It’s one of those games that puts the world on your shoulders and makes a lot of fun out of it

SnowRunner, the long-awaited squeal to MudRunner, has finally launched, and I have to admit that I’m quite impressed with Saber Interactive has crammed into a game that could have been relatively boring. Going into the game for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Is it a trucking game or an off-road game? Just how realistic can the terrain management and driving dynamics be? Well, once the game downloaded, I found answers to my questions right away and a whole lot more. This is my first impression of the game and my reasoning behind saying, “you should definitely check it out for yourself.

What is SnowRunner

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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SnowRunner is described by Saber Interactive as a game that “puts you in the driver’s seat of powerful vehicles as you conquer extreme open environments with the most advanced terrain simulation ever.” To me, it quickly became obvious that it’s more than that. This game makes you the God of trucking in more ways that one. You don’t just deliver cargo – you find unique ways to get to your cargo and get it where it needs to go. You become the one person that can save the region from demise as you work to help solve problems like broken bridges, rock-slides covering roads, down power lines, and so much more.

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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There’s more to it than just moving cargo or driving a big truck to where it needs to go. In fact, there are more than 40 vehicles at launch, all of which are officially licensed vehicles. You start the game in an old Chevy K1500, and you’ll soon switch to an older GMC flatbed. As the game progresses, you unlock more vehicles, more regions, and more contracts. It’s not a short game by any measure.

SnowRunner’s Terrain Simulation is Downright Amazing

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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When I first started playing SnowRunner, I was in denial about how realistic the terrain simulation could actually be. As someone who’s lived in Michigan a majority of his life, I’ve spent a lot of time off the beaten path (props to Saber for starting the game in Michigan, by the way.) The ease of getting stuck in mud or finding loose soil when you deviate off a path is more realistic than I expected. Trying to get unstuck is just as realistic (And frustrating) as anything you’ll experience in the real world. And, believe it or not, rocking back and forth really does work in the game just as much as it does in real life. After playing a number of games that promise real off-road physics, it feels like Saber Interactive has nailed it with SnowRunner.

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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So far, I’ve only played through the initial region, so I’ve been stuck mainly to a few paved roads and lots of muddy trails. If driving on ice and snow is just as realistic as sludging through the mud that is Michigan’s terrain, then I will be very impressed.

SnowRunner Gameplay

The video you see above is the initial tutorial and the first mission. You start out at home, I assume, and your goal is to get to a watchtower. These watchtowers serve the same purpose as the highest points in Assassin’s Creed or in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Once you get to them, you’ll open up an area of the map.

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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It’s a good thing they are there too because getting to new vehicles, needed supplies, or where you need to deliver your cargo is challenging. There are no easy paths to take, and no matter what path you choose, you’ll find new obstacles and challenges to overcome.

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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As best I can tell, SnowRunner features a fairly large, open-world sandbox. You can take out trees; you can leave the muddy trail and plow through someone’s yard if you like. Some objectives have several paths, some of which are harder than others. You have to use critical thinking to get out of tight spots. If you get stuck in the mud, you can use your winch to help pull you out. If that doesn’t work, you can switch to one of your other vehicles, winch up, and try to pull the other vehicle out of the hole it’s stuck in. Winch characteristics are unbelievably accurate to the extent that you can do more harm than good if you’re not careful, trees and other winch points can break, and there’s a limited distance your winch cable can go. So, if you’re stuck with no winch points, you have no choice but to switch to another vehicle.

SnowRunner First Impresions – Making You The God of Trucking
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Overall, I have to say I’m largely impressed with SnowRunner, and I’ve barely even started playing it. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be bringing you more details, more gameplay videos, and more impressions. So far, I have to say it’s definitely worth paying for if you’re into trucking, off-roading, or even grindy games.

Full Disclosure: Focus Home Intertainment sent me an Xbox One download code to try the game out.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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