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Mud For The Mud God: Spintires Out Now

Early impressions of heavy vehicle sim

I'd planned to have all of my thoughts on the majesty and mudslides of Spintires ready to release into the wild today, but it's been a busy week and I haven't quite managed to put in enough hours to claim my HGV license. The heavy cargo vehicle simulator is out today though and I've seen enough to confirm that it is the most credible depiction of grinding machinery into mud that I've ever played. Even the smallest vehicles are in danger of becoming entombed in the slippery stuff, wheels digging their own graves as the engine buckles under the strain. It's a beautifully slick and believable depiction of driving over difficult terrain, but I haven't played enough to know if the game lives up to the simulation.

More on this soon, when I've played more, but right now the actual business of the game hasn't gripped me. Ploughing across rugged tracks and going off the off-road to bump and grind through trees and over hills is a blast, showing that speed isn't the only thrill in driving games. The landscape is altered by vehicles, torn and scarred, and every divot and ditch is a potential catastrophe. Careful adjustments and patience are necessary.

The game built around the engine has various tasks scattered around its maps - collect this and deliver that - and more are unlocked through exploration. I've enjoyed learning the handling of vehicles and discovering tricky inclines more than discovering and reaching objectives so far, but that might change as I become more familiar with the game.

Spintires is a powerful simulation. I worried that it might be Heavy Vehicle Simulator 2014, a tedious slog with facile physics, but despite occasionally simulating exactly that (a tedious slog), it's intricately and engagingly modelled. Despite enjoying a spot of logging, I can't help but wish the deformable terrain were driving a hill climb racing game.

Back to the lumber mill.

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