen wrapped in a sanbox format. Making the player face through colossi on wheels to extreme environments. The machine against nature itself.
And if the off-road driving experience of SnowRunner it goes out of the ordinary and works wonderfully in each and every one of the systems in which it says present, the portability of the Switch makes it a very unique edition. Above all, for those who have already surrendered to the game itself in other systems and they want to enjoy it wherever they are.
Because Saber Interactive offers us to work during our free time, but, if I’m honest, with SnowRunner it’s nice to work overtime.
|Platforms||Nintendo Switch (analyzed version). Also available on Xbox, PC, and PS4.|
|Multiplayer||Yes (up to 4 players)|
Focus Home Interactive
|Launch||May 18, 2021|
- The physics system is spectacular
- Its mappings are full of possibilities and constantly challenge you
- The thoroughness that has been put into each vehicle
- The resolution and finishes of the Switch version are more modest than in other systems