Platform: PC , PS4 , XONE
Genre: racingsimulator
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive


If you played Need for Speed ​​Heat, then you must have laughed more than once in situations where a driver at high speed demolished one palm after another and the game did not punish him. In SnowRunner, as in its predecessor, MudRunner, this will not work – here you need to not only keep track of the trees but even the stones because the cobblestone turned over by the front wheels can roll so badly that your truck rolls over with the trailer.

Alone with nature

Studio Saber Interactive in some unknown way again managed to make a difficult (and for an unprepared gamer – even hardcore) game, which at the same time makes you worry and swear, and greatly relaxes, immersing yourself in such a way that you lose track of time. There are no story clips, voiced dialogs, and characters chatting incessantly – in this universe no one wants to talk face to face with you, so the nameless driver (they don’t even give him a look) is the only person you will meet.

But it doesn’t matter, the rest of the characters are perfectly played by harsh environmental conditions, which make them treat themselves with all respect and reverence. The task seems to be simple every time – get in the truck and transport the cargo from point A to point B. But with each task, the path becomes longer, and fewer asphalt roads are rare here. One of the three locations, Michigan, survived a severe flood – you can imagine how much dirt and destroyed bridges are there.

The first of them needs to be restored during a short training, where it is explained that observation towers are scattered all over the map, found vehicles can be taken away for yourself, and for building anything, it is enough to bring materials to the indicated place. After that, the player is given a garage and sent to free-swimming – complete tasks, save money, buy more and more high-quality trucks, and conquer other locations. Michigan is divided into four districts – somewhere you come across broken roads, somewhere you cross a lake. Then follows Alaska (also four zones) with snow and frozen ponds, and then you can visit Taimyr with its swamps, warehouses of radioactive materials, and statues of Lenin – there is one less map.

When you first appear on a huge location, the map is covered with the “fog of war” – until you reach the tower, you really do not see anything and you have to hope that the road leads you somewhere. There is plenty of entertainment here, starting with “story” missions and ending with collecting collectible items. Each region has an ultimate goal – in Alaska, for example, we help to remove garbage and restore the garbage chute, and exploration should be carried out in Taimyr, and drilling work is about to start. There are all sorts of minor instructions – some poor fellow drowned the car in a swamp, and we need to pull it to a place nearby with a winch, then the player is simply offered to go to the top of the mountain and enjoy the scenery. There are also competitions for a time where the reward depends on the result.

Collectibles are the same broken cars or parts that are suitable only for certain vehicles. The towers do not show everything – even if you activate each, there will be a lot of dark spots on the map, and there’s probably something hiding under them. Whatever you end up doing, they either give you money or experience for everything – you earn new levels, you can open up more and more high-quality modifications and fill up the list of your trucks with new models. In different regions, there is a different assortment (KamAZ in America, for example, you can’t buy), but you can freely use the resulting transport anywhere – park everything, teleport to another area and get everything you need from the garage.

Carrot and stick

At these moments, SnowRunner, of course, ceases to seem realistic and becomes just comfortable. If your car has turned over in some wilderness, just call the menu and click on the “Evacuation” button – and now you are already standing in the garage with the corrected engine and the tank full, without paying anything. For replenishment of the fuel supply at gas stations, they will not ask for a dime either. If you don’t want to evacuate in a difficult situation, you can teleport to another truck, attach a crane to it and go to save your car. And then sell the crane for the same amount for which it was bought – they allow experimenting here with all the details and even trucks, without taking away any interest.

For the rest, the game tries to be harsher – if you roll over and scatter the load along with the trailer, get ready to either mess around with the crane or even start all over again. And the path here is often long, and at some point you begin to feel too confident – you do not slow down, seeing that a couple of hundred meters are left before the target, and then you put your hand to your face and sigh sadly because of your own stupidity. This will happen often, but not all basic instructions come down to delivery – in one of the missions you need to install a seismic vibrator on the truck and scan points on the map without any pointers, only relying on the changing distance to the targets in the corner of the screen. Such tasks are no less exciting and bring the necessary variety.

Although it is already so full here thanks to the way the designers thought out the cards. You can drive from any sawmill to enterprises or other purposes in different ways – there is a short but difficult road, but for the sake of maximum safety you have to sacrifice time. Somewhere you can easily ride on the asphalt, and somewhere you have to dig in the mud, using a winch and clinging to trees. The winch, as in the last part, has the most vivid moments – and how at the last moment before the fall you press the button and hold your balance, and how you climb into the lake and grab each bush, half of which will break, unable to bear the weight .

When coping with natural conditions succeeds, SnowRunnerbegins to bring great pleasure. You buy a cool truck, install the best engine among the available ones, select a gearbox, put on suitable tires and set off to conquer almost impassable sections at the beginning of the game. You’re thinking how best to approach a large snowy hill or road, two-thirds of which consists of water. Trying to squeeze between two stones in a big truck, although it would be better to fit some kind of scout like the Chevrolet found in Michigan – but since you have come this way, you need to take a chance and hope for the best. Or not to risk it – one of the small bridges in Taimyr has so tattered my nerves that after three attempts I try to go around it far from sin.

Potholes on the road

Everything would be great if not for the bugs. In one of the assignments, I was asked to deliver two sets of spare parts for cars and a trailer to the supply base. The first part of the order was accepted, but they didn’t want to pick up the trailer, although it was he who was indicated on the map as the goal of the mission. Fortunately, all the moved objects remain in their places – even the cargo that you threw to the ground after the accident will remain there. Therefore, with the release of the next patch, completing these tasks will not be difficult. Departures with an error are therefore not such a big disaster, but only when playing solo – in a co-op they occur more often than we would like, and the efforts of the second user are in vain.

The joint game is generally arranged in a strange way – it would seem that if in the task they are asked to do several things, distribute the duties and do everything separately. And with most tasks, this is exactly what happens – we searched for the same points for scanning separately from each other, and materials were transported from different ends of the map. But sometimes the game does not count all sorts of trailers brought, completing the task only if the other player takes the same trailer and tries to pass it in the same place. It would be great if this were fixed with a patch, since you lose a lot of time because of this – some cards are huge here.

At the same time, the cooperative mode makes the game more fun and generates even more fun situations. When we traveled to a neighboring area, I took a quick pickup truck, and my partner was driving a truck and dragging me with a winch through the mud and swamps. In another moment, I saved the overturned KAMAZ with a crane, but in the end I made everything only worse and, in addition, I turned over on the same small hill. By the way, in the “coop” the assembled parts and found cars become available to all participants in the session – also a big plus of the joint regime. But the scheme with the purchase of trailers by one player and selling to another does not work – if you need money and experience, you can earn them only honestly.

SnowRunner often resembles Death Stranding – the same meditative journey with beautiful scenery, consisting entirely of travel, delivery, and struggle with the environment. Only with clamped L2 and R2 this game cannot be overcome – here you will have to use a lot more buttons using the gearbox, choosing goals for the winch and determining the route depending on the car, tuning, and trailer. Even when miserable pennies are given for the accomplished mission, the mood cannot be spoiled by this – the very fact that you defeated the snow, mud, swamp or seemingly impregnable mountain and did everything accurately and correctly, more than enough.

Pros:Three regions with several huge maps in each; clear progress system and many tasks; a sufficient number of vehicles and improvements for them; variety of situations; difficult gameplay punishing mistakes; cooperative mode for four.

Cons: bugs, including those that do not allow you to pass the main mission; unpleasant crashes with an error; periodic problems with the camera; in cooperative mode, the requested objects are sometimes not accepted until another player arrives.



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