In search of treasures: SnowRunner
I haven’t written an article about modern games for more than six months, which is why the column “In search of treasures”, dedicated to great, but not so hyped projects (such as Call of Duty or Fortnite), is actually neglected. However, about a month ago, I discovered SnowRunner, which became a breath of fresh air for me amid the stuffiness of the current industry, so I simply cannot not tell about it and advise! It’s funny, because I knew about the project for a long time, but I was convinced that this kind of gameplay and genre is not my thing at all, so I shouldn’t even try to play it, so as not to waste time. Several years passed like this, and when I saw her again, I still decided to try. Everything looked too pleasant and attractive. It is difficult to surprise me with any game and even more so to captivate me for a long time, but apparently the combination of interesting and meditative gameplay, built on the study of the world and interaction with it, the stunning physical model of both the transport itself and the surface still did the trick. I hope I can convince you to try this project by dispelling all doubts.
For those who do not know what we are talking about, I will explain: SnowRunner is a simulator of off-road driving on cars and trucks. Imagine if the “Dalekobijniki” had attached cool graphics and a physical model to the game and allowed you to enjoy the process of overcoming swamps, broken roads, huge piles of ice and ice, as well as a sea of mud, from which even with a winch to get out is a great success. And believe me, no matter how strange it sounds, you will definitely enjoy this process (I tell you as a person who is completely indifferent to cars)! To overcome all the obstacles created by nature, a huge selection of cars from both the Western world and those created in the territory of the former USSR is provided.
The main feature of the project, which most strongly distinguishes it from thousands of peers in the genre, is the well-developed physics of your car and the surrounding world. Moreover, I’m not talking only about how pebbles roll down the mountainside, and trees fall according to all the laws of real life, here even the solid earth has a physical model! Each surface has its own passability and viscosity, so it will be easier to drive through sand than, for example, through a pile of snow. Always remember that when you slow down in deep mud, swamp or snow, you will gradually begin to “sink” in it, so, just like in reality, it is better not to stop for thought in the middle of the bog. Understanding this, an experienced driver will constantly look for a compromise between a heavy (or loaded) car that has good grip on the road, but easily sinks and loads in the harsh conditions of the wild, and a light-duty vehicle. All this works with overcoming rivers: water, depending on the strength of the current, will affect the car in different ways. Too strong a current can even overturn you, but the heavier the vehicle, the weaker it feels the negative impact of the water flow. And, of course, do not forget about the possibility of flooding the car and, in particular, the engine. In order to protect yourself from this danger, you can put different types of snorkel.
After a little training, many regions (real corners of our planet) will open to you, each of which is divided into several interconnected maps. It happens that access to one of the cards is initially closed, and in order to be able to get there, you need to complete some task. Each place differs not only in its name, but also in its surroundings, nature and, of course, its climate. You will clearly feel the difference between the swampy Taimyr and the snowy Amur, between the wide forests of Wisconsin and the ice of the Kola Peninsula, whose northern lights will not leave you indifferent and will remain in your memory for a long time. Each location you visit is created with such love and meticulous attention to detail that it simply cannot help but touch you, forcing you to stop periodically to survey the surroundings and think about the eternal…
So that you do not have to conquer endless spaces aimlessly, a large number of different tasks are at your disposal (as a rule, this is the delivery of cargo; reaching a certain hard-to-reach place or extracting a cargo/trailer/car from another swamp with subsequent delivery to a place inhabited by civilization). In addition, you can find old, wrecked cars from which you can get upgrades for your iron horse (this will be one of the first goals of your “hunt”, as it allows you to install a more advanced suspension, engine, transmission, etc.).
By exploring the world, completing assignments and contracts, participating in competitions (challenges), you will receive experience (and, of course, money), as soon as it is collected in the right amount, the level of the driver will increase. When moving to a new level, new, increasingly advanced means of transportation will become available to you, as well as spare parts to improve existing ones. Customizing the car by collecting new components and experiencing progress is interesting, because each modification can change the capabilities and behavior of your iron horse! You can improve not only the “stuffing” of the car (or add various modules such as an additional trunk), but also the exterior: repaint and change bumpers and rims, use both exterior decorations and for the interior. All this allows you to adapt the car to your own taste!
What else struck me was the lack of artificially created obstacles and the ability to influence the world. For example, you can drive to a river and see the task “Help build a bridge, bring us planks!”, but no one forbids you to cross this river (or make a hook and drive in another place). Yes, it will not always be easy, yes, it will take time, but you will get through! With a bridge, of course, it will be easier, but no one forces you to help with the construction of the crossing. Or, as you travel through the region, you can help rebuild an abandoned gas station so you can replenish your fuel supply in this wasteland. And a good deed was done, and it is useful for you =)
Tasks are not always limited to the banal delivery of cargo from point A to point B. Quite often you will have to do something unusual, for example, conduct geological exploration using specialized equipment, or use a metal detector to search for parts of a plane shot down in 1941.
Speaking about special equipment, one cannot but say about its variability. After all, in addition to the special I described above. equipment, quite ordinary trailers of various types are available to you (each of which is suitable for one or another situation), bodies and cranes that you can install on a truck. They are needed not only for the execution of another contract, but can also help, even if they are not used in the task itself. For example, I was delivering cargo with a car with a trailer, due to my mistake it overturned and all the contents fell into the river. Despite the fact that it is a simulator, the game gives indulgence, and no one forbids the task to be replayed. But realizing that I don’t want to go through the mission from scratch and waste a lot of time, I just took another car and equipped it with a crane. After driving to the scene of the accident, I not only got the overturned truck and trailer back on their wheels with a winch, but also loaded the cargo that had fallen out thanks to the crane! And there can be many situations like this one.
I should note that I can hardly be called an experienced SnowRunner player, because if you look at the entire volume of content that is available in the original game and came out after the add-ons (they cost pennies, but give a lot), I was able to study only a small part of it. My post is not the advice of an experienced player. But after playing it and getting a lot of new impressions (despite a lot of gaming experience), I just couldn’t help but tell others about it. I hope I managed to convince those who doubt to try this game, and to those who have not even heard of it before, discover a new opportunity to have a great time. Such a project is truly one in a million!
So that you can see what the gameplay is, I will attach a small gameplay clip where I, getting out of the forest, pull out someone else’s car that got stuck in the swamp. After watching, a lot will immediately become clear =)
Summarizing, I will say that the game is really interesting and very deep. Despite the fact that it is a simulator, it does not suffocate with its mechanics, emphasizing only what is really important for the gameplay, and allowing certain liberties in secondary aspects (for example, you can experiment a lot with cars and their improvements, since everything is sold at a price purchase). SnowRunner is a smart game that lets you enjoy the process of driving a vehicle and challenge yourself without turning it into a chore! Beautiful graphics and soulful game locations, meditative, but at the same time challenging gameplay, the feeling of delight in overcoming a difficult obstacle – this is the hallmark of the project! Try it, it will not leave you indifferent!
I’ve been playing games for over 25 years, and I remember them as just that: soulful and addictive, with engaging mechanics and interactivity, no in-game currency, and no attempt to be anything but a game. In my Telegram channel, you will find not only reviews of games, but also current news, as well as thoughts about game developers. Join the oldfag community!