Expeditions: A MudRunner Game. Don’t have roads? Then we’ll come to you!


At first Expeditions: A MudRunner Game, the new off-road simulator from the creators of SnowRunner, is confusing – it feels like an add-on to SnowRunner. However, soon we realize that this project has a completely different philosophy, and therefore it is noticeably different from its predecessor. We will tell you more about it in the review.

  • Developer: Saber Interactive
  • Publisher: Focus Entertainment
  • Release date: March 5, 2024

And here’s the thing. The original SnowRunner presents a broken, but already somehow developed territory: there are asphalted roads, farms, factories and plants, even small towns. And players mostly transport cargo, helping to develop regions – to build a spaceport, to restore production, to establish infrastructure for the forthcoming agricultural cluster.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is about something completely different. This simulator is aimed at exploring the unknown, traveling through the wilderness, where you can find anything – from ancient artifacts of a forgotten civilization, to the rusty remains of the car of the previous explorer, whose adventure ended in the swamp. Here you will have to forget about any roads and literally explore the virgin land: squeeze between birch trees in the virgin forest, forcing the turbulent rivers, climb steep slopes, and look where no man has ever set foot.

The plot is based on expeditions, i.e. the player becomes the leader of a team searching for various interesting places. Three areas are available at the start: Little Colorado (training location), Arizona (desert, mountainous terrain) and the Carpathians (dense forests, wide rivers and swamps).
In the future, the map of the game will be expanded, but even now there is a lot to do in the game. Arizona and Carpathians are divided into several areas: Grand Canyon, Sonora Desert, Waup Bay, Coconino County in the first area, Slip Rock Swamps, Unshakable Island, Mountain Mazes, Extinct Volcano in the second area. Each of these has several outposts that serve as a launching point for a mission, as well as a number of expeditions, contracts, and errands.

Expeditions are the main tasks that drive the story. By completing them, you can unlock the next missions, as well as gain access to new vehicles, specialists and upgrades. Missions are not boring: we go in search of dinosaur remains, we go to look for the cargo lost by the government, we take photos about a natural disaster for a local reporter, we install cameras to observe wild animals. For successful completion of the expedition you can get money, and if you fulfill a couple of additional conditions, like “don’t roll over once”, the amount of reward will be increased.
Contracts – missions are simpler. Most often you need to go to a place and do something simple, for example, scan the area or photograph some artifact. You can fulfill the contract at random, during the expedition, and the protagonist receives money as a reward. Finally, errands are the easiest side quests: get a car out of a swamp, visit some interesting points, and so on. The reward is again money.
Compared to SnowRunner, the quest system feels a bit simpler, and does not give the feeling of participation in some global common cause, but the quests are fascinating, and you are gradually drawn into the story, even though it is presented by text briefings.

However, the main thing in this game is not the story or tasks, but the gameplay itself. And if you have played SnowRunner, you know what to expect from Expeditions: A MudRunner Game. In this respect, the tittle doesn’t deceive expectations, but it can surprise you with a couple of surprises.For example, drivers now rely more on gadgets. In addition to the winch, the jack and anchor are added to the mandatory set of tools for each expedition: the first will allow you to put the overturned car on wheels, the second is a mobile point of the winch – even if there is no tree nearby, to which you could attach a rope, do not despair, because the anchor will come to the rescue.Additionally, you can equip the vehicle with a couple of fuel canisters, a field repair kit, a spare tire, as well as research devices such as a rangefinder, camera trap, hydromonitoring system and so on – if the expedition conditions require it.

The familiar SnowRunner game systems, like four-wheel drive, downshift and differential lock, haven’t gone anywhere. But now they are supplemented with the ability to adjust tire pressure, which has a great impact on the behavior of the car: Scout with inflated tires will be fast, but at the same time “bouncy”, while on flat tires you can more effectively climb or descend a slope without fear of overturning, but the car will be worse handling, and the risk of damaging the wheels on the bumps off-road will increase significantly.

In general, Saber Interactive has worked very well on improving the physical model and control system of the car. It’s a pleasure to watch the work of suspension, different behavior of wheels in rear and all-wheel drive. Even the spare tire has its own hitbox, and if it is slightly protruding from the body, it can be caught by some tree. Although there are some things to complain about: the cars are quite bouncy, and not very realistic bouncing on bumps. It seems to be a game convention, but it can be a shame to jump up on a little-noticeable pebble and overturn. The principle “you drive quieter, you’ll drive farther” works perfectly here.

Speaking about cars, we should mention the fleet of Expeditions: A MudRunner Game. The spin-off is focused on scouts and all-terrain vehicles, so you can forget about heavy tractors that carry a couple or three trailers behind them. Here the heavy truck is there, but in a single instance, while the lion’s share of the store and garage is made up of lighter vehicles, all with their own advantages and disadvantages

New cars are opened gradually, as well as new parts for them, and the full pumping of the car does not mean that now the transport will cope with any hardships. On the contrary, the wrong upgrade can nullify the advantages of the car, so you need to thoughtfully choose components, based on the tasks facing the player. In addition, many expeditions require special conditions: for example, for one expedition you will have to install an impressive metal detector on the roof, and for another – to equip the truck with a portable drill. And so on.

Another new game mechanic of Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is specialists. These are characters that provide passive bonuses: for example, the mechanic can reduce damage from collisions or provide more charges for the anchor, the logistician allows you to find more details when scouting with binoculars, and the manager allows you to sell items found during the expedition more efficiently. Multiple specialists can be taken on a mission for a variety of benefits.

Already now in the game you can disappear for a good hundred hours, especially if you set a goal to close all expeditions, contracts and assignments. The developers have already announced the first year of support, during which players will get four seasons of content, and if we remember that SnowRunner still continues to be updated with new maps, quests and vehicles, we can assume that the spin-off will suffer the same fate (and we don’t mind).

If you didn’t get enough exploration in SnowRunner, if you wanted to explore the unknown behind the wheel of a scout instead of driving logs and bricks on a tractor, Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is for you. However, it’s also suitable for fans of the original title, because here you’ll find even more difficult terrains and incredibly challenging trials. And you will surely stop and turn off the engine more than once just to stand and admire the beauties of untouched nature – the game looks damn good, and local sunsets can be printed out and hung on the wall in a frame.

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